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A critical look at the foster care system in america

Judge Judy Sheindlin, supervising judge for the Manhattan Family Court, describes the foster parent typically found today in the New York City foster care system: The typical foster parent I see is a single woman who has several biological children of her own. She is supported by welfare or social security disability. She is a high school dropout whose own kids are marginally functioning. She does not have the ability to help them with their schoolwork, and she has little hope for a brighter economic or social future.

In reviewing a handguide for foster parents, the League suggested adding photographs, drawings and graphics, as: One such program is the Michigan Living in Family Environments program, which was developed to link people who are eligible for public assistance with foster children who have developmental disabilities.

One Detroit foster parent had just applied for public assistance when her sister suggested the Life Program. Seeing it as a chance to avoid dependency on the welfare program, she ended up adopting her first foster child. She admits she was drawn to the program by the money. But how a critical look at the foster care system in america the natural mother have fared had she had the benefit of a even a fraction of this income to stay at home to care for her own child? The Detroit model of foster care recruitment from the public assistance roles is one that has apparently gained some measure of popularity among program administrators.

Agree that foster parenting should be professionalized and recommend the Detroit example be used as a model. In the Detroit model single mothers on welfare are trained and hired as foster parents and receive a salary. They take 3-4 kids and are not penalized on the welfare side for this job. In Massachusetts, for example, forty-one percent of foster homes are run by single parents, many of whom care for several foster children in addition to their own.

According to a 1991 U. Committee on Ways and Means report, the majority of children in foster care come from families supported by Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and 46 percent of the foster care population are minority children. The majority of these families are headed by single mothers. Amongst the other terrors a poor family faces, the state could take your kid.

Brenda insisted she was doing a good job as a single mother of four active children: According to the Massachusetts Research, Evaluation and Planning Unit Annual Report, in 1990, of all supported abuse investigations in Boston and Brookline, 72 percent involved neglect. In other areas of the state about 65 percent involved neglect. The majority of the cases in Boston involved single-parent families. Raul Vasquez, along with his mother, had served as a foster parent since 1992 to 51 children.

The Massachusetts Department of Social Services had somehow managed to overlook the fact that nine of these children had run away from their foster home. And, in some cases, the payments made to foster parents may indeed be well deserved.

She cares for eight needy foster and adoptive children. One of her foster children has only the stem of a brain, cannot move and needs to be fed through a tube. Another has a rare chromosome disorder and, at the age of 5, cannot speak or walk. A fourth child was born drug addicted, and with a bone disorder.

This is the finest face of foster care.


These children have true special needs, and they apparently are in a loving home with a foster mother who truly gives of herself for the benefit of the children in her care.

It must be emphasized that there are many caring and dedicated foster parents in the system. But, just as there is extreme variability to be found among caseworkers, managers, judges, and the many other actors in the child welfare system, there is extreme variability in the quality of foster care homes.

At the time of the incident, the family was caring for four foster children and two adopted children. The family had four foster children with medical problems, as well as four birth children at the time of the incident. Torres had five foster children in her care at the time of the accident.

A Critical Look At The Child Welfare System

They deserve more money. Some adults become foster parents for no other incentive than the money to be derived from foster-child payments. This is a known fact and accepted by CPS and the State. One of the most controversial programs in the Social Services Agency involving child welfare services is the Fost-adopt Program. There is even controversy as to which children are selected for the program. One case reviewed by the Jury involved a parent who worked, against all odds, to complete satisfactorily her reunification plan.

Had it not been for the tenacity of a very strong, highly principled and sensitive social worker and her supervisor, a child would have been adopted by fost-adopt parents even though the birth parent had met all of the reunification goals.

This was only one of several instances in which the integrity of the department and adherence to its mission appear to be questionable. County officials were aware of all this, but kept it from the court for almost two years. The father, determined to get his daughter back, over the course of about 18 months managed successfully to complete his mandated reunification plan.

