FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 8, 2020
CHAMPS NY Statement In Response To State Of The State Address
New York State Has Opportunity to Dramatically Improve Its Current Standing as the Third-Worst In the Nation At Placing Foster Youth with Kin and Families
“We applaud Governor Cuomo for his commitment to serving children and teens in foster care statewide by instituting a kinship ‘firewall’ to ensure youth in care are placed with a family member or family friend whenever possible. This ‘firewall’ will guarantee counties exhaust all possibilities of kin-based care before placing a child elsewhere, which is proven to improve outcomes for young people in foster care. We urge the Governor and Legislature to keep this momentum going by expanding the Family First Transition Fund to $4.5 million each year for the next two years to aid counties’ efforts in support of kinship and ensure all youth in foster care have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Paige Pierce, CEO for Families Together in NYS and Kate Breslin, President & CEO of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy on behalf of CHAMPS-NY.
The national average for family and kin-based placements is 32%, New York State (outside NYC) lags far behind at a mere 15%. Research shows that children in family-based and kin care tend to do better than those in group homes or other institutional settings. Currently, programs like The Family First Transition Fund and Kinship Guardian Assistance Program focus on family first placement but lack the necessary resources to do so. In order to achieve greater placement of youth into permanent homes, and remedy some of the issues in the foster care system, CHAMPS NY has outlined a few solutions:
- Establish a firewall for kinship placements and increase accountability through a Foster Care Ombudsman;
- Restructure funding streams for KinGAP to expand counties’ capacity to find families for kids and institute improved training systems for close relatives to become kinship parents;
- Renew the Family First Transition Fund.
These proposals will pivot New York to being a state focused on family-based placements rather than congregate care options, provide sufficient resources required to place youth with kin and improve the number of children in family and kin-based care.
CHAMPS-NY is a statewide group of advocates and providers working to promote state policy and practice change that ensures that when children must enter foster care, they are placed into family-based settings whenever possible, and that their caregivers are supported so that children experience the best possible permanency and well-being outcomes.