Showing posts from January, 2019

Can We Change Our Foster Care System?

Radically changing or entirely rethinking the child welfare system.It seems to be the hot topic that many people are talking about right now, as evidenced through this blog, a podcast series, and even entire non-profits (e.g. AliaInnovations and Foster America) devoted entirely to this topic.Why we need to change our system is obvious at this point and we seem to have reached a broad consensus that our current child welfare system does not work as well as it should for children and families.The stubborn statistics do not seem to budge despite lots of work to change them.We are still graduating far too many kids from the system into poor outcomes with estimates of 25% of former foster youth experiencing homelessness within a year of exiting care and 25% of youth becoming involved in the criminal justice system within two years of exiting care.Disproportionality is a significant issue within our system with, for just one example, African-American children comprising14% of the nation’s c…

An Invitation To Remake Child Welfare

Grasping the Opportunity to Remake Child Welfare

In December, the federal government quietly introduced a momentous new funding source for child welfare systems. The Department of Health and Human Services will now reimburse states for legal support given to parents involved in child welfare proceedings, and to their children.

This requirement will necessitate that states be creative. For example, in most parts of the country, counties pay for the costs of legal representation. So to access federal matching funds, counties might need to enter a cost sharing agreement in which it agrees to send funds to the state agency so that the agency can pay for the expenses of advocates for parents and children.

But this, in turn, will require state agencies to draft conflict of interest agreements to prevent the possibility that advocates will engage in relaxed advocacy because they are being compensated by an adverse party, the state child welfare agency. In other words, we don’t want to create a system in which attorneys are worried that th…