I would like to start by saying that the article titled “Probation foster care as an outcome for children existing child welfare foster care” by Melissa Johson-Reid and Richard P. Barth written for the National Association of Social Workers and dated July 2003 speaks about the issues of foster care for children and the impact of it on children’s future lives. One learns that there is little research done on the topic of child foster care and issues such as juvenile probation and mental health of children.
One reads in the article that since the mid-1970s the foster care programs would pursue permanency for children and youths. The report stresses the fact that the stable exist from foster care will be the primary topic to be discussed together with the exit of children before emancipation to understand better how the foster care placement stability and permanence will be reflected in subsequent placement and probation-supervised care. One would analyze the demographics of children. The assumption the article makes is that child who leaves the welfare system before emancipation is likely to experience foster or group care in the future in juvenile justice or mental health agencies. One should understand that none of these facilities can be called a positive indicator of children’s development.
The juvenile probation departments often use foster homes for placing young criminals who committed a crime not severe enough to qualify for placement in the juvenile detention correction facility. Some children who do not have adequate conditions at home will be placed to foster homes to simulate the family-like environment and assure that children can mend.
One understands that it is virtually impossible to identify the youths who are in probation foster care houses since there is no accurate statistics. The federal and state figures provide the summary on the children placed in foster facilities as well as camps, mental health care facilities, and detention places. The most common probation foster or group care facility includes a six-bed community located in the rural or urban settings.
From the article one reads that despite a significant number of youths placed in the foster homes and other related facilities, not much research done on foster homes at present. I learned in California alone in 1995 over 4,600 children were placed to some probation –supervised foster care facility. Taking into account such high figures in other states one should certainly consider that topic more important and require additional attention. At the same time, the transition from child welfare foster care to probation foster care involves another set of concerns which requires competent analysis and thinking. The children in these foster facilities are considered high-risk children if placed in another public service sector including the education, mental health or juvenile justice. I understood that by proper analyzing the movement of children and their placement in the community will help social scientists develop the ways to accommodate these high-risk children and provide them with an appropriate opportunity to integrate naturally into the society. One reads the statistics regarding what percentage of foster care children after entering the community ultimately end up committing crimes or engaging in other illegal or asocial activity. There one also found out that placing children in family foster care is more than ten times as cheap as keeping them in organized foster care homes.
The article proceeds by explaining how theoretically foster care children end up comprising the high-risk group and provides psychological, biological, and social factors explanation.
The methodology of the article included the research of the group taken from the foster care houses in California children’s services archive. The archive was compiled for the state purposes and how would be used to analyze the large population of children placed in out-of-home foster care homes. The methodology includes a descriptive analysis of children placed in foster care from 1991 to 1995 of different ages, races, gender or mental states.
The audience of the article is both the foster care providers and the decision makers (politicians) who can influence the situation with the number of children placed in the foster care. This article points out some pertinent information on crime rates and the relationship between the children in foster care and the growing number of crimes in the society. The primary goal of such study as depicted in the article was to investigate the re-entry into foster care by looking at an exit from child welfare foster care and entry to probation foster care.
Speaking about some biases seen in the article I have to note that the article points out that children of color are more likely to enter the foster care facilities than white children. Upon exit from foster care, these children of color are less likely to experience reunification which in other words means that upon exiting foster care children of color get underrepresented in various statistics and research. Children of color are less likely to leave the foster care and have delinquent outcomes.
The article ends up by noting that multiple placement moves of children to foster care typically is related to entry into probation foster care, thus, the ability of foster care agencies to improve the living conditions and the environment for children is likely to reduce the number of these children who will end up in juvenile probation foster care. The improved services of the foster care are believed to improve the foster care environment of children and assure their ability to develop into healthy adults. The after-care services, if presented at the adequate levels, will help children to return home. For children who experience frequent changes of foster welfare facilities, it is necessary to provide appropriate assessment and supportive services to reduce the number of adverse outcomes for these children.
Melissa Jonson-Reid; Richard P. Barth., Probation foster care as an outcome for children exiting child welfare foster care. National Association of Social Workers Social Work, July 2003 v48 i3 p. 348(14)
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