Children’s Rights engages in research and advocacy at the local, state, and national levels, conducting studies and issuing major reports designed to show how better public policy can bring about big improvements in the lives of our nation’s abused and neglected children.
Our policy research and advocacy on foster care includes the following projects:
Spurred by a child welfare reform campaign initially filed in 2000 by Children’s Rights, the state of Tennessee has employed a number of strategies over the years to dramatically reduce its reliance on institutions — and now placesthe vast majority of youth in foster care with relatives and foster families. This report not only explores the ways this change in practice has positively affected youth in the state’s care, but also how other jurisdictions can emulate Tennessee’s success.
The state of Wisconsin recently launched a new effort to license and train relatives following a legislative change in 2009 requiring relatives caring for foster youth to apply for a foster home license. This report evaluates the implementation of this new policy shift in Wisconsin, and offers specific recommendations that would help ensure that foster youth living with relatives are just as safe as those living with unrelated foster parents.
An in-depth report on the New York City child welfare system detailing problems that delay the progress of children in New York City foster care toward reunification with their parents, adoption, or permanency through legal guardianship — and making concrete recommendations about how these problems can be solved.
The first-ever nationwide, state-by-state calculation of the real cost of supporting children in foster care, revealing widespread deficiencies in reimbursement rates across the nation — and major disparities among the states — and proposing a new standard rate for each state to use in fulfilling the federal requirement to provide foster parents with payments to cover the basic needs of children in foster care, including food, shelter, clothing and school supplies.
A comprehensive review of the literature on the needs of children with disabilities in foster care, focusing on abuse and neglect, health and medical issues, educational challenges, foster parent training and support, and aging out of the foster care system. (Part of a broader collaboration with United Cerebral Palsy examining the needs of children with disabilities in foster care and developing resources aimed at addressing them.)
A qualitative study of emergency care, designed to achieve a better understanding of the use of emergency care services throughout the country and its impact on children.
An in-depth analysis of systemwide statistical data provided by New York’s Administration of Children’s Services and interviews with more than 70 parents, young adults formerly in foster care, adoptive parents and child welfare professionals. Concrete recommendations suggest actions that can be taken to help move children through the system more quickly.
A Return to Orphanages? (2004)
A comprehensive report on child welfare systems’ reliance on group homes and institutions as placements for children in foster care, concluding that despite what is known from research about the highly negative impact of institutional care on children, “orphanages” are unfortunately likely to remain a placement option for foster children in many communities.
An in-depth look at the experiences and outcomes for youth in congregate care in New York City, addressing placements, services, safety, and permanency for youth in congregate care, including youth involvement in planning and decision-making and youth transitioning out of the foster care system.
A comprehensive look at the experiences of young people in foster care who have committed delinquent acts, examining the extent to which law, policy, and practice support appropriate outcomes for young people, and the ability of child welfare officials and foster parents to advocate on behalf of these children.