Academic journal article The Future of Children

Children, Families, and Foster Care: Analysis

Academic journal article The Future of Children

Children, Families, and Foster Care: Analysis

Article excerpt

Ever, year, over 250,000 children are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and placed in foster care. Often these children already have experienced multiple threats to their healthy development. These vulnerable children then enter a fragmented foster care system that lacks the necessary resources, technical proficiency, and interagency coordination to provide families with needed services and supports.

At any given time, over half a million children are in foster care. Many of these children are in state care for extended periods of time, bouncing from place to place. The instability of the foster care experience undermines efforts to promote the well-being of children while they are in care and to help children establish lasting bonds with caring adults. As a result, compared with other children, foster youth are much more likely to experience negative outcomes such as homelessness, involvement with the criminal justice system, and teen pregnancy. New initiatives such as the Child and Family Services Reviews and the Adoption and Safe Families Act hold promise for improving the lives of children in foster care, but much more must be done to ensure their healthy development.

* Better Monitoring of Child Well-Being. Children entering foster care are more likely to have physical and mental health problems and educational difficulties compared with other children. Yet, few states have the capacity to effectively assess the health and educational needs of children in foster care and monitor whether these needs are being meet. As a result, the health and educational needs of foster children are often ignored. One report found 34% of children in foster care had not received any immunizations, and only 10% had received services to address developmental delays. …

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