There have been countless studies conducted over the years to determine whether children fare better in foster care, or with their natural families. The answers have been unanimous across the board – kids are better off with their own families, wherever possible. But what makes this particular piece of research unique is that it was conducted by former foster youths who know exactly what it feels like to be removed from their parent’s care.
Preventing unnecessary removal of children from their families
Earlier last month, the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council conducted a webinar on their site addressing their recent policy push for keeping families together whenever possible. The survey questioned 200 current and former foster youth about their experiences in the child welfare system. The results were enlightening, to say the least.
Three members, all of whom are former foster youth, presented the results of the survey. One of the issues addressed by the survey was whether or not respondents felt that they had been included in the investigation that resulted in them being placed in foster car to begin with. 59% said they weren’t. Another issue was whether or not the case worker who handled their case had worked hard to keep their family together. 55% said that hadn’t been the case for them.
Children should only be removed from their parent’s care as a last resort!
The particular priority that inspired this webinar and survey is entitled “Preventing unnecessary removal of children from their families.” But it isn’t the only priority that the council believes should change in the current child welfare system. There are many others, including normalcy for foster children, the high rate of homelessness among former foster youth, and mental health.
With regards to this specific priority, the council reviewed the results, and then drew up a list of important ways that the child welfare system in America can work to decrease the number of children placed in foster care. These suggestions will be shared with the council’s federal stakeholders.
Ways that the child welfare system in America can address this priority:
- The youth who are at risk of being placed into foster care should be engaged during the investigation, as the outcome directly affects them!
- The removal of a child from their parent’s care should NEVER be done as a way to punish the parents for bad choices. It is the child who ends up suffering the most!
- Children should never be removed from their homes simply because the worker handling their case doesn’t like the family, or their lifestyle choices.
- All child welfare workers should be thoroughly educated about prevention services that are available to parents in their area, so that alternatives can be offered. Child should only be removed as a last resort!
- There should be more support services in place to help parents address the issues of mental health, and substance abuse.
- When a child is left with their family, the parents should have support services made available so that a future removal is less likely!
The foster care system still has a long way to go!
These survey results reinforce arguments we’ve been making for years now – that children do better when left with their parents, and that families with problems need help, not to be torn apart! Hopefully the attention brought to this very important issue, through the results of this survey, will help raise awareness, and inform policy change in the future!
Until then, if you or a loved one are at risk of losing your children, or believe that CPS may be investigating you, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our highly skilled CPS defense attorneys have spent decades helping Michigan families fight the overreaching arm of CPS, and we can help you too!