Has the foster care system improved over time or does it need modifications? How would you feel if you or one of your family members had to go to foster care? What would you do? Would you accept the situation or would you attempt to deny that decision? Well, Mary, a six-year-old girl, was destined to go to foster care after cases of domestic violence in their home. Being raised by both parents all her life, she never envisioned living with another family. She cried and begged child protective services to allow her to stay with her parents but they did not hear any of her cries. That particular day, she was picked from her home with the child protective service agent and taken to a new and stable home. In the home, Mary was treated fairly and all her basic, educational, and medical needs were taken care of by her foster parents.
The aim of the essay is to show that foster care should be a top priority because it caters to the child's wellbeing. Foster children are usually sent from home to home and are neglected by their parents at an early age. As well, I understand what foster children go through because I have worked in a group home. Recently, the representative of the Republican party Knute Buehler urged the government to consider kids in foster care as a top priority by allocating more funding to them (Harlan,2018). As the author explains a report from Oregon's secretary of state office revealed that the problems faced by foster children are still not fixed. Besides that, the American Academy of Pediatrics (2015) emphasizes that foster care should be a top priority because children who enter the system face vulnerabilities such as developmental, mental, and psychological problems.
The topic is important for a myriad of reasons. For instance, children in foster care need more attention and monitoring due to their vulnerabilities. Caseworkers ought to prioritize children in foster care by advocating for their rights on their behalf. Without putting foster care children as a priority, their mental health, and psychological needs will not be met. Besides that, it will be difficult to deal with their developmental and trauma, which they experienced in their previous home. Foster children need support throughout their lives. I believe that those issues need to be addressed. The primary audience for this proposal is everyone whole the secondary audiences are the professor and fellow classmates, some of whom may have experienced the foster care system and will relate to the topic. It is believable that my audience will agree to my proposal because of the shared opinions and thoughts. A specific plan to solve the problem is to provide intensive training to caseworkers to ensure that they meet every need of children who are in foster care. Training will require direct liaison with foster parents to ensure that they are competent to take care of the vulnerable children. The plan will succeed because all caseworkers will be equipped with the necessary skill to improve performance within the system. Besides that, training will create the recognition that foster care deserves. Foster care should be a top priority because it is in the best interests of the children and will help them as they grow into adults.
The placement of children in foster homes has been there for centuries. Foster Care (n.d) indicates that in the 1500s English poor laws allowed poor children into indentured services until they became adults. It indicates that afterward, the United States adopted the system. However, indentured services allowed for the exploitation of children, but the state considered it as an improvement of the children's lives (Foster Care n.d). Furthermore, the transcript outlines that during those times, children were placed in foster homes because their parents were deceased and not because they were being abused in their previous homes. More so, it indicates that foster homes in the 1800s abused children. It adds that in the 1900s, social agencies began to pay more interest to the children. Moreover, it states that today, foster homes are regulated and monitored compared to the past.
Statistics indicate that in the US, more than 23,000children age out successfully (Gaille, 2017). The author adds that after reaching the age of 18, 20% of these children become homeless, and one out of two gain employment. Furthermore, (2016) indicates that states spent more than $28.2 billion on child welfare activities. Moreover, the author states that it is a priority for each state to provide funding for child welfare activities to prevent abuse and neglect of children.
The cause of the problems within the foster care system is that the social workers fail to do proper monitoring of children within the system. Azzi-Lessing (2016) affirms that languishing in the foster homes affects the children's well-being. The author states that children in foster care experience changes of placement if they have been there for more than one or two years. Social services have to cater to the needs of these children so that they find permanent homes. Another cause of the problem within the system is that child welfare workers do not work in the best interest of the children. A study by James (2004) indicated that child welfare workers only comply with federal mandates when placing children in foster homes instead of investigating the conditions of the child in that home before placement.
The major effect of the problem is that children are unable to develop properly within the system. The problem of languishing in the foster homes, for example, will cause disrupted relationships because children are placed in the temporary homes. Children in the foster homes will be unable to develop into adulthood appropriately due to psychological issues. The problem of temporary placement, for example, should be fastened by the child welfare services to ensure that the child is comfortable and able to concentrate on his or her studies in a permanent home. A permanent home will ensure that the children age out of the homes successfully.
