Every Kid Needs a Family: Giving Children in the Child Welfare System the Best Chance of Success.
Kids Count Policy Report.
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Published: May 2015
This report explains children do best in families and makes recommendations for policies and practices that will equip decision makers in ensuring that more children grow up in families. It begins by describing the developmental benefits of families for children, providing statistics on the number of young people in group placements, and sharing data that indicates that nearly 57,000 young people in the care of the child welfare system are living in group placements. A chart provides State data from 2013 on the use of group placements and shows that in Oregon, Kansas, Maine, and Washington, only 4 to 5% of young people in out-of-home care are in group placements, compared with more than 25% in West Virginia, Wyoming, Rhode Island, and Colorado. The use of Team Decision Making for engaging birth parents and increasing family reunification is highlighted, as well as the role of foster parents in providing a sense of family and belonging. Following sections discuss the role of private providers in helping children go safely home to their families, finding and supporting available kin, and equipping foster families with the expertise required to meet the needs of traumatized young people. A continuum of care for child well-being is provided, as well as recommendations for expanding the number of families in which children can safely live. Recommendations include: expand the service array to ensure that children remain in families, recruit, strengthen, and retain more relative and foster families, and support decision making that ensures the least restrictive placements. 3 figures and 60 references.
foster children; foster families; child placement; group homes; parent child relationships; family environment; policy formation; guidelines