Thursday, November 8, 2018

NCCPR statement on new foster care data

The federal government released new data today about children in foster care. (New means the data are "only" about one year old - covering Federal Fiscal Year 2017).  They show a small increase in the number of children trapped in foster care on the last day of that year, Sept. 30 compared to the same day a year earlier. They also show a small decrease in the number of children taken from their homes over the course of a year compared to the previous year.

NCCPR Executive Director Richard Wexler released this statement concerning the data.

The ongoing increase in the number of children in foster care on any given day is not due to the opioid epidemic. Rather, it’s due to child welfare’s typical failed knee-jerk take-the-child-and-run response to the opioid epidemic.  It is a response that lives at the intersectionof ignorance and arrogance.

The research is clear – even when substance abuse is the issue, in the typical cases seen by child protective services workers children do better when left in their own homes even than comparably maltreated children placed in foster care.  That’s why the first response should be drug treatment for the parents, not foster care for the children – not for the sake of the parents, but for the sake of the children.

The small decline in the number of children entering foster care gives hope that child welfare finally might be learning that lesson.