Weekly News Digest: October 19th through 26th, 2017

Racial Inequalities Continue to Harm Children

  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released its Kids Count policy report, highlighting continued inequities for children of color in Mississippi. The Clarion Ledger reports on the Foundation’s annual “Race for Results” report which looks at the intersection between youth, race, and opportunity. Significant strides need to be made in many states surrounding these issues with Mississippi ranking as the sixth worst state for opportunities for African American youth.

DAI Reflection:
Differences in race, class, and culture too often lead to a lack of opportunities for children of color. It is critical that we acknowledge that the playing field is not equal for all of us, and we must work together to ensure equality and equal opportunity for all youth to thrive. Check out DAI’s most downloaded report which focuses on race and law in adoptions from foster care

Supporting Grandfamilies

  • The Today Show focused on the needs of grandparents raising their grandchildren, an increasingly common trend that research shows, in part, has occurred as the opioid crisis continues to rise. Generations United is highlighted in the story as a non -profit that focuses on providing supports to grandfamilies and seeks to break the cycle of addiction in families.

DAI Reflection: Today’s family is comprised of many different individuals, often with people having dual roles in the lives of children. When problems arise in families, it is critical that we support placement with kin whenever safe and possible for youth. Grandparents play a critical role for kids, and ensuring supports and resources for these families must be a top priority. Check out DAI’s publications that focus on providing post-adoption supports and services to all families.

Legislation Urges Oversight of Privatized Foster Care Providers

  • Buzz Feed news reports that in the wake of a series they wrote two years ago about problems in the largest for-profit foster care provider, The Mentor Network, the US Senate Committee on finance launched an investigation into the company. According to reports, at least 86 children died over a ten-year span while in the care of homes under The Mentor Network company, yet only 13 of these cases were investigated by the corporation. The committee’s investigation has resulted in Senators Hatch and Wyden introducing legislation to require states to disclose the contractors they use in privatized foster care, and to report to the federal government how those contractors perform.
  • In related news, the Chronicle of Social Change also reported on the recently introduced legislation by Senators Hatch and Wyden that in part focuses on the issue of better monitoring of privatized foster care providers. In addition, this legislation reportedly would provide incentives for kinship placements, establish national standards on worker caseloads, and require more advanced assessment of child fatalities.

DAI Reflection: We can’t say it enough…foster care needs more care and more resources to ensure the safety and well-being of children. DAI applauds efforts by lawmakers to ensure that agencies who are charged with the awesome responsibility of providing care for youth are supported and monitored to ensure the best interest of kids. Check out DAI’s open letter which outlines many of the institute’s core beliefs about family.

Creating Opportunities for All Youth

  • The Human Rights campaign has developed a webinar that focuses on finding permanent, affirming families for LGBTQ youth in foster care. The webinar occurred on October 25th and highlighted a NY based agency, You Gotta Believe, and how they have developed a model for engaging youth as advocates in helping to find families for LGBTQ youth in foster care. This webinar is just one of many educational tools HRC’s All Children All Families program provides for child welfare professionals.
  • A new ad created by the Movement Advancement Project focuses on the harms to children when adoption and foster care agencies are allowed to turn away applicants on the basis of religious objection. The ad has reportedly been rejected by Fox news as being “too powerful”. This ad campaign was created in partnership with the Child Welfare League of America and the National Association of Social Workers and occurred alongside a companion report entitled Kids Pay the Price: How Religious Exemption of Child Welfare Agencies Harm Children.

DAI Reflection: Foster and adoption providers must not be allowed to discriminate against potentially qualified families, or against youth, based on their religious or moral beliefs. Children awaiting permanency deserve every opportunity to become a part of a family, and that family must celebrate and affirm children in their care. It is critical that we all work together to overturn laws, policies, and practices that create barriers for children. DAI was proud to partner with many leading child welfare agencies in developing a position statement on equality for LGBTQ youth and families.