The legal battle that developed dragged on into late 1989, when a court finally declared a mistrial. In March of 1990, a second Juvenile Court referee ruled that the girl, by then 3, should live with her natural father. Around this point, allegations of sexual abuse were raised against the father.

  1. Neither facility has electricity, while Warm Springs Camp lacks so much as running water. In Massachusetts, for example, a 6-year-old girl was raped and infected with gonorrhea after being placed in a coed group home.
  2. Adolescents returning from temporary placements described "a pattern of incidents in which longer-term residents raped, robbed, or assaulted newcomers while night-shift staff slept on the job. Apparently, the Department of Health and Human Services is of the opinion that 76.
  3. Among the many problems reveiwers identified.

These allegations were determined to be without merit. A year later, apparently not yet content with the harm it had done, the County petitioned for yet another hearing.

A third referee this time ruled that the girl should be returned to her foster parents. The father was forced to appeal. The foster parents were apparently dissatisfied with this outcome. By this time, the girl was six years old, and in therapy to help her deal with the uncertainty with which she was living.

  • A study conducted by Casey Family Programs of eight foster youth who graduated from college earning degrees presents fifteen major themes concerning college success;
  • And the tragic consequences of the constant overcrowding, poor management and lack of meaningful oversight are everywhere to be found;
  • Safety, Risk, and Needs Assessment Assessment in child welfare involves at least three distinct processes;
  • Continuing the review, they concluded that 52 of 107 sampled cases were out of compliance;
  • Amongst the other terrors a poor family faces, the state could take your kid;
  • For those kinds of harms there is no mechanism for holding decision makers accountable; the only one who suffers is the child.

She could have been spared much of this needless trauma had the County followed its mandate and returned her to her father at the first avalable opportunity. DCFS personnel estimate that 50 percent of licensed foster families are interested in serving only a specific child or sibling group. Others have a primary interest in adoptive children. She was to return home four days later, but the car she was driving broke down in Omaha on the way home.

As she had no money with her, it took her about a week to get home. Her judgement in leaving baby Angelaura behind proved to be sound. Angelaura was in turn handed over to the state Department of Social Services in Grand Island, and placed with an unlicensed foster parent who happened to be an employee of the Department of Social Services.

Leuenberger admitted that a case worker had made errors in the placement of Angelaura, but said there was little he could do—that it was now up to the courts to decide. The case was investigated by officials of the Nebraska Department of Social Services. The state Foster Care Review Board also examined the case, finding that some violations of departmental policy had, indeed, taken place.

After two years of struggling to get her baby back, her parental rights to Angelaura were terminated in April a critical look at the foster care system in america 1995 by a Hall County Court judge.

According to an article in the Omaha World-Herald, eight cases were reported in Nebraska in which a child has been turned over to a foster parent who also was an employee of DSS.

The term may also include a child that is difficult to place, for reasons of age, handicap or ethnicity. Such facilities are paid substantially higher rates than are foster parents who provide individualized care: The cramped conditions at Hillcrest Receiving Home, which temporarily houses abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes, are deplorable. That a facility designed for 39 has had as many as 82 children, many sleeping in cribs lining the hallways, is a sad commentary.

And many foster parents were arguing that additional payments for children with true special needs were becoming more difficult to obtain, while children piled up in such facilities.

These are payments in addition to regular rates paid to foster parents with a child who has special behavioral or medical needs. It was found that these accelerated payments to foster parents, once started, may continue for years. The auditors felt that agencies found it difficult to terminate these payments to foster parents with whom the agencies work closely.

It was also determined that the Department of Social Services has inadequate controls to ensure that accelerated board rate payments are appropriate, and, in the majority of the cases reviewed, it was found that the amount requested by the county was equal to the maximum amount granted by the state. But there is another side to this story as well. In South Carolina, 73 percent of foster care children are in regular foster homes, yet these placements consume only 15 percent of the foster care budget.

DCFS receives one billion dollars a year—how do they account for it? If we paid the foster mother, we could find adequate homes.