Being in foster care is challenging enough. Imagine, in addition to having been removed from your home because of abuse and neglect, not feeling secure in what is supposed to be a safe haven. This feeling of vulnerability is a harsh reality for thousands of trans youth in care across the country. In California, efforts are being made to provide the necessary protection for transgender foster youth.
There are many misconceptions about gender identity. A common belief is that people who are transgender choose how they feel. This lack of understanding can correlate with how society, including foster families, treat children who identify as transgender in America. It can even be argued that the debate between adults regarding gender identity has removed the focus from providing quality care for foster children who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning or intersex (LGBTQI).
Nationally, the Foster Care Bill of Rights gives all children in care access to services regardless of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there has been no specific law requiring child welfare agencies to provide supportive homes for children in care who identify as transgender. That is, until now. Continue reading
Adolescence is tough. Young people are naturally trying to discover who they are and how they fit in. In this pivotal stage of life, acceptance is essential. Foster kids feel like they have been rejected by their families, and adding bullying to the equation can make an already difficult situation more challenging. It’s a rough world out there, and it’s important to ensure your foster child is prepared to handle the ever-growing trend of bullying when it arises. That’s why Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) is developing a new bullying prevention course for foster parents in New Jersey.
Bullying is a form of discrimination that impacts thousands of young people in the United States. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 20% of students from grades 9-12 have experienced some form of bullying. For foster kids who have already endured abuse and neglect, this is an added stress. Continue reading
The New York City child welfare system, which has been tasked with placing abused and neglected children in safe homes, is accused in a lawsuit of failing the very people it’s supposed to protect.
New York City’s Public Advocate, Leticia James and private lawyers are filing a class-action complaint against the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), an agency that represents most of the children in foster care in the city, alleging the organization is operating below standards.
The lawsuit names 10 children who have been in foster care for most or all of their lives as plaintiffs. Many report neglect, physical and sexual abuse while in care and are claiming these abuses have contributed to illnesses like depression and Bipolar Disorder.
New York has reduced the number of children in care from 45,000 in the 1990s to 11,000 today, but according to the lawsuit, New York City’s foster care system has one of the worst records of mistreatment of children in care. Continue reading
Thousands of elderly in the United States who have retired from full-time jobs become parents all over again. Without assistance from local child welfare agencies, more and more kinship caregivers, especially senior citizens, don’t have enough money to make ends meet.
Many grandparents are living on fixed incomes like retirement or disability. Since that only scratches the surface of their basic needs, it’s not nearly enough to cover the cost of kinship care.
The Cost of Kinship Care: Nationwide Trend
Kinship care is one of the most common forms of foster care, and grandparents are usually the providers. However, in Idaho, there are about 11,000 grandparents who are raising grandchildren on their own without state help. Unfortunately, about 14 percent of them are also living in poor conditions. To take care of the needs of the kids, a lot of grandparents are overlooking their own necessities. And it’s not just in Idaho – this trend is nationwide. Continue reading
Before kinship placement became popular in child welfare agencies throughout the country, families had already been taking care of their own. Preceding foster care, children only had family to turn to when challenging times came. But, with all of the good things kinship providers like you are doing, how come you aren’t talking about it?
Kinship Placement: The Benefit of Placement with Relatives
According to an article by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, most states (approximately 45) in the U.S. give preference of placement of foster children to relatives, namely grandparents. Continue reading
How do I become a foster parent? Am I eligible to adopt? Who do I speak to about board payments? These are just a few questions that are asked throughout the country when it comes to opening your heart and home to foster children. Depending on the state where you reside, answers vary. There are, however, some similarities nationwide. If you live in New Jersey and want information on how to become a foster or adoptive parent or need access to resources for your foster family, Foster and Adoptive Family Services’ (FAFS) Information Line is the place to call.
FAFS’ Information Line: Licensing Process
According to AdoptUsKids, if you are preparing to foster you must provide letters of reference, complete background checks, meet the age minimum requirement in your state and verify that your income covers your expenses.
Each state requires you to complete pre-service training and fill out a home study application to proceed with the process of opening your home. For in-depth information on the process of becoming a foster or adoptive parent, visit the AdoptUsKids website. Continue reading