Thursday, November 13, 2008

Economic Crisis' Impact on Foster Care System

In the next few posts we are going to look at the impact of the current financial crisis and it's potential impact on the foster care system. America’s foster care system was in financially-bad condition even before the global financial crisis. Last fall the Washington Post reported that “in nearly every state… the cost of providing basic care for a foster child exceeds the government's foster-care reimbursement rate.” Collectively, states are reimbursed $5 billion per year towards annual foster care expenditures; a large but still inadequate number. Researchers at the University of Maryland, who conducted the study, factored in basic needs such as food and clothing. The ensuing subprime mortgage crisis and stock market crash and the resultant bail-out plans have likely halted plans for any future government increase in funding for children currently in foster care. According to the aforementioned Washington Post report, the only state that adequately covered the costs of caring for foster children was Arizona.

Over 760,000 Americans have lost their jobs in the last nine months, many of whom are either current or prospective adoptive and/or foster parents. The prices of basic needs such as food and transportation are steadily rising and tax hikes are expected for all income levels. In addition, 47 million Americans still lack health care and 400,000 face foreclosures. A 2002 study reported that for every 1,000 people who call a public child welfare agency, only 36 ultimately go on to adopt. With numbers like these, the future of America’s 130,000 foster children seems bleaker than ever.

No comments: