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Sample essay topic, essay writing: A Childs Journey Through The Foster Care System - 1917 words
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.. r will visit the child at least once a month. The emotional adjustments will differ for children placed with relatives, or placed in their own neighborhood. The child will have to make these adjustments each time he is moved.DECISION POINT - The child is placed in the home of a relative. . "Federal law recognizes a preference for placement with relatives. However, the regulations clarify that health and safety are the paramount considerations when any placement decision is made regarding a child in foster care, including care with a relative."10 .
Generally, relatives do not receive foster care payments unless they are licensed foster care providers.DECISION POINT - The child is placed in a non-relative foster family home. "Although the total number of licensed family foster homes in the United States is not known, in 1998, 38 states reported a total of 133,503 homes. Unfortunately, turnover among foster parents is high; 30 to 50 percent leave the system every year.11 Foster parents receive stipends to cover room and board, childcare, and clothing. They may also receive Medicaid coverage for the children in their care. DECISION POINT - The child is placed in a residential facility or in a group home
The child may be placed in therapeutic foster care, residential childcare, or residential psychiatric care if he has emotional, behavioral, physical or medical needs and requires a higher level of supervision and treatment. A child may be placed in-group home care because of a shortage of foster family homes. Group home care is more frequently used for older children. . "A group home is a licensed or approved home providing 24-hour care for children in a small group setting that generally has from 7 to 12 children."12 .
"An institution is a child care facility operated by a public or private child welfare agency and providing 24-hour care and/or treatment for children who require separation from their own homes and group living experiences, i.e. child care institutions, residential treatment facilities, and maternity homes."12 . "Federal child welfare funds cannot be used to support children in public facilities that serve more than 25 children or used to maintain children in facilities that are operated primarily for the detention of delinquent youth."13DECISION POINT - The court reviews progress every six months and holds a permanency hearing after 12 months. Periodic reviews are held in the court or reported to the court. . "Federal law requires states to review a child's case at least every six months after placement in foster care to determine whether the placement is still necessary and appropriate, whether the case plan is being properly and adequately followed, and whether progress has been made toward reunifying the family. The case review must also set a target date for the child's return home, adoption, or other permanent placement."7Permanency planning hearings are always held in court.
. "Federal law requires states to hold a permanency planning hearing for each child in foster care within 12 months of initial placement, or after a determination that reasonable efforts to reunite are not required."7 Some states require this hearing sooner. Foster parents, pre-adoptive parents, and relative caregivers must be given notice and an opportunity to be heard at case reviews and permanency hearings.Some advocates believe that a child should not remain in foster care longer than 12 months. Other advocates believe that this is too short a period to address the complex and multiple needs of the family, particularly families with substance abuse or mental health needs. A judge may choose from among several permanency options for the child.
In 2001, 263,000 children exited foster care in the following ways: Outcomes for Children Exiting Foster Care Percentage (number)Reunification with Parent/Primary Caretaker 57% (148,606)Living with Other Relative(s) 10% (26,084)Adoption 18% (46,668)Guardianship 3% (8,969)Emancipation 7% (19,008)Transfer to Another Agency 3% (7,918)Runaway 2% (5,219)Death of Child Less than 1% (528) 8DECISION POINT - The child is reunified with his birth family. If the parents are successful with the court-ordered treatment plan, the child is reunited with his parents, and the case is closed. . "In 2001, more than 57 percent (148,606) of children in out-of-home care were reunited with their families."8 . "However, other studies have noted that approximately 33 percent of children who were reunified with their families re-entered foster care within three years.
And, approximately 17 percent of children who entered foster care had been in foster care before."14DECISION POINT - The birth family does not complete the court-ordered reunification plan. The child welfare agency petitions the court for the termination of parental rights (TPR). "If a parent fails to comply with the reunification plan, the child welfare agency will petition the court to terminate the parents' rights to the child. At any point during the court process, a parent may seek to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights. When the parents' rights are terminated, a permanent plan for the child will be created.6 . "Federal law requires states to initiate TPR proceedings for (1) children who have been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, (2) infants determined to be abandoned, or (3) cases in which a parent has killed another of his/her children, or (4) certain other egregious situations.
States may opt not to initiate TPR if (1) the child is in a relative's care, (2) the child welfare agency has documented a compelling reason that TPR would not be in the child's best interest, or (3) the state has not provided necessary services to the family."7 . "In 2001, more than 65,000 children's living parents had their parental rights terminated."8 . "Federal law requires that the permanency plan document the steps taken to place the child and finalize the adoption or legal guardianship and document child specific recruitment efforts taken to find an adoptive family or legal guardian for a child."7 . "Federal regulations direct states to concurrently begin to seek and approve a qualified adoptive family for the child whenever a state initiates TPR proceedings."7DECISION POINT - The child is placed with an adoptive family and the court holds an adoption hearing to finalize the adoption. Some children will leave foster care through adoption. . "In 2001, 51,000 children were adopted.
