Children's Aid Reacts to Foster Care Report

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Reaction by The Children's Aid Society to Children's Rights Report, "The Long Road Home: A Study of Children Stranded in New York City Foster Care"

No one can argue with Children’s Rights’ finding that the length of a child’s stay in foster care in New York City is too long.

There are a number of reasons for this. Foster care agencies deal with families with some of society’s most intractable problems: substance abuse, mental illness, family violence and severe poverty. In addition, there is not one system but many that must work together successfully and promptly to move children’s cases toward a permanent resolution faster.

Children’s Aid fully supports CRI’s call to increase the number of Family Court judges. Unless cases can move more quickly through the Family Court, permanency decisions will be unreasonably delayed and children will languish in foster care even when there is a family willing to adopt.

In addition, more caseworkers with more training are needed so each child and family can receive the intensive attention required. More resources are required to give foster parents the support they need, and to give birth parents the services they need to reunify their family and keep their family together once they are reunited; critically important, more community members are desperately needed to become foster and adoptive parents, so the agencies can find the best matches for children.

Even though Children’s Aid Society is a well respected foster care agency in New York City, we struggle daily with the issues cited by Children’s Rights and child welfare officials. We appreciate the recent efforts of the City and State to support providers with flexible funding to create innovative programs, such as our substance abuse and other intensive case management services for birth parents. Without more resources, however, many of these problems will remain unsolved and children will remain in care for too long. Expediting permanency requires a full court press from all sectors of the child welfare system and a real commitment from all members of the community concerned about achieving better outcomes for children and families.

Children’s Aid thanks CRI for bringing these important issues to public attention; we hope that the media and public will remain focused on these significant findings and the urgent need for improvements.

Richard R. Buery, Jr.

President and Chief Executive Officer

Jane F. Golden

Assistant Executive Director for Child Welfare Policy and Foster Care Services

Image courtesy of Children's Rights