Focus on foster care in Pa. yields falling numbers
HARRISBURG — A six-year effort by the state court system and child welfare agencies has reduced by a third the number of abused or neglected Pennsylvania children in foster care or similar settings, a process that officials say has improved the lives of some of the state's most vulnerable residents.
The number of dependent children placed in temporary care fell from 21,400 in 2006 to 14,100 at the end of March, figures released this week by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts show. The numbers dropped 44 percent in Allegheny County, home to the city of Pittsburgh, and 35 percent in Philadelphia.
“At one level, it's absurdly simple,” said Supreme Court Justice Max Baer, who helped begin the push seven years ago with the help of federal grant money. “It's identifying individuals — competent individuals — who will take responsibility for these kids day in and day out, and will help raise these kids.”
Officials say a number of systemic changes are behind the numbers, as more than half the state's counties are participating in a program, known as the Permanency Practice Initiative. The strategy involves bringing in a wider number of family members and others who care about the child, helping families make decisions as a group and making reviews by judges more frequent, every three months.
The program includes training for judges, lawyers and child welfare workers in trauma, grief and family development.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Republican legislator estimates selling state liquor system could net $1B
- 1 dead in New Castle house fire deemed suspicious
- Poconos-area man who helped subdue gunman among Carnegie Heroes
- Philadelphia police commissioner urges caution after shootings of officers
- Liquor Control Board, Pennsylvania universities target problem drinking
- Licensing boards increase fees to cover costs that include investigations
- Reading deals with ‘ugly’ tree saga
- PSU employee kicks cancer, picks up degree
- Secret Santa saves the day for York County senior center residents
- LCB ruling could mean home-delivered beer in Pa.
- State lottery scratch-off tickets bring instant cheer as holiday gifts