On any given day in America, nearly a half million children are in foster care. For some children – those who suffer from abuse or severe neglect – a foster home provides a safe haven. But foster care is not always the best solution for vulnerable children.
The act of removing children from their families and homes creates emotional distress and long-lasting traumas that should be avoided whenever possible.
We have learned over the years that some vulnerable children can be better served by remaining safe at home while their parents receive the community services and support they need to raise a family successfully.
The goal in child welfare should be to make sure that children who do not need to be in foster care are not in foster care.
For those children already in foster care, we must work with the families to make their homes safe so that the children can be reunited with their parents. If that is not possible, we must find other safe, loving and permanent families for them as quickly as possible.
Across the nation, many state and county child welfare agencies are striving to better serve vulnerable children and strengthen families.
Our 2020 Strategy is designed to support those innovative efforts.
- Safe reduction: Safely reduce the number of children in foster care by 50 percent by 2020.
- Reinvestment: Reinvest savings from reduction on strategies and practices that strengthen families and improve child welfare systems.
- Well-being and self-sufficiency: Ensure that children in foster care, and adults who grew up in foster care, have equitable access to education, employment and mental health services