In one North Carolina county, the number of children in foster care has gone down, pretty dramatically, over the last several years.
How did they accomplish it?
The child welfare agency there has been experimenting with several preventative, early intervention programs, using government and charitable funds grants.
Each program or service has a different focus, such as:
- maintaining the involvement of fathers in their children’s lives
- assigning a nurse to each new mother during her baby’s first two years
- promoting relationships between parents and extended family members
- offering therapeutic foster care services, to train and support parents of children with special needs
- placing removed children with extended family members rather than in foster care with strangers
Between 2002 and 2009, the number of children in foster care in this North Carolina county shrank from 573 to 396.