Large Percentage of Foster Children in Limbo in PA
PA Partnerships for Children Releases New Report on Child Welfare System
New report shows 30 percent of children have no prospect of a permanent family
Federal law directs the child welfare agency to petition the court for the involuntary termination of parental rights if a child has been in foster care for 15 months out of a 22-month period unless compelling reasons exist not to terminate parental rights. When termination of parental rights has occurred, the child can be moved toward adoption.
However, after almost two years in the foster care system, 30 percent of children (1700) have little likelihood of ever having a permanent family to call their own. The reported goal for these children is to remain in foster care long-term or to be emancipated and age-out of the child welfare system without a stable and supportive family. Every child in foster care should have a goal of legal permanence that is achieved through reunification with birth families, adoption or guardianship.
"Reunification with the birth family should be the first goal for every child in foster care. If that is not possible, another permanent family should be found, ideally with kin. Our report shows that far too many children not only spend long periods of time in the foster care system but are faced with no prospects to ever have a permanent family.
While there are clear challenges to promoting permanence in
- Assuring a safe, permanent, legal family is a goal for every child, including older youth;
- Requiring concurrent planning for every child to begin at the time he or she enters the child welfare system;
- Ensuring necessary family supports and services such as counseling and substance abuse treatment are made available to families in order to improve safety, permanency and well-being of their children;
- Engaging families in all decision-making that impacts them and their children; and recruiting foster families willing to become permanent families;
- Actively employing family-finding measures to unearth all family members, including fathers, maternal and paternal extended family members who might meet the needs of the child;
- Developing and nurturing strong relationships between birth and foster families and creating stronger and more frequent regular interaction between birth families and their children;
- Implementing court initiatives that expedite the process to permanency and facilitate family engagement; and
- Ensuring the collection of child, program and outcome data for every county to drive policy, practice and assure accountability.
More information including county-by-county child welfare data is available by visiting www.papartnerships.org/porchlight2 or by contacting
This report was made possible in collaboration with Casey Family Programs, whose mission is to provide and improve--and ultimately prevent the need for--foster care. To learn more, visit www.casey.org. The findings and conclusions presented in this report are those of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (http://www.papartnerships.org) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Casey Family Programs.
CONTACT: Kathy Geller Myers 717-236-5680; 717-903-3716 (mobile) firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children