Foster care population declines in Pennsylvania
By Bill Zlatos
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Pennsylvania did a better job of keeping youngsters out of foster care last year, but child advocates want to ensure that the state does not cut services that help keep kids at home.
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, a nonprofit child advocacy group in Harrisburg, on Wednesday released its 2012 State of Child Welfare report.
“The biggest takeaway in this report is that we are doing things in the child welfare system to effectively decrease the number of children entering foster care and decrease the overall foster care population,” said Mark Race, spokesman for the group.
The number of children from birth to age 20 in Pennsylvania who are in foster care declined from 24,229 in 2010 to 22,443 in 2011, a 7.4 percent decrease, according to the report.
Race credits the decrease of youths in foster care to the availability of in-home services such as counseling and visits from a nurse practitioner.
“If you're a new parent, a single mom, you may not know how to cope with stress. In-home services help parents and identify issues that could grow into neglect and abuse,” he said.
Race noted that the data does not cover 2012, when the child sex-abuse case involving former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky dominated the news and raised awareness of the issue.
Race said his group is concerned that state officials dealing with Pennsylvania's financial problems might be tempted to reduce in-home services.
“What we're saying is that's a losing proposition,” he said.
Race praised Allegheny County's benchmarks. The number of children here whose families received in-home services rose from 14,769 in 2010 to 17,695 in 2011. That's an increase of 20 percent.
During that period, the number of children whose families received such services throughout the state declined from 168,821 to 164,842.
The number of children in foster care in Allegheny County declined from 2,859 to 2,796 during the period.
In Westmoreland County, the rate of substantiated child abuse reports — those proven to be founded after an initial call — increased from 9 percent in 2010 to 11.8 percent last year.
Children whose families get in-home services dropped from 5,932 to 2,946 in Westmoreland. The number of children in foster care rose from 407 to 439.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Parking tickets spark outrage
- Postal Service pays $180K for unopened site
- Ailing Downtown August Wilson Center awaits rescue; no real estate offers yet
- Western Pennsylvania organizations team to find housing for vets
- Allegheny County Democrats endorse several incumbents in primary
- Context key to 2nd trial of Pittsburgh police officers in Homewood man’s arrest
- Newsmaker: Dr. Yoel Sadovsky
- Photo gallery: Swing for a Cure
- Trib’s Hiel honored for reporting on Coptic Christians
- FirstEnergy last to get smart meter OK
- Western Psychiatric clinic rampage victim’s parents seek answers, lawyer says