Friday, February 01, 2008

One step forward, two steps back regarding California foster care payments

Editorial: Foster care foolishness
Governor's cuts actually will increase costs
Sacramento Bee, Jan. 29, 2008, pg. B6.

With the state in a financial hole, cutting the budget is prudent. But fiscal prudence is one thing. Fiscal craziness is another.

Foster care is a case in point.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a 10 percent, across-the-board budget cut. One impact of this would be a cut in support to families who take in foster children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Licensed foster families receive only $505 a month on average now, a stipend that is less than it costs to kennel a dog in most counties. Last year, the Legislature approved a 5 percent rate increase, the first increase since 2001. The governor's 10 percent cut would reduce support levels to less than they were before that small increase.

The number of licensed foster families already is declining. Sacramento County had 778 foster families in 1999. It has 425 families today, a 45 percent decline. Statewide, the number of licensed foster care homes has declined 30 percent in the last decade. Cutting already inadequate financial support will only accelerate this trend.

Without available licensed foster families, children removed from their homes are handed over to foster family agencies or to group home providers. Reimbursement rates for families recruited by foster family agencies cost between $1,589 a month and $1,860 a month. Group home placement costs run between $1,454 a month at the low end and $6,371 at the top.

By cutting support to foster families, the state will be shoving more abused and neglected children into substantially more expensive and often less appropriate alternatives. Children placed in these more expensive settings tend to stay in foster care longer and are less likely to be adopted or reunited with their families. Too many leave the system as adults without family support and at a high risk for crime and homelessness.

The result: The state will spend more now to achieve a worse result that will cost more in the future. This isn't prudent. This is crazy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the federal government wasn't paying millions of dollars a year to calif. counties huge adoption incentives, i bet you that there would be at least 75% less cchildren in foster care, because the corruption of kidnapping poor families children would no longer be STATUS QUO when socialworkers and judges find families guilty of child abuse even though the parents were not arrested, or convicted in criminal courts of child abuse. why is it that cps and family courts find parents guilty of neglect and abuse, remove children, terminate parental rights, then don't allow family placements,but make foster family adoption the only option?



JAMIE JOEL read the truth

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