New York, following in the footsteps of several other states, is revamping its child welfare system, in phases.
The goal of the changes: to get children out of the system more quickly, with fewer moves within the system and fewer placements in group or institutional settings. Oh, yes, and to save money.
Currently, half the kids who enter foster care in New York City remain in the system for nearly five years, bouncing among three or four different placements.
Seventeen percent of the children get stuck in group or institutional placements, rather than private homes. Which are very expensive and less suitable for children.
But there are sharp disagreements over whether the overhauled system is realistic – and will really benefit children.
Caseworkers will be replaced by supervisors, who will closely monitor agency performance of city objectives.
Proponents applaud the goal of more children receiving family services while staying in their own homes with their own families.
But opponents fear that the modified child welfare system will prematurely toss children back into the lion’s den without adequate support.