Striving for Permanency, Connectedness – An Update on Kids in Foster Care
|June 15, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Policy, Youth Development||
The May 2011 brief KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot on Foster Care Placement from the Annie E. Casey Foundation summarizes the progress of state child welfare systems have made toward reducing the rate of children placed in group homes or residential institutions rather than than foster family homes.
In general, child welfare policies and professionals encourage the placement of children in the least restrictive setting possible with emphasis on their safety and well-being. According to the research brief, placing a child with a relative or a non-relative foster family may ease the trauma of being separated from a parent or parents. Also, within a home setting, the child can experience a safe, stable family environment and remain connected with their siblings, friends and school.
Using data from the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System (AFCARS) the KIDS COUNT Data Snapshot concludes that while the number of youth in foster care has declined nationally since 2000, the breakdown of the placement of children in the system has remained nearly stagnant. In 2009,
- 16 percent of foster youth were in a group home or institution,
- 24 percent were in a relative’s foster family home, and
- 48 percent were in a non relative’s foster family home.
In Pennsylvania, out of the 16,878 children in foster care in 2009,
- 23 percent had been placed with a relative/kin foster family,
- 24 percent were in a group home or institution, and
- 47 percent were in a non-relative foster family placement.