All children need a safe, nurturing environment and support system to protect and guide them. Unfortunately, not all children in our nation have access to this support. Women In Government, alongside the Annie E. Casey Foundation is dedicated to informing policymakers of options that ensure children achieve their full potential and have lifelong connections to a caring, nurturing family.
What can policymakers do?
In order to ensure the accumulation of social networks that can aid in healthy development and increase stability and permanency for children, there are several things policymakers can do. The Annie E. Casey report, “Social Capital: Building, Quality Networks for Young People in Foster Care,” suggests:
• Ensure that all systems serving emerging adults give young people opportunities to develop relational competencies—the skills needed to form and maintain healthy relationships and to continue to build family relationships and networks.
• Reduce disparities related to race, gender, age, and ethnicity in the child welfare system.
• Make school stability a priority. The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 requires that states keep children in the same schools when they enter foster care unless it is not in their best interest to do so. It also requires that child welfare and education agencies and the courts to make all efforts possible to keep young people in their original school. It is through school stability that young people sustain important sources of social capital in their lives.
• Build community programs for youth where they can establish and maintain connections with positive role models and organizations that support their healthy development. After-school programs as well as state non-profit partnerships, can establish and promote programs for youth that keep them active, learning, and motivated to achieve their full potential.
• Provide supports that enable young people to participate in a range of social and faith-based events. These supports can be concrete, such as transportation to events, and abstract, such as establishing flexible expectations of a young person so that he or she can have a part-time job, spend time with friends and family, and take part in community activities.
• Increase the number of child welfare systems that adopt next-generation technology and data systems to support more effective services and systems reforms.
You can access sample legislation on Child Welfare issues here.
Women In Government prioritizes the healthy development of today’s children, understanding this investment will safeguard a stable economic future. Below is a list of helpful resources concerning child welfare, community, and permanency.
The Casey Foundation's Investment in Child Welfare/Permanence. http://www.aecf.org/OurWork/ChildWelfarePermanence/ChildWelfarePermoverv....