Exploring the reasons why kids get trapped in NYC foster care

By CR Staff

There are nearly 4,000 children in the New York City child welfare system who have been slated for either reunification with their parents or adoption for more than two years, but have remained in foster care nevertheless.

With every day they remain in foster care, their chances of ever regaining the stability of a permanent family — either by returning safely to their families or through adoption — grow smaller.

Now, Children’s Rights is engaged in a groundbreaking study to find out what stands in the way of moving these children out of foster care as quickly as possible — and arm both the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and child welfare advocates with the information and insights they need to change the system for the better.

This week’s City Limits Weekly has a terrific preview of the study, a full report on which will be released this fall. The article details the tough issues the study confronts, the unprecedented collaboration between Children’s Rights, ACS,the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice, and private child welfare agencies throughout the city that made the study possible — and the broad-ranging conversations our researchers had with parents, foster parents, attorneys, caseworkers, family court judges and referees, and others to place the hard data firmly in the context of the perspectives of the people whose lives are affected by the child welfare system’s workings every day.

Says one parent quoted in the article, one of whose children spent five years in the custody of the New York City child welfare system:

When it comes to foster care, “the shorter time is the better time. But sometimes it doesn’t always work out like that.”

Through this study — and all of our advocacy work on behalf of the more than 500,000 children in foster care across the United States — Children’s Rights aims to make sure that it works out that way a lot more often, and that no child remains in the custody of our nation’s troubled child welfare systems longer than absolutely necessary.