Weekly News Digest: November 30th through December 7th

Children Living in Foster Care on the Rise 

  • According to an AP article on KRQE News 13, the number of children currently living in foster care in the United States has increased since last year’s statistics. According to the article, this is the fourth year in a row that the numbers of children living in foster care continues to rise with 437,500 children in foster care as of September 30th. The article states that parental substance abuse is a significant factor in children being removed from their parents and placed in foster care.
  • In related news, increases in the number of children in foster care continue to be the subject of a variety of news articles. North Country Public Radio also cites increases in substance abuse as a key factor in the rise of children living in foster care, citing government data that indicates that parental drug abuse was a factor in 34% of child welfare cases in 2016.

DAI Reflection: Solutions for families must include a holistic approach that gets at the root of problems that leave families separated and children vulnerable. With ever increasing numbers of substance abuse combined with an often-fractured foster care system, it is imperative that systems that serve families join together to support families and help them be strong. 

Solutions for Kids Living in Care

  • With numbers of children needing foster care on the rise, kinship continues to be a viable and necessary option when safe for children. According to The Chronicle of Social Change, the most recent AFCARS reporting indicates that in 2015 127,821 children were placed with relatives for care. The article explains that the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act has in part helped to spur more reliance on relative care as it requires states to make diligent efforts to contact relatives once children are placed in foster care.
  • As National Adoption Awareness month drew to a close, a compelling opinion piece in The Chronicle of Social Change details the hopelessness felt by many children as they age in foster care and lose faith they will ever be adopted. The article encourages prospective adopters to consider being parents to teens and young adults because all children need permanency and stability, no matter their age. 

DAI Reflection: Innovative solutions are needed to ensure children are able to grow up in permanent and stable homes when they are unable to safely remain with their biological parents. These solutions must be focused on children of all ages, including teens and young adults. Exploring kin possibilities is a critical aspect of providing services to kids and families involved with the child welfare system.

Equality for Youth and Parents

  • Commentary in The Advocate reports on the increasing rates of youth homelessness and the need to raise awareness and response to this epidemic. Citing new research from Chapin Hall, the article incudes chilling statistics including the fact that of 25,000 surveyed, 1 in 10 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 and 1 in 30 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 have experienced homelessness during one calendar year. According to this same study, LGBT youth were at much greater risk of experiencing homelessness, 120% greater.
  • In New York, The Family Equality Council has launched a new campaign entitled Every Child Deserves a Family. The campaign brings together a large coalition of relevant organizations as well as current and former foster youth united in the belief that no prospective applicant should be denied as a foster or adoptive parent due to martial status, religious belief, sexual orientation or gender identity.

DAI Reflections: LGBTQ youth continue to be at risk, often in the area of family stability. It is essential that youth are supported appropriately and have the opportunity to be cared for by affirming and loving adults. To that end, for youth in need of care, it is essential that states do not bar any potentially qualified parents on the basis of discrimination. Prospective parents should be evaluated on their qualifications, not their marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or religion.