Report: Foster Children Need Better Medical Care in the U.S.

A large group of children in need of medical attention in the United States aren’t getting it, according to a newly released study. The report, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), indicated that foster children who experience emotional and physical trauma are not being treated for it.

medical care and foster children
According to the report, anywhere between 30 to 80 percent of children come into foster care with at least one physical health issue, while up to 80 percent enter with a significant mental health need. The report also said that 46 percent to 60 percent of children younger than six years of age have a developmental disability that qualifies them for services.

These physical health issues range from the common, such as asthma, to the severe, such as cerebral palsy. Continue reading

Student Debt and Foster Youth

Student loan debt is a rising reality all across the country. Debt now totals more than $1 trillion for American students and, according to a newly released report, it’s being caused by low-income students at two-year community colleges and for-profit schools. For foster youth looking to pursue post-secondary education, the reality of student loans cannot be ignored.

Student Debt and Foster Youth
To anyone attending a post-secondary institution, the cost of college is no surprise. The ever-escalating price tag is difficult to manage for any prospective student, and it’s especially hard if you don’t have an adult to help you through an undeniably complicated process.

This is the situation many foster youth find themselves dealing with as they apply for financial aid. And given the recently released report from The Brookings Institute, it’s critically important foster youth understand what they’re signing up for.

According to the report: “By 2011…borrowers at for-profit and 2-year institutions represented almost half of student-loan borrowers leaving school and starting to repay loans, and accounted for 70 percent of student loan defaults.” Continue reading

Fostering a Family with Facebook

Facebook is everywhere and has been since it opened to everyone in 2006. You have an account, your mom probably has an account, and the local coffee shop you frequent has an account. It’s a place where people share opinions, pictures and stories with their friends and family. But for prospective and current foster, adoptive and kinship parents, Facebook is much more.

Fostering a Family with Facebook
Foster, adoptive and kinship parents across the country face a unique set of challenges that most of the general public wouldn’t understand. Whether it’s the complicated licensing process, the myriad of policy issues or the foster care placement procedure, foster parents are confronted with an intricate government system that often varies state by state.

While helpful resources are available, many prospective and current foster parents are turning to each other on Facebook for guidance, understanding and acceptance through their fostering journey. Nationally, foster parents turn to the Facebook pages of organizations like The National Foster Parent Association for information on foster care specific topics such as aging out and multigenerational care. This page, like many other organizational Facebook pages, is a place where previously published information is gathered from across the internet and published in one convenient place. Continue reading

Making the Grade: Foster Youth and College

Without dramatic changes and a structured approach, the college graduation rate for students who have lived in foster care will remain one of the lowest in the country at 3 percent, according to a recently released study from the University of the Pacific.

foster youth and college

The study examined seven foster youth’s experiences over a nearly three semester journey through a California community college. It concluded that there was an extreme lack of guidance for foster youth, a problem given that many youths in care are dependent on structured institutional programs.

“Simply having a dedicated person whom foster youth can go to and ask questions — something many of these young people have never had — could really make a difference to their college success,” said study co-author Melinda Westland.

Foster Youth and College: NJFC and Project MYSELF

While the issue of guidance may be a problem nationally for youth who have lived in foster care, New Jersey does provide places for these youths to go and get answers. The New Jersey Foster Care (NJFC) Scholars Program provides financial and educational assistance for eligible youth while also supplying a supportive coaching relationship through Project MYSELF. Continue reading

The Rising Cost of College for Foster Kids

The ever-escalating cost of college tuition has hit every college eligible student in the country. What was once an affordable opportunity and education has now become an almost extravagant luxury. However, no one has been hit harder than those who already have had to overcome innumerable obstacles: foster youth.

Cost of College for Foster Kids
College tuition has steadily increased across the country every year at a rate way outpacing inflation since 1978. The rising expenses of education have put families in a financial chokehold, causing many students to mortgage their futures by taking on large amounts of debt in the form of student loans.

This trend has especially hurt youth from foster, adoptive and kinship backgrounds. While it’s commonly believed that, because of their past, these youths will be eligible for a nearly full-ride to college, that expectation is wrong, according to Foster and Adoptive Family Services’ Director of Scholarship Programs Millicent Barry.

“No one should expect a free ride,” Barry said. Continue reading

North Carolina Law Looks To Increase Foster Parent Rights

Laws dictating the rights of foster parents vary state to state, with most being more restrictive than not in order to help protect children from harm. However, North Carolina is currently discussing a bill that would greatly enhance foster parent rights, granting them abilities to make more decisions for the children in their care.

Foster Parent Rights
North Carolina is considering a bill that would drastically alter state laws by granting rights to foster parents that currently don’t exist in many states, including New Jersey.

The proposed law, dubbed the Foster Care Family Act, would create a “reasonable and prudent standard” that would allow foster parents the right to give permission to children in care to take part in extracurricular and social activities without notifying North Carolina’s Department of Social Services. Continue reading