By Ross Hunter, The Chronicle of Social Change, October 11, 2019
As a new leader in the child welfare space, I thought it would be worth my while to do some listening before I made any big changes. So I went on a tour all over the state of Washington. I talked to caseworkers, foster parents, birth families, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and anyone else I could find who had an opinion. I got an earful.
“Everything is broken.” “I had a great experience.” “The caseworker never called me back.” “My (foster) child was moved out of our house arbitrarily.” “I have emergencies to handle and some phone calls fall off my list.” I think I heard every side to every story. They all have some truth, and there are a lot of different experiences of the foster care system.
We have a foster care system because some children are in situations where they are just not safe. Our first step is to evaluate and figure out if we can do something to make the child safe. Would a crib enable a family to have the child sleep in a safe place? Would a parenting class, or drug treatment, or even just some help with rent make it work?