What is Foster Care?
Sometimes children need to live with people who are not their parents or immediate family. Agencies like Wesley Family Services identify and train loving, responsible adults who can care for the children temporarily until they can be either reunited with their families or adopted into a permanent home.
What kinds of children enter foster care?
The kids who enter care come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and personalities. Children range from newborn to 23; may be of any ethnic or socioeconomic circumstance; and may be placed individually or with siblings. What they all have in common is the loss and trauma experienced by being removed from their parents’ care. Some may need more understanding and attention due to being medically fragile or having developmental delays. Others may exhibit behaviors as a means of coping with abuse or neglect. Some may have mental health diagnoses. Some may not appear to have any behavioral issues at all. What is important to remember is that generally these are children who have ended up in out of home placement, not through their fault, but through the actions of their parents.”
Facts About Foster Care:
Children in Care
- Most of the children in foster care are between five and 14 years of age, and around 40% of foster children identify as black or African American.
- 52% of kids are currently male, and 48% are female.
- 82% of the children discharged from WS foster care are discharged to their birth family or other permanent family resources, created through adoption, kinship, or custody arrangements.
- 17% of the children discharged from WS foster care achieved permanent families through WS.
- In 2016, five children were adopted and two found permanency with a WS family through permanent legal custody agreements.
- Children ages five and under that were assessed using the Ages & Stages Questionnaire either maintained or improved their academic or developmental skills while in the program.
- Of the school-aged kids, 46% were performing below grade level when entering the program.
- 84% of kids in school while in care improved their performance skills to grade level, or above grade level expectations.
- Kids who have involvement in their communities are happier, healthier children.
- Of the kids who entered care with no prior community involvement, WS arranged for 80% to have some form of community activity during their stay.
- Of those, 88% of those children continued to be involved with that community support post-discharge.
- Reunification with family members occurs, on average, after 8 months in foster care.
- When reunification cannot be achieved, a finalized adoption can be achieved, on average, after 21 months.
- Wesley Family Service’s foster program currently serves over 100 children and teens who are placed with over 60 certified resource families.
- Eleven children placed within Allegheny County were eligible for aftercare and Wesley Family Services was the identified provider for eight of these families.
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