Georgia’s Foster Care Youth See Improved Permanency Outcomes

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Photo by kellyhogaboomMore children in Georgia’s foster care system found permanent homes in 2012, according to the Georgia Cold Case Project’s (CCP) recently released 2012 report, which examined the permanency outcomes of young people who have been in the state’s foster care system for extensive periods of time.

The project, funded by Casey Family Programs (CFP) and supported by both the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services and the Supreme Court of Georgia’s Committee on Justice for Children (J4C), is an initiative that reviews the cases of children who have been in the state foster care system more than two years.

Using multiple criteria, including length of time in foster services and placement types, the CCP’s predictive model can pinpoint young people in the system likely to age out of care without finding a permanent home. With the model, the CCP last year identified more than 400 “cold cases” out of a statewide population of more than 7,500 young people. More than 200 of these children’s cases were reviewed as part of the CCP’s annual report on permanency outcomes.

The median age of children reviewed for the report was 11.6, with a nearly equal representation of genders and of African-American and white youth. Half of the children reviewed had been in foster services for at least three years, and nearly three-quarters had identified disabilities. About 93 percent of the cold cases involved children removed from a single parent home.

According to researchers, actively reviewing cases “appears to impact positive permanency outcomes.” The report found overall permanency outcomes last year were better than in the previous three years. Of the cases reviewed last year, 109 children were able to find permanent homes through adoptions, guardianships, kinship placement or reunifications. Of the children reviewed last year, 76 remained in foster services and 26 were emancipated. The findings note a dramatic improvement from 2011 when only 34 children attained permanency and 131 remained in foster services.

 

Michelle Barclay, assistant director of Georgia’s Administrative Office of the Courts

and one of the authors’ of the 2012 CCP report, said she would like to include more measures in next year’s report than just permanency outcomes.

 “We want to measure well-being, how the children are doing,” she said. “Thus, we are going to explore the CCP’s impact on health, education and visitation, in addition to permanency, going forward and work to include that in the 2013 report.”

Photo by kellyhogaboom | Flickr