I want to pass on an article in today's New York Times by Erik Eckholm about the alarming amount of time children are waiting to be placed with kinship families while interstate background checks are performed.
The potential damage done by not placing foster children expeditiously with available relatives is too great to allow the current status quo to continue. Eckholm writes, “Minimizing moves and placing children with a qualified parent or relative are bedrock principles of child welfare.” The safety of a home should always be checked before placement, but holding children in care unnecessarily long could prove to be more damaging than originally thought. As I talked about in this blog earlier a few weeks ago, A new study, published in the June issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found substantial benefits for children placed in kinship care through increased stability and fewer behavioral problems. The research also revealed that these benefits diminished if the child waited substantial time before a placement with a relative. While states and the administration haggle over a fix they should not forget that their indecision places vulnerable children in additional jeopardy.