04/20/2006 - "Every day, when I would come home from school, I would check to see if my bags were packed," one former foster youth poignantly recalled. Approximately 85,000 children are in foster care in California; too many experience this type of heart-wrenching insecurity.
Nationwide, children remain in foster care for an average of three years, and live in at least three placements. They are often separated from friends, family and all that is familiar; not surprisingly, their schooling, and physical and mental health suffer. When you view the foster-care system through the eyes of a child, the need for reform is abundantly clear.
Court reform is central to this effort as courts play a critical role in the lives of foster youth. No child enters or leaves foster care without a judge's say-so. Courts decide whether children should remain in foster care or may safely return home, where they will live and how often they will move from placement to placement, whether they will see their siblings and other family members, and when they will leave the system. These decisions forever alter the lives of vulnerable children and their families.
Read the rest of the op-ed by Carlos R. Moreno, associate justice of the Supreme Court of California, on the San Francisco Chronicle site--A Call to Action on Foster Children