Children whose parents are unwilling or unable to care for them typically end up in foster care. But there’s often a highly viable alternative.
It’s called kinship care: placement with extended family members, most commonly grandparents. Approximately 350,000 of New York’s children are in kinship care.
New York’s commissioner of Children and Family Services reports that displaced children fare better when placed with relatives than in foster care, with strangers.
The Commissioner spearheaded a statewide “subsidized kinship guardianship program”. The currently $3 million program saves the state considerable funds otherwise expended on traditional foster care.
The current budget funds case management, respite services, support groups, advocacy and legal aid.
But the program’s budget is being shrunk by budget cuts to one-third of its current amount. At the same time that the number of children brought into the program is rising.
What’s wrong with that picture?