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The Trump administration weakens banking regulations; and events this weekend mark the 400th anniversary of slavery in the United States. (Broadcaster Note: Our 6-min. newscast now has an optional outcue at 3 minutes: “This is PNS.”)

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Foster Care in NH: Fund Prevention, Not More Placements

February 4, 2008

Plymouth, NH - If you help keep families out of trouble, you can keep many kids out of foster homes. A new report by the Pew Charitable Trust shows that helping families stay together is a more effective use of taxpayer dollars than money spent on foster home placements.

But many states don't craft their budgets accordingly. For instance, New Hampshire gets eleven times more federal dollars for programs related to foster care than for family-related assistance. Dr. Helen O'Brien, of the National Association of Social Workers in New Hampshire, calls that a "backwards approach" to spending.

"If you can prevent children going into the system and avoid the long-term costs of foster care, you're having an incredible impact."

O'Brien says federal budget-makers could do more for less by taking a lesson from successful family service programs across the country.

"Why is placement the option? Why can't we learn from the number of programs in this country doing phenomenal jobs keeping families together and safe?"

O'Brien says some foster placements may always be necessary, but the experience comes at a cost to kids, and she believes the best way to deal with those consequences is to prevent such trauma in the first place. The report examines successful programs that include parent training, early childhood education, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and services that promote keeping families together.

The full report is available online at www.kidsarewaiting.org.

John Robinson, Public News Service - NH