Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - May 24, 2019 


President Trump's reported to be ready to sign disaster relief bill without money for border security. Also on the Friday rundown: House bills would give millions a path to citizenship; and remembering California’s second-deadliest disaster.

Daily Newscasts

Report: Big Gains in Family Placement for ND Foster Youths

States are hopeful that the Family First Prevention Services Act will emphasize investments in families so that fewer children are removed and placed in foster care. (davef3138/Flickr)
States are hopeful that the Family First Prevention Services Act will emphasize investments in families so that fewer children are removed and placed in foster care. (davef3138/Flickr)
April 9, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. — More foster youths are being placed in families across the country, according to a new report. The Annie E. Casey Foundation says the proportion of kids in foster care who were placed with families rather than in group homes rose from 81 percent in 2007 to 86 percent in 2017.

North Dakota saw massive gains over that time, jumping from 74 to 87 percent. Kelsey Bless, children and family services permanency administrator with the North Dakota Department of Human Services, said the state has seen a spike in the amount of kids going into foster care because of parental substance abuse, but it also has put a lot of energy into reducing placement in group homes.

"So our numbers of children in foster care have increased,” Bless said. “At the same time, our number of homes have increased, and then our ability to engage at that lowest-level, least-restrictive environment has increased."

Research shows foster youth placed with families are more likely to finish school and get jobs, and less likely to become early parents.

In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Family First Prevention Services Act, which prioritizes family placement. Bless said she hopes the measure will allow for greater funding for services upstream so that fewer children are removed from their families.

The report showed children nationwide are more likely to be placed with people related to them - growing from 25 percent to 32 percent in a decade. Rob Geen, director of policy and advocacy reform with the Casey Foundation, said that has been an important development.

"One of the main reasons why we're seeing this improvement is that states are placing more children with relatives,” Geen said. “When a child can't live with their own birth families, a relative is always the first choice. And states are doing a much better job with that."

But, he added, progress has been slower for children of color and for teens. According to the report, 95 percent of children age 12 and younger were placed with families in 2017, compared with 58 percent of kids 13 and older.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ND