Children in Foster Care Institutions:

Steps Government Can Take to Improve Their Care

HRD-77-40: Published: Feb 22, 1977. Publicly Released: Feb 22, 1977.

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The federal government provides funds to states for foster care of children who receive unsuitable care at home by placing the children in either foster family homes or child-care institutions.

State and local agencies responsible for the placing and care of foster children in child care institutions did not always provide required social services to the children and their families, sometimes paid rates to institutions which were based on unallowable and/or unreasonable costs, and did not make sure that physical conditions and services at the institutions were satisfactory. State officials believe the program scope has changed to include children placed primarily because of mental or delinquency problems. Excessive case loads and insufficient staff prevented required services from being regularly provided. Lack of specific guidelines and criteria to which placing agencies can be held accountable primarily caused these problems.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: There should be increased interactions between the child-foster parent-caseworker, with a minimum of semi-annual visits to institutionalized children. More specific guidelines are needed for getting expense rates and judging reasonableness of foster care costs. Closer monitoring of licensing standards and facilities is necessary. States should require documentation of services and assessments of children's progress to the placing agencies, as part of the six-month review of placements. Congress should look at the expansion of federally funded Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, which may go beyond the scope originally contemplated by Congress.


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