07-09-2008, 08:53 PM #1
Fewer Children in Foster Care in NYC
The number of foster children in New York City is down over the last six years, but the amount of time they spent in care has gone up.
That is one finding in a report called “Homes Away from Home: Foster Parents for a New Generation,” which was released this week by The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and the Center for an Urban Future.
Among the highlights of the report:
Fewer Foster Children: There were 16,982 foster children in New York City in March 2008, a 40 percent decrease from the 27,981 children living in foster care in March 2002, according to data from the Administration of Children’s Services. Meanwhile, the median length of stay in the foster care system was almost a year (11.5 months) in fiscal year 2007, up from 6.9 five years earlier.
The Nixzmary Brown Effect: The number of complaints have jumped sharply since Nixzmary Brown’s murder at the hands of her stepfather in January 2006.
In fiscal year 2007, there were 64,190 reports of child abuse, a 28 percent jump from 2005 (when there were 50,251 complaints). Since then, A.C.S. reports the number has seemed to stabilized around that level.
Even as the number of reports jumped, a growing percentage of those complaints were substantiated by A.C.S. staff: 39.8 percent in fiscal 2007 compared to 33.6 percent in fiscal year 2002.
But the increase in child removals after Nixzmary Brown’s death created intense pressure to find foster homes, agency officials said.
Limited Stipends: The stipend that foster parents receive from the city has increased only slightly in recent years, the report said. The daily stipend starts at $17.52 and goes as high as $57.60 depending on a child’s age and level of need, though most children fall at the lower end of the spectrum.
A 2007 report by the group Children’s Rights estimated that New York should increase its daily stipend by 43 percent for families caring for children aged two and younger; 39 percent for those caring for kids aged 9 to 16; and 32 percent for families of those 16 and older. But observers say this would be a difficult time for the city and the state to raise stipends to help agencies attract and retain stronger foster homes. A $15-per-day increase for all foster parents would cost the government about $65 million annually.
Changing Demographics: Teenagers make up a larger percentage of the foster care system than just a few years ago, but the majority of new placements are young children. Nearly two-thirds of children placed in foster care in 2007 were 10 years old or younger.
Less Emphasis on Group Homes: The city has been shifting teenagers toward foster families and away from group homes. The number of foster children in group care has dropped over a third between June 2004 and March 2008, from 3,908 to 2,595.
The biggest shift has been among young teens — those 12 and 13 years old, according to government data. In contrast, 16- and 17-year-olds entering foster care are just as likely to be placed in group care as they were four years ago.
07-10-2008, 02:11 AM #2
Most of the NY kids taken from parents are probably living with grandparents and other relatives and not counted in this study. I wonder if they are getting $17-$57 per day for caring for the kids the same as foster parents. I get $2.73 per day for one grandchild here in Texas.
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