Is Foster Care Really Broken?

Safe Passage LogoToo often we hear critics say that foster care is inherently bad because children are almost always better off with their families, and foster homes are no improvement over the ones they are removed from.
But several skilled foster parents testified at a legislative hearing this week, along with two adults who benefitted from their years in foster care. These individuals showed that foster care can be a positive and crucial resource for children.
It is more accurate to say that the quality of foster care is inconsistent, largely because it is underfunded and it lacks a quality assurance program.
These critics would be more credible if they did the disciplined analysis required to effect systemic change, then advocated for specific improvements rather than offering sweeping generalizations and all-or-nothing solutions.

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3 Responses to Is Foster Care Really Broken?

  1. Pingback: Quality Foster Care (from Safe Passage for Children) | INVISIBLE CHILDREN

  2. Rebecca says:

    Much of the system that is supposed to support foster parents and foster children is broken. There are real and serious barriers to accessing mental health care for these kids, for example. Foster parents are left frustrated trying to navigate a system that doesn’t have enough supply for the demand. This ultimately takes time and creates stress which can compromise their parenting. Further, the kids don’t get the services they need, their trauma persists, and their problems may be exacerbated – ultimately making foster parents’ jobs harder. Let’s remember that the “foster care system” is not simply one system – the children and families interact with lots of systems – social services, criminal justice, health care – with challenges faced at each turn.

    • Rich Gehrman says:

      Excellent points Rebecca.

      Quite a bit of new/replaced funding has gone into Minnesota’s mental health system in the past several years, so the question is whether county child welfare workers are accessing them . Also foster parents are the first line in terms of dealing with children who have trauma. So we should take advantge of their 24/7 contact with children by training them in a trauma informed care. We see that the advocate’s for children with few alcohol effect got a bill passed this year that would require parents to get training in this area. Perhaps we should advocate for a similar bill for trauma in 2017.

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