Monday, November 9, 2015

Numbers of Children in Foster Care Increase


Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) recently released their data from FY2014.  There data shows that there was an increase of children coming into the system and a decrease of children leaving, making the population in the system grow.  From last year, the overall increase was 3425 more children waiting for permanency.

We can't say why the number is increasing--it's too early to have any definite answers. Rafael Lopez, Commissioner of the Department's Administration on Children, Youth and Families said, "We are concerned about any increases in the foster care number, and we are working hard with our state partners to better understand the reasons behind the increase".

Some possible explanations are:

Shift in focus from family preservation to child safety: There used to be a focus on reunification and now the system is focusing on the safety of the child.  Social workers are asking more questions and noticing more and more red flags which would mean that a safe environment could not be created for the child.

Drug Addiction: Although alcohol and drug addiction numbers have stabilized over the years, substance abuse is still one of the main reasons that children enter and remain in the foster care system.

High Turnover in Foster Care Workers: Although there is no substantial evidence to prove this is a reason for the increased number in foster care children, youth worker turnover could be adding to it.  With new inexperienced workers joining family services' staff, there will be transition issues which may mean longer time periods in foster care. 

Lack of Services to Help Birth Families: "In some states funding for services to prevent removal of children from their biological families has declined in recent years. For example, in Florida in-home services to prevent removal have declined since a peak in 2012.
Christina Spudeas, executive director of the advocacy group Florida’s Children First, says: The key to successfully leaving children in the home after an allegation of abuse or neglect is to have the right services provided to the family at the right time, with sufficient oversight.”

To read the entire article from the Creating a Family website click this link


Drafted by Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.
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