Foster Care Regulations Show Improvement Across the U.S.

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( — February 24, 2016) — Foster care is a substantial government program. It guarantees all children will have a roof over their heads, and it helps millions of abandoned children find families.

The system is far from perfect, however. The states have begun to take notice and are working to improve their foster care and adoption systems. Recent reports from Oregon and Michigan have shown how they have improved their foster care systems, thanks to some new government legislation.

Movement in those states toward better programs for children and broken families could set a new standard for the nation.

Oregon Legislation in Progress

Oregon’s recent success in foster care regulations involved the passing of a bill that would require officials to produce public reports of confirmed abuse and neglect findings on a quarterly basis.

Unfiled reports of this nature have been an issue in foster care since its beginnings, and the vote to pass the bill was unanimous. The legislation also empowers inspectors and officials over child-care facilities in order to help protect the system.

There will now be licensed inspectors for every facility, officials will have the power to discover and take action against corruption within agencies, and they’ll be able to prosecute those who resist.

In sum, the government has taken note of the lack of enforcement authority in Oregon’s child-care system, and it’s finally taken action to correct the issues.

The bill passed in a whirlwind, during a short 35-day session. “Could we hold off? We could,” said Rep. Duane Stark, R-Grants Pass, one of three House members who testified in support of the bill.

“But the problem is children need that attention right now,” he continued. “I really hope we move that bill right now, so we get the positions in place right now, to get the licensing we need right now, to protect children right now. So they’re not waiting.”

Michigan’s Effort to Eliminate Bottlenecks

Michigan has also taken action to protect its children who need immediate attention. The state filed a new settlement agreement that lifts many compliance requirements it has had to follow, which had created a bottleneck that slowed placement of children in homes.

Since the settlement has been enacted, far fewer children are waiting to be adopted or placed in a home.

The settlement should also lead to better training for caseworkers. “Both parties know that more work is needed,” said Children’s Rights attorney Sara Bartosz in reference to the state and caseworkers.

“And we view it as a positive that we’ve come to terms on how to get it done. There is an energy and focus coming out of the negotiations that should propel future reform and, in turn, keep Michigan’s children safe in foster care.” 

A Good Sign for the Nation

Both of these moves to improve the foster care system are small for the states concerned, but they’re an excellent signal of the nation’s efforts to improve the foster care system as a whole. These regulations are bringing more attention to the need to reduce bottlenecks and receive greater state support for foster-care children.

Right now, child abuse and neglect is plaguing the nation. Every day, five children die from abuse and neglect, and it’s the third leading cause of death in children under the age of four.

As government care systems continue to improve, the 650,000 children involved should receive the help they need to overcome their obstacles, be placed in a good home, and have a shot at a better life.