Category Archives: Organizations

Information on how to contact organizations that deal with foster care issues

What is happening to family home foster care in Washington?

I think there is a lot of opportunity to be had in a financial crisis!  There’s a mandate to change that comes from having absolutely no good choices – that “necessity is the Mother of invention” thing.  And, heaven help us, there’s plenty of reason to make changes in the foster care system.  That is the point of this blog.  BUT…is it a good idea to transfer all child welfare services into the hands of private contractors?  That is what is being proposed in the State of Washington.

I have to say that I don’t think it is.   Continue reading


National Foster Care Month – FPAWS, get a move on!

Well, here we are, ten days into National Foster Care Month. There’s a lot out there going on in the State of Washington, and around the USA this month.

I’ve walked around the lake in Olympia, Washington for “Walk Me Home to Where I Belong” and doled out free cake and coffee to patrons at the GATEWAYS Bingo Hall in Lakewood, Washington, to remind them that their dollars support foster kids. I’ve met with all the therapeutic foster care providers in Tacoma, Washington in a brainstorming session to discuss how to chart the course for the future, and I’ve said goodbye to two really great advocates for foster care.

I include the goodbyes in the list, because change is essential to progress. And it’s not because the people leaving were bad, they were REALLY, REALLY Good!! AND – they aren’t really gone; they’re not dead, they haven’t stopped being foster parents, Scotty has failed to beam them up… So, they are still doing their part to lift up the children that we’ve entrusted to them. But, they’ve passed the baton.

Steve and Daniele Baxter, outgoing Co-Presidents of the Washington State Foster Parent Association, are sailing off into the sunset on a big boat for the adventure of a lifetime.
I am truly jealous. I know it’s hard for them to let go with so much left to do, but they deserve the break. They’ve been warriors and champions for a long time and I expect they will continue to contribute from where ever fate leads them next.

Looking back on the changes that the Baxters helped to bring about, they can be proud. We had an amazing initiative take seed here. Many kudos have to go to those who forced the dialogue by filing suit. It has raised the level of debate in our state capital about how we want to handle foster care.

Many people like the Baxters were key players in forming the debate that followed and the reforms that were adopted. The lack of speed at which reforms are implemented may drive some folks back to court, but the good news is that we will have a pilot program to look at how the concept of professional foster care homes could work. I’m looking forward to seeing the reviews of that program.

The Baxters have passed the baton, so who will take it up? Who will lead the charge in the State of Washington, answer the call, take up arms, step forward, fight the good fight, and forge ahead for the future of our children?

We at Foster Truth say from the bottom of our hearts, “Bless you, Baxters, and thank you.”

And also, “OKAY, FPAWS, get a move on, already! Everybody’s watching!”

Foster Youth and Homelessness – Findings of a National Study

According to a report released in February 2008 by the National Association of Counties (NACo) foster youth who age out of care are more susceptible to elevated rates of homelessness, poor educational outcomes, low wages, unemployment, health issues, and incarceration.  The report primarily cites the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth Study (“Midwest Study”), conducted by the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago in 2007 as the basis for its reported findings.  NACo describes the Midwest study as “the most comprehensive examination of youth leaving foster care.”  The Midwest study examined the outcomes of 732 foster youth who aged out of care in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin and describes numerous difficulties experienced by the young adults after leaving their care settings.

The NACo issue paper lists the most significant obstacles facing youth who age out of care as lack of support for education, housing, health care and employment.  The report emphasizes the findings of the Midwest Study that foster youth approach the transition to adulthood with significant educational deficits, that young adults who age out of foster care are more than twice as likely not to have a high school diploma or a GED as their peers.  They are 40% less likely to begin college and 14 times less likely to complete college than the general population.

This lack of education contributes to another huge issue for young people reaching the age of 18 in out-of-home placement – housing.  Former foster youth have few supports to bridge the gap between the wages they earn and the cost of housing.  As a result, young people aging out of the foster care system are becoming homeless at disconcerting rates. In the Midwest Study, more than 18 percent of those who aged out of care had been homeless at least twice, and more than half had been homeless one time or more since leaving care.  A telling fact is that three in ten of the nation’s homeless adults have been in foster care at some point in their lifetime.