Friday, July 23, 2010

Attn. CR: If you REALLY want to curb abuse in Georgia foster care, stop trying to shovel so many children into it

The group that so arrogantly calls itself Children's Rights is now declaring itself officially outraged at an increase in abuse in foster care in metropolitan Atlanta, where CR has a consent decree.

They're even threatening to take the state back into court (in contrast to Michigan where CR meekly accepts that state's cuts in prevention and family preservation in order to fund more foster care workers and rate increases for institutions).

And even in Georgia itself, CR still doesn't get that you can't have it both ways: You can't whine about abuse in foster care in Georgia while trying to undermine every effort to keep more children out of foster care in Georgia. As noted in this previous post, CR is trying to undermine Georgia's differential response program, which has a proven record of reducing entries into foster care and improving child safety.

To CR, trying to shovel more children into the same system you condemn as rife with abuse makes perfect sense. No doubt they would argue that even as you overload the system with more children who don't need to be there, you supposedly prevent the abuse with more licensing paperwork, background checks, etc. etc. This is why I've said the people at CR are like the clerk you least want to see when you finally make it to the front of the line at the DMV. CR thinks every problem can be fixed with another form to fill out, another box to check off or some other bureaucratic answer.

More than 150 years of experience in child welfare tells us that, when it comes to foster care, this doesn't work. And the more you overload a foster care system with children who don't need to be there, as CR now seems hell-bent on doing in Georgia, the greater the risk of abuse in foster care.

The only way to fix foster care is to have less of it.

Meanwhile, CR's lousy consent decree in Michigan may have contributed to another tragedy in that state. That story Monday.