Figure 1: Logo for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Figure 1: Retrieved from https://unitedwaydefiance.galaxydigital.com/agency/detail/?agency_id=71146
The logo above is that for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). According to statistics, nearly 700,000 children attend court hearings, adjusting to foster homes, and transitioning to new schools that make them unable to play with neighbors and make family memories. Since it is a heavy burden on the children, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) step in to create a voice to the vulnerable children and ensure that their best interests are cared for in a safe and loving home. Their vision is to serve every child. The program works with the US Department of Justice to ensure that they serve every child become better people in the future.
The plan to solve the problem is to provide intensive training to caseworkers to ensure that they meet every need of children who are in foster care. Training will require direct liaison with foster parents to ensure that they are competent to take care of the vulnerable children. The plan will succeed because all caseworkers will be equipped with the necessary skill to improve performance within the system. Besides that, training will create the recognition that foster care deserves. The reason for including both foster parents and child welfare staff in the training is that it requires a team approach. The name of the plan will be called "Operation eliminate obstacles that hinder the success of foster care systems."
The plan aims to ensure that children in foster care grow up to become adults. Besides that, the training for child welfare staff and foster parents will enable children to be placed in permanent foster homes instead of temporary ones where children will be comfortable.
During the plan, I suggest that all child welfare service agents from each state participate in the mandatory training. My solution is unique because it will require liaison with the agents as well as the foster parents. On a broader perspective, it is apparent that other solutions are untested just as mine is, but my belief is that mine is a better option because the participants will not only gain the effective skills but also learn about the significance of safeguarding the well-being of foster children who age out of care.
The current strategies for curbing the issues experienced in foster care are the implementation of new policies. Ramsay-Irving (2015) articulates that the implantation of new policies and procedures help to increase the long-term positives among children in foster care. The other one is funding, which Knute Buehler proposed to the government. I do not believe the solution of funding and implementing new policies are viable. In the previous section, I have discussed how child welfare services work with the policies implemented instead of paying interests on the child. From a personal perspective, my proposed strategy will be effective because it will create better rates of improvement in the system.
The major steps in operationalizing my solution are the following,
Make the foster parents as well as agencies understand the severity of the problem.
Create an alert to all foster care agencies that a nationwide training will be conducted.
Create a cost-benefit analysis
Create a schedule for the plan.
The minor steps are the following,
Collaborate transparency with the participants in the training project
Operationalize the solution.
If the solution is implemented, it is clear that it will create success within the system. Some of the deliverables include the following,
Quality control - if implemented, the solution will ensure that foster care agencies work with quality.
Compliance - the solution will allow participants to conform to the standard sets of provision of services to foster children.
Due to the problems experienced in the foster care system, the goal is to ensure that children age out of the systems with a proper state of mind. Besides that, the investment in the plan is worthwhile because it will benefit vulnerable children in the foster care system as they age out of care.
Some of the cost associated with the plan includes the paying of trainers who would work with the foster parents as well as the child welfare agents. Another direct cost is the money for training materials and resources. More so, another cost incurred will be travelling, boarding, lodging for people who will come far from the training centers.
Some of the indirect costs are the cost of temporary replacing staff, cost of management setting up the required training process, any administrative costs related to training activity, and wages of participants.
The benefit of the training is that it will create a return on investment. As mentioned throughout the text, the training will equip both workers and foster parents with the necessary knowledge and skills to help foster children age out of the system comfortably.
The proposal aims to evaluate the benefits using a damage avoided approach. If successful, I hope that there will be no loss of money during the training process to ensure that we stick to the budget.
Materials and Resources
If the major steps of operationalizing the solution are implemented, some of the materials and resources necessary include books, pens, power point slide decks, and support documents.
Figure 2: Cost of Current testing system vs. proposed system.
Figure 2: This chart above depicts the cost of the current testing system in billions of dollars. Red depicts the current system in Year 1 of the program...
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