Pilot Child Welfare System Redesign
Strategic Action Plan
These webpages are a work in progress. They are open to the public to encourage comments, ideas, and improvements.
14.7 After Foster Care
The chart above shows where children went after their stay in foster care, based on data from the Oregon annual Data Books from 2009 through 2019.
Reunification statistics from 2009 through 2019 are represented by the first cluster of columns on the chart. It is obvious from this cluster that the intention is to reunite the child with the family whenever possible. Without statistics on re-abuse, however, it is difficult to determine whether the reunification was successful or not. Were any follow-up visitations to the family provided to ensure the child was now safe? How long was the child in foster care before reunification? What medical and mental health checks and support were provided for the child while in foster care? What programs or services were provided to the family while the child was in foster care? How was it determined that it was now time to return the child to the family? Was the child involved in all decisions about their treatment (age-appropriate)?
Adoption and Guardianship
Adoption statistics are provided in the second grouping of columns and Guardianship statistics are provided in the third grouping of columns.
Emancipation statistics are provided in the fourth grouping of columns. “Emancipation” means the foster care graduate, regardless of age, is granted status as an adult. Then what? Is there a support system for the new adult? Is there a place for them to stay to get their footing? Mental health counseling and support?
Living with Relatives
Living with Relatives statistics are provided in the fifth grouping of columns. Is this couch-surfing? How is this different from Guardianship – other than the obvious legal aspects? How is this different from Emancipation?
“Other” statistics are provided in the sixth grouping of columns. Other is a collection of multiple outcomes, each of which is represented on the chart and discussed individually below.
Other: Transfer to Another Agency
Other: Transfer to Another Agency statistics are provided in the seventh group of columns. To what agency are the foster care graduates transferred? Why? Does the agency provide services for the foster care graduate following the transfer?
Other: Runaway statistics are provided in the eighth group of columns. “Runaways”? Really? Or sex trafficked? Did anyone try to find the children? What happened in 2019 to make 231 children “run away”? How do you know they weren’t kidnapped? Dead? Sex trafficking? Suicided?
Other: Death of Child
Other: Death of Child statistics are provided in the ninth group of columns. “Death of Child” in this case means that the child died while in foster care. Every year there were between 3 and 9 child fatalities while they were in foster care. Was the foster care home closed after a death? Was there an investigation? How many deaths were murders? How many deaths were “accidents”? How many deaths were suicides? Was the child really safer in foster care than remaining at home?
Other: Other/Aged Out
Other: Other/Aged Out statistics are provided in the last group of columns. What happened to the children who aged-out of foster care? Were there any support services for children aging out of foster care? Was there temporary housing for them while they find their footing? What is the difference between Aged Out and Emancipated?
This chart appears to be saying: “They are out of the Child Welfare System.” Period. No follow-up, no support services, no assistance. No wonder so many end up homeless. Foster care graduates have the same mental health conditions demonstrated in the Adoption statistics (see Chapter below), yet they are turned out without a family or other support system to help them transition.
Action Step 14.7.1: Reinstate re-abuse data into the Child Welfare Monthly Reports.
Action Step 14.7.2: Find Best Practices of support services after foster care and offer those services to the child before they age out. The child chooses whether to accept a service, but they need to know what options are available to them.
Action Step 14.7.3: Investigate the outcome for ALL “Runaway” children from foster care, from the years 2009 through 2019. These are abused children, many with mental health issues, who have not been provided mental health or therapeutic treatment. Where would they go? They would be prime targets for sex traffickers and other predators. The children were in foster care, which means they were under CWS authority – and they continued to be under CWS authority when they ran away. CWS is still responsible for the children who run away from foster care. Therefore, CWS is mandated to search for, locate, and return the run away children to a CWS-provided safety program.
Action Step 14.7.4: Identify and remove the underlying situations in 2019 that resulted in 231 children running away from foster care. Investigate any 2020 Runaway children as well. Make it procedure that ALL Runaway children are found and returned because they are still under CWS’ authority.
To submit questions or comments, please email Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I welcome all input, ideas, and suggestions. Thank you for caring for children.