We are CASA. An organization of volunteers that fights to provide abused and neglected children safe, permanent, homes. As we say, our goal is permanency for the child. When possible, our first objective is to try to reunite children with their families. Sometimes the situation can be resolved when the child is temporarily removed from the home. We will work with CPS and the court to determine if the child is safe to return. Last year, 29% of the children served by CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County were returned home
This is not always an option. In 2014, an additional 29% of the children served by CASA were adopted, and another 31% were placed with relatives or fictive kin (for example, a close family friend). Sometimes, the court system faces difficulties in determining a permanent situation and the child ends up in the foster care system long-term (6-11% of children served by CASA last year).
That is why we are excited that Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced the Family Stability and Kinship Care Act Wednesday August 5.
Right now, states are given money for their foster care systems. But, sometimes this money could be better used to keep children out of foster care all together. It would allow states to determine how to better distribute this money.
In a case where the parents might need counseling or family skills training, the state would now have the funding to provide that service and reunite the family rather than placing the child in foster care.
This bill would also increase preventative spending on measures like “community-based prevention and intervention services” by $470 million a year. That means putting money towards efforts to strengthen communities and prevent abuse and neglect before it happens.
With more than 400,000 children in the foster system, a change to prevent this number from continuing to rise is welcome among child advocacy groups.
We will be watching this bill closely. Help push it through by contacting your congressmen. To make it easy for you to find your Congressman or woman, here is a helpful link to find the representatives and senators of any district in the country.
Whether it passes or not, children displaced by abuse and neglect need your support to help find a permanent home. We hope this bill passes so we have another tool to keep children with their families when it is found to be in their best interest. Regardless, we ask you to help us make a difference in a child’s life and become an Advocate.