One of the regional directors of Florida’s Department of Children and Families thinks the foster care system it administers doesn’t work very well.
Some depressing statistics about foster care:
- Forty-four (44%) percent of foster children will be arrested [compared to fourteen (14%) percent of the general population]
- Fifty (50%) percent of foster girls will become mothers during their teens [compared to one-third of the general population]
Florida’s not unique in these respects. And there probably isn’t a whole lot of dispute about the quality of foster care.
But the question remains: how do we improve the foster care program?
The DCF director points out that children of divorce are traumatized by the loss of one parent from their day to day lives. Foster children lose both parents. On top of being abandoned, abused or neglected.
The director would attempt to minimize the trauma by keeping families intact. The director would greatly reduce the number of cases where children are removed from the home.
Instead the director would provide services in the home on an intensive and accelerated basis, with closer supervision afterward.
A small pilot program is underway right now. If successful, a larger pilot project will follow.