Although the number of abused and neglected children increased over the past 4 years, many of those children are being supervised by relatives or are living in their own homes. That number has increased by 38%, meaning there is less disruption for the children. With government agencies being more and more aware of the negative impact and the trauma that being separated from families causes children, more attention is being given to finding relatives who can safely and lovingly care for Pennsylvania’s children.
Keeping children in permanent homes is a priority. When children live in the foster system without being returned to their birth homes or adopted, they are at higher risk for many negative experiences and outcomes. Since the turn of the century, more than 230,000 kids have “aged out” of foster care. This represents a large population of people who haven’t been given the life skills necessary to support themselves. These kids then, are much more likely to have a difficult life. In fact, 20% of those who age out become homeless; nearly half do not graduate from high school. Nearly three-fourths of the young women who age out are pregnant by age 21, and only half of both males and females are employed by age 24.
Although the first objective is to keep children in a safe environment with their birth relatives, often that isn’t possible. And so, more and more loving foster homes are needed–not just in Pennsylvania, but everywhere.