270 likes | 670 Views
Child Welfare 101: Awaiting Foster Care and Beyond. November 11 2007 NAEHCY Conference, Portland, OR Robin Nixon,Millicent Williams, Casey Trupin. Definition of Out of Home Care – Foster Care.
E N D
Child Welfare 101: Awaiting Foster Care and Beyond November 11 2007 NAEHCY Conference, Portland, OR Robin Nixon,Millicent Williams, Casey Trupin
Definition of Out of Home Care – Foster Care • Placement and services provided to children and their families when children have to be removed from their families due to safety concerns. • Children are in the custody of the state after removal. • Children may be placed in: • Family Foster Care • Kinship Care • Treatment Foster Care • Residential/Group Care
Who are the children infoster care? • Approximately 513,000 children and youth are in foster care in the U.S. • Median age is 10.6 years • 6% are less than 1 year old • Each year estimated 20,000 young people age out of care • 20% of children in care experience 3 or more placements in one year
Who are the children in foster care? Gender • Males - 52% • Females - 48% Race and ethnicity • Although child abuse and neglect occurs at the same rate in all racial/ethnic groups – • As a percentage there are more children or color in care than in the general population
The Whirlwind of Entering Foster Care • Removed from home/parents/siblings • May not have had opportunity to say good bye • Uncertainty about where parents/siblings are • Living with strangers • In strange house/room/bed • Strange customs/routine • Other children in home • Few or none of your possessions • Lucky to have trashbag of belongings • Uncertainty about future • Where will I live? • Will I return home? • Where will I go to school?
Educational outcomes for youth in foster care • Youth in care have lower grade point averages, change schools more frequently, earn fewer credits toward HS graduation, have lower scores on state testing and are more likely to be exempted from state testing • They are more likely to be in special education programs, with disproportionate representation in classes that are segregated • A number of recent studies revealed that only about 56% of foster youth graduate from HS while in care as older adolescents • Studies also show that only about 13% of former foster youth go on to college, compared to about 60% of all high school seniors; • And only 3% will eventually graduate from college, as compared to about 27% of the general adult population.
Issue: Maintain School Continuity and Stability • Studies show that the longer youth are in foster care, the greater the number of home placements they experience – a change in home placements is quite often accompanied by a change in school. • Youth may lose days or even weeks of schooling due to enrollment delays or temporary placement in emergency care. • Researchers at the University of Chicago found that by the sixth grade, students who had changed schools four or more times had lost approximately one year of educational growth.
Foster Care Statistics • On average – a child in foster care is: • 10 years old • Has been in care for 2.5 years • Is placed with non-relative foster homes • Has a case goal of reunification • 20% of children in care will experience 3 or more placements in one year
Some Important Distinctions • Child Welfare system involvement • Court Involvement • Entry into State custody and placed in out of home care
Abuse and Neglect Process • Report of abuse or neglect • Investigation by CPS • Estimated 3 million children reported abused and neglected in a given year • Assessment • Investigation
Abuse and Neglect Process cont. • Child welfare agency finding • Unfounded/Unsubstantiated • Case is closed • Substantiated (900,000 children/year) • Agency sends child home without services • Agency sends child home with supervision or support services • Agency recommends removal from home
Court Involvement • Preliminary Protective Hearing (Initial hearing, shelter hearing, emergency hearing) • Immediate after removal (usually within 72 hours) • Finding that it is contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home at this time • Finding that reasonable efforts have been made to avoid removal • Lower evidentiary standard (probable cause) • Court may do one of 3 things: • Send child home without services • Send child home with supervision or support services • Order child removed from home
Court Involvement • Adjudicatory hearing usually occurs within 30 days of the initial hearing • Determine whether the allegations of abuse or neglect outlined in the petition occurred • Dispositional hearing may occur at the same time as the adjudicatory hearing or 30 days after. • If an adjudicatory finding of abuse or neglect, do the children need the continuation of the courts involvement/do they need to continue in out of home placement?/what services need to be put in place *INTERESTING NOTE: federal law defines “foster care entry”: adjudication or 30 days after removal
Once a case exists • Review hearings: at least once every 6 months • Permanency hearings: minimum of once every 12 months • Must establish what the permanency plan for the child is at each hearing • Must make a finding that reasonable efforts to finalize the permanency plan have been made • Must review the case plan • Federal law requires that the case plan include education records
Permanency Options • Reunification • Adoption • Legal guardianship • Placement with a fit and willing relative • Another planned permanent living arrangement
When does McKinney apply? • Children “awaiting foster care placement” are McKinney eligible • No clear definition of “awaiting foster care placement” • Depending on your state or jurisdiction’s interpretation (where you are on the continuum), McKinney may apply to some or all children in the foster care.
When McKinney Applies CONTINUUM OF ARGUMENTS: • When child is in foster care they are not “awaiting foster care placement” and therefore are not McKinney eligible • Children in foster care in certain particularly unstable placements are considered McKinney eligible • All children pre-adjudication or disposition are considered McKinney eligible • All children pre finalization of permanency plan (e.g. adoption; guardianship; reunification) are McKinney eligible • All children in foster care are McKinney eligible • Delaware law
Examples of State McKinney-like provisions for children in foster care • California AB 490: school of origin and immediate enrollment (doesn’t clearly resolve transportation) • Virginia SB 1006: immediate enrollment in new school and school of origin by agreement of child welfare and education agencies • Arkansas HB 1710: school of origin and expedited enrollment • Maryland SB 426: expedited transfer of records for children in state custody • Pennsylvania regulations 22 Pa. Code 11.11: expedited enrollment and transfer of records when all children move schools
Guiding principles of California’s AB 490 • Everyone shares the duty to promote the educational progress of children in out of home placements. • Mandates that educators, school personnel, social workers, probation officers, caregivers, advocates, and juvenile court officers all work together to serve the educational needs of children in foster care. EC 48850(a)
Foster youth access to same academic resources, services, and extracurricular activities Education and placement decisions dictated by best interests of the child “Foster care liaison” on school staff School stability in school of origin Preference for mainstream school placement Immediate enrollment Timely transfer of educational information Protection of credits, grades, graduation Case worker/probation officer access to school records Key Provisions of AB 490
Other States that Have Adopted Legislation Similar to AB 490 • Delaware (HB 279): all children in foster care are McKinney eligible. • Virginia (SB 1006): immediate enrollment in new school and school of origin by agreement of child welfare and education agencies. • Arkansas (HB 1710): school of origin and expedited enrollment. • Maryland (SB 426): expedited transfer if records for children in state custody.
Other States Continued… • Oregon (HB 3075): continuance in school of origin, transportation, prompt transfer of records. • Pennsylvania regulations 22 Pa. Code 11.11: expedited enrollment and transfer of records when all children move schools.
Litigation • Washington State: Braam v. DSHS. Plan requires Department to, among other items: • Increase the percentage of school-aged children enrolled or attending school within three school days of entering care or changing placements • Significantly improve the percentage of school-age children whose placement allowed them to remain enrolled in the same school they were attending when they entered foster care. • Establish educational outreach positions to assist children in out-of-home care in meeting K–12 educational objectives and preparing for higher education goals. • Offer caregivers training on educational advocacy skills • Develop and implement tutoring and mentoring services, in conjunction with existing community resources, to improve educational outcomes for adolescents in out-of-home care. • Replicate study on Educational Attainment ofFoster Youth: Achievement andGraduation Outcomes for Children inState Care.
Resource American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law website: webpage on education issues for children in foster care www.abanet.org/child/education National Center for Homeless Education www.serve.org/nche