Imagine the following scenario: John, a single father of two, has been arrested. He is charged with theft and his bail is set at $2,000. Because John cannot meet this requirement, he is held in jail until his trial. His sons cannot remain on their own, and John has no immediate family who can care for them, so they are placed in foster care, in separate homes. After six weeks, John goes to trial and is found not guilty and released from jail.
John and his family’s lives have been drastically impacted by this experience. Because John was unable to Read more
Danielle was 14 when she met the man who would soon become her worst nightmare.
“I was adopted by a good Christian family,” she tells me during a recent interview. “I had a great relationship with my father. But when I hit puberty, I was molested and my mom didn’t help. So I ran away.”
Not long after, while waiting for the bus, a man approached her. “He offered me a place to stay, food, all the things I needed. He pumped me full of drugs, then threw me in a room with a bunch of guys and I was for sale.” The man she thought was her knight in shining armor was a human sex trafficker in disguise. Read more
A bipartisan trio of senators are pushing a bill to provide funding and resources for onboarding every state to electronic data—sharing systems for interstate foster placements and adoptions.
The Modernizing Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act would speed up interstate placements, giving children stable homes faster, according to sponsors Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Todd Young (R-IN), and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY).
Many state foster care agencies rely on outdated paper systems to process and approve foster care and adoption placements, both in-state and across state lines. While states spend thousands of dollars on copying and mailing, a child’s placement in a loving, stable home is delayed Read more
The American criminal justice system has created a culture of mass incarceration.
As of 2015, the U.S. incarceration rate (698 per 100,000 people) was the second highest in the world, topped only by that of Seychelles (799 per 100,000), an East African island nation (click here).
For black and Latino males, the likelihood of incarceration is significantly higher. Due to their circumstances before imprisonment and its aftereffects, these individuals are also less likely to own property or a car or have access to the means of economic stability. This tends to trap them in poverty, which Read more
The children in America’s foster care system face a tremendous amount of psychological stress.
Many have been removed from traumatic home situations because of neglect or physical or sexual abuse. Their life in foster care often includes uncertainty, frequent moves, and other difficulties that cause psychological stress. Data collected by the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) estimates that “approximately half of youths aged 2 to 14 years with completed child welfare investigations had clinically significant emotional or behavioral problems” (GAO-12-270T).
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) states Read more
Six years ago, Brady Howe and his husband became parents. They adopted their son privately through the Open Adoptions & Family Services agency. Soon, they added the boy’s two older sisters to the family through the foster care system. Their family is an extended one, with birth mother, foster mothers, and grandmothers all actively involved in the kids’ lives.
A non-profit agency Open Adoptions also contracts Read more
If you are a foster child getting medications for emotional and mental health issues in the United States you may be getting more than you need. A 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that foster children in five surveyed states “were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates 2.7 to 4.5 higher than were nonfoster children in Medicare in 2008” (GAO-12-270T). This was true for all three age ranges examined, from birth to age 17. In a follow-up 2012 GAO nationwide survey, 18 percent of foster children were taking at least one psychotropic medication (GAO-14-651T). Many were taking multiple medications concurrently.
One major reason for this problem is polypharmacy, or the use of multiple medications by a single patient, often to treat the same condition. Approximately 13 percent of foster children Read more
On January 27, 2017, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Philadelphia gathered attorneys, child welfare professionals, and volunteers at Berger & Montague P.C. for a talk about the educational challenges vulnerable children in foster care face—and why there is cause for hope.
CASA Philadelphia trains and supports community volunteers to become sworn officers of the court to advocate for the safety, stability, health, and well-being of abused and neglected children in the foster care system. School stability is one such right that may get lost in the shuffle of more pressing concerns. Children who are removed from a parent or moved around in the foster care system may be transferred from a familiar school to one in which they have no connection and where their needs fail to be met. Read more
A House resolution aimed at speeding up and streamlining the adoption process through a federally reformed Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is stuck in committee, awaiting leadership’s approval to move to the floor for debate and vote.
States already participate in an ICPC agreement that guides interstate adoptions, but years of tinkering has led to a watering down of the compact. As the American Public Human Service Association notes, the state-to-state adoption and child placement process is rife with delays, in part because of the many differences in jurisdictional standards.
The APHSA, in a policy brief about the ICPC process, wrote: “The 21st century has shown the ICPC to be one of the most antagonizing, antiquated, and burdensome administrative processes required as part of the child-placement continuum. With the complications Read more