Nearly 59 percent were adopted by their foster family and nearly 24 percent were adopted by a relative."8 . Because children adopted from foster care may have been abused, neglected, or may have lived in multiple homes, the transition to an adoptive home can be difficult. Some states are beginning to explore ways to offer post-adoption services, such as respite care, to ensure the adoptions stay intact. . "In 2001, more than 126,000 children in foster care were considered waiting to be adopted because they have the goal of adoption or because of TPR."8 "These children had been in foster care for an average of more than 3 1/2 years, and their average age was eight."8DECISION POINT - The child is placed with a legal guardian, often a relative. Some children will leave foster care through placement in the custody of a guardian. "The guardianship can be granted to relatives, foster parents, or another adult who has a relationship with the child."6 "Guardianship is not as legally secure as adoption.
However, it does provide a measure of permanency and stability without requiring the termination of parental rights."15 . "Federal law defines legal guardianship as a judicially-created relationship between child and caregiver intended to be permanent and self-sustaining. The following parental rights with respect to the child are transferred to the caretaker: protection, education, care and control, custody, and decision-making."7 . Subsidized legal guardianships are a means by which some states provide relative (and in some states non-relative) foster parents with financial assistance after they have obtained legal guardianship of the child and the child has exited the formal child welfare system. Subsidized guardianships can provide an alternative form of support for children whose relatives have chosen not to adopt.
The federal government does not provide States reimbursement for costs associated with subsidized legal guardianship payments.DECISION POINT - The child reaches age 18 with no permanent home. Some children will reach 18 and leave foster care without being reunited with their families, adopted, or placed in another permanent home. In these cases, the child welfare agency may provide basic living skills training, housing assistance, and educational opportunities through federally funded independent living programs. . "In 2001, approximately 19,000 youth left foster care when they reached the age of 18 (or 21, in some cases)."8 .
"Studies have found significantly lower levels of education, higher rates of unemployment, and higher rates of homelessness for adults who spent time in foster care as children."16 "For example, a study by Westat, Inc. reported that only 54 percent of young adults who grew up in foster care had completed high school, 40 percent continued to rely on public support in some way (were receiving public assistance, incarcerated, or receiving Medicaid) and 25 percent had been homeless for some period."17 Other studies indicate that a significant percentage of the homeless population in many cities were adults who once had been foster children.As this paper indicates, the rate at which a child progresses through the foster care system, and the nature of his experience there, depends on many factors. These include federal and state financing, timelines, and legal provisions: good and timely decisions; the availability of services for birth and adoptive families; and the availability of licensed foster homes willing to care for children. Many of these factors are interrelated. But each can contribute to the length and quality of a child's time in foster care. BIBLIOGRAPHY1U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau, The AFCARS Report #8 (March 2003). Available online at www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/afcars/r eport8.htm. 2Karen Spar, Specialist in Social Legislation, Domestic Social Policy Division, Congressional Research Library, Library of Congress, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Human Resources, July 20, 1999. The figures in this paragraph represent Fiscal Year 1994 data. 3State laws identify certain professionals who are mandated to report suspected abuse. They generally include medical professionals, teachers, day care workers, photo lab developers, and law enforcement.
442 U.S.C. 5106g. 5U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Child Maltreatment 2001, p.21 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2003).
6The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, The Child Welfare Journey. Available online at http://www.okdhs.org/cfsd/howtos/cw/journey.htm. 7U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Overview of the Civil Child Protective Court Process. Available online at www.calib.com/nccanch/pubs/usermanuals/courts/prot ect.cfm. 8The AFCARS Report #8. 9Kathy Barbell and Madelyn Freundlich, Foster Care Today (Casey Family Programs, Washington, DC, 2001), pp.
3-4. These figures were based on 1994 data from the U.S. House of Representatives, 2000. 10Children's Defense Fund, Child Welfare and Mental Health Division, The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) Regulations and Kinship Care Families - Frequently Asked Questions (Spring 2000) and Federal Register, Vol.65, No. 16, (January 25, 2000), pp. 4032-4033.
11U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, Foster Care National Statistics April 2001. 12U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Child Maltreatment 1999: Annual Report (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001).
Some states may include settings with fewer than seven children as group homes. 13U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Program Instruction, ACYF-PI-89-09 (October 1989). 14Foster Care National Statistics April 2001 (2000b). 15Steve Christian, A Place to Call Home Adoption and Guardianship for Children in Foster Care, p.28 (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2000) 16State of Tennessee, Comptroller of the Treasury, Foster Care Independent Living Programs (1998).
171994 Green Book (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994).
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