Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - May 24, 2018 


Jared Kushner is finally granted his security clearance. Also on our nationwide rundown: A new lawsuit seeks the release of a gay man from ICE detention in Pennsylvania; and protecting an Arizona water source for millions near Phoenix.

Daily Newscasts

Give Foster Parents a Bigger Voice in Helping Kids

Foster parents should be allowed to become key partners in the child-welfare system to better assist foster children, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Greg Stotelmyer)
Foster parents should be allowed to become key partners in the child-welfare system to better assist foster children, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Greg Stotelmyer)
November 16, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A leading children's advocacy group is calling for a fundamental shift in the culture of child-welfare agencies.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, foster parents are being routinely left out of key decisions and changing that would help foster kids heal and reunite with their families.

Jeff Damron, co-director of a statewide foster-parent mentoring program, the Resource Parent Mentor Program at the University of Kentucky's College of Social Work Training Resource Center, said support and ongoing training of foster parents has greatly improved in Kentucky in the past 10 years, but systemic problems persist. Damron said social workers' caseloads are so high it has an impact on foster parents.

"They're just trying to get the cases managed rather than doing that harder work - which is, include more people at the table, take that time to build that partnership and build that relationship," he said. "So, it does happen way too often that foster parents are marginalized at that point."

Kentucky recently increased the per diem for foster parents and some counties now are including them at the early stages of a case. Around 8.000 children are in foster care statewide.

Damron agreed with the Casey Foundation that forming a partnership between foster parents and child-welfare agencies is essential to meeting a child's needs. He said the state should fine-tune its recruiting and training of frontline workers, and acknowledged that "pockets of resistance" to including foster parents still exist, which can slow the process of getting help to a child.

"How can we spread out our mental-health services for kids? Mental-health services is an issue that our foster parents struggle with," he said. "We've got kids that have severe needs."

Child-welfare consultant Denise Goodman said foster parents' hands sometimes are tied about making decisions in a child's life, simply because of a perception that they're paid volunteers. In fact, she said, they often know the child best.

"Foster parents want to be involved in the child's case planning, in the treatment planning for the child, in their school, in their health and mental-health processes," she said, "but oftentimes, those systems push foster parents out."

The report is online at aecf.org.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY