A recently released federal study found that more than half of America’s homeless youth became homeless for the first time after a parent or caregiver forced them to leave. But for foster kids, the results of the study are even more startling. Almost half the homeless youth across the country have previously been in foster care.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, polled 873 youth, ages 14-21, in 11 cities, including New York City and Chicago. The goal of the study was to obtain information on service utilizations and needs from the homeless youth.
Throughout the United States foster, adoptive and kinship parents take in children who aren’t there own in order to shelter and protect them from abuse and neglect. These parents are there for the nearly 400,000 children in the foster care system. But what happens when they’re not? Some states are experiencing foster parent shortages right now.
After several years of decline, the number of children in foster care nationwide has started to rise again.
Beginning in 2013, the number of children in foster care rose to 402,378, or nearly 1 percent, from 397,000 the year prior. That figure increased by 3.5 percent in 2014 to more than 415,000, according to the New York Times.
When we are born, it is in our DNA to trust others. Inherently, the first person we trust is usually our birth mothers. We depend on them to provide us with everything we need to live. It is only when the basic needs we rely on are not fulfilled that trust issues develop. For children who are adopted from foster care, the line of trust has been broken.
In the United States, approximately 120,000 children are adopted annually. Of that number, more than one-third are adopted from foster care. For parents adopting children who were previously in foster care, challenges that were initially unknown will most likely begin to surface over the years. Continue reading
For a foster child who cannot safely be reunited with his birth parents, and who will not be adopted by his foster parents, it is often a very long wait for permanency. Even if there is a relative, family friend or foster to adopt family willing and able to take him in, if they live in another state, bureaucracy can slow the process to a near halt, leaving the child unnecessarily waiting for his forever family.
In an attempt to lessen that wait, United States Senators. Kirsten Gillibrand, Al Franken and Gary Peters recently introduced the Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act. This legislation would make it easier for child welfare agencies to place children in out-of-state homes by requiring all States to have a centralized database of children in foster care. Continue reading
Family being there to support one another during hard times is nothing new. The idea of grandparents taking care of their grandchildren or aunts and uncles providing for nieces and nephews is perhaps as old as time itself. What started as a traditional practice among relatives has now evolved into a leading form of foster care.
Conventionally, kinship care has been provided without the inclusion of child welfare agencies. Instead of involving the state in family affairs, adults have taken on the responsibility of taking care of the abused and neglected children within their families. Continue reading
Pairing the new with the experienced in foster parent mentoring programs has many benefits.
In the foster care community, mentors are commonly thought of as adult role models and companions for foster children and teens. However, other types of mentors are also in demand. Seasoned foster parents are increasingly being called upon to become mentors for their less experienced counterparts.
Foster parent mentoring programs are available throughout the United States. The purpose of these programs is twofold: to support and encourage new foster parents and to keep experienced foster parents engaged and active. Continue reading