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Report: CT Can Make Foster Care Better for Kids

For foster children, every change in placement is a major upheaval. (MorningbirdPhoto/Pixabay)
For foster children, every change in placement is a major upheaval. (MorningbirdPhoto/Pixabay)
January 17, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. – Young people met with state legislators in Hartford on Tuesday to push for reforms that could help children in foster care.

For children, every move to a new foster home or group facility is a major upheaval, requiring adjustments to new rules, new routines and new expectations.

A report from Connecticut Voices for Children says the national standard for placement stability is for foster children to be moved no more than once every 243 days.

According to Nicole Updegrove, co-author of the report, in Connecticut the average placement is longer.

"For as long as youths are in care, they move, on average, once per year, and that's much better than what the national standard is,” she points out. “That said, moving once per year is still pretty tough on kids."

The report recommends several policy changes that could limit upheavals, such as giving children at least 10 days notice before a move, and ensuring they keep all their possessions.

Lauren Ruth, advocacy director at Connecticut Voices for Children, points out that any placement change can have impacts that not only affect relationships within foster care but can follow children into adulthood.

"Frequent placement changes tend to increase children's anxiety about abandonment from important people in their lives, as well as their tendency to avoid intimacy with those who care about them," she explains.

Ruth adds that a good, stable placement also can mitigate some of the harm done by earlier, unhealthy relationships.

Updegrove says the most important recommendation in the report is that children who are in foster care need to be involved in the process of revising child welfare policies.

"The young people growing up in the system know a lot of what needs to be done to fix it,” she states. “And if youth can get together to revise policy and practice, they can make it better for youth going forward in the future."

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT