Governors, Legislatures focus on foster care best practices

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, the National Conference of State Legislatures and Casey Family Programs announced the selection of twelve states to participate in a policy study to improve outcomes and reduce the number of children in foster care.

The policy institute, Changing the Outcome: Achieving and Sustaining a Safe Reduction in Foster Care will allow states to learn about foster care best practices; engage state leadership, policymakers, judiciary allied agencies and other stake holders in the child welfare system; learn how to use data to design a reduction agenda; organize with past state-level participants; and develop a plan of action for safely reducing the number of children in foster care while improving outcomes.

“While foster care is an essential protection for some children, we know that removing a child from his or her family can have traumatic effects and that outcomes worsen the longer a child remains in foster care and the more placements a child experiences,” John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center for Best Practices, said in a statement.

According to NGA Center numbers, nearly 500,000 children are in the custody of state child welfare systems. And they have a 40 percent chance of experiencing three or more placements within the two and a half years most children stay in foster care.

“The states selected to participate in this institute will examine ways in which they can increase efforts to address and prevent the problems families and foster children face.”

Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin will join Arkansas, Florida, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and South Carolina – the six states participating in the NGA Center Policy Academy to Safely Reduce the Number of Children in Foster Care that have been engaged with the NGA Center working towards safe reduction since April 2008.

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