Essay On Foster Care

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Foster care is one of the oldest social systems, its official implementation dating back to 1909, when the federal government officially suggested that foster homes were the best way to care for children, as opposed to the former system of orphanages and orphan trains. Foster care began as a voluntary way for parents to ensure their children could live a better life, but has since become a largely involuntary way to remove a child from a potentially dangerous situation (Rosenfield et al., 1997). Social workers predate this system, first appearing within the first Charity Organization as “friendly visitors” in 1877 (Segal, 2020). Social workers and foster care have long been intertwined, but social policy dictates much of what the foster care …show more content…

As of the late 90s, over 50% of children in the system are placed in the home of a relative, which has proved to have beneficial results compared to an unknown foster home (Rosenfield et al., 1997). According to Altshuler and Gleeson (1999), the child welfare system has two main goals: permanency and safety. Encompassed in these goals are the jobs and life's work of hundreds of social workers. Permanency implies a longstanding place of residence for children, whether this be through reunification or adoption by a foster family. Safety being a priority reveals the unfortunate truth that sometimes, the child’s biological family will not be the right option for the child. As it stands, the foster system seeks to achieve these goals, but it falls short in many ways. Alumni of the foster care system are more likely to develop mental and physical health issues (Kessler et al., 2008). A factor in this fact is the lack of support that alumni receive once they have aged out of the system. The age adults are able to leave the foster care system is 18 in some states and 21 in others. However, these former foster children are typically not given adequate support once they have aged out, and are mostly not prepared with resources and information for life on their own, outside of the child welfare system. Even with the implementation of the Chafee Act in 1999, doubling …show more content…

Social workers are in a unique position within the child welfare system. While some tenured social workers do work within the political realm, most social workers are consistently face-to-face with clients and their families. This is true also for caseworkers in the foster care system. When policy is enacted by a federal or state government, it is put into action by “street-level bureaucrats,” or practitioners that have direct interactions with clients (Segal, 2020). In this regard, social workers have the most influence over if and how a policy is enacted on the “street

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