If you were out in foster care, wouldn’t you want to feel like you can choose where to belong? There’s often a stigma that separates the known from the unknown. And the unknown states that truly, kids of unknown parents should choose what’s most known for them. In particular, that involves choosing their own foster parents.
Kansas is going to be the first of many to allow foster children to snag their foster parents. This is to say there’s an attainable goal of change, allowing foster children to make strong connections to help out as they age away from the state’s care. Foster children may even be able to find permanent homes through adoption for instance, while being reunited with families or guardianship.
In this case however, the real breakthrough is giving kids more of a choice.
Foster kids above the age of sixteen will be able to pick up to two adults in order to serve as their legal, permanent family. Such individuals can even include caregivers or folks closer to the child. Scott Henricks, a director of permanency at Kansas Department for Children and Families states that “It would be an unprecedented change, it would be a change of direction on really how the system works.” However, the shift would not cut ties with the biological parents as a default move.
The Support System Is Real
The youth can be connected with a strong support system that can allow for evolution from teen years to early adulthood. In such a service, it also recognizes how family isn’t quite about who you’re close in relation to. The DCF wouldn’t be able to say just how eligible these people could become to become the guardians.
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, there’s rough estimates of how 20,000 individuals aging out of foster care, usually have it rough being without a permanent family. Through that means, those kids need stable housing, finding a job or wrapping up on school. Hendricks believes that “We all need those supports. We all need some connections and this would legally recognize that. Just imagine if you or I didn’t have anyone at that age.”
Why did the Annie E. Casey Foundation want to help out Kansas, of all places?
Because Kansas has a very excited and growing concentration of committed individuals, driven to the goal of expanding placement options for older children. All thanks to the Kansas Youth Advisory Council.
However, critics do exist.
Patricia Duh, a permanency consultant from SOUL Family, believes that some kids’ needs can’t be met with the modern-day options. “There is no one shoe, one size, that fits all youth when they age out. We have to begin to develop other options.”