With Parents Absent, Trying to Keep Child Care in the Family

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Ian Urbina

07/23/2006 - Kali Ward is just glad she can finally go to slumber parties.Now that she is out of foster care, the sociable 17-year-old no longer has to get a criminal background check on her friends' parents if she wants to sleep over.

"People make plans same day," said Kali, a cordless phone in one hand, an afternoon waffle in the other. "Background checks take weeks."

Under the legal guardianship of their grandmother, Kali and two of her siblings left such worries behind last year with help from a city program that focuses on moving children from foster care into permanent homes with grandparents or other relatives.

States struggling to fill a void left by parents lost to drug addiction, AIDS and incarceration are increasingly using such programs to deal with the rising costs of foster care. Thirty-eight states have such programs, more than half of them initiated in the last five years.

Now, Congress is considering legislation to finance the programs, correcting what some advocates call a perverse system that provides much more support for children in foster care than it does to get them out of the child welfare system.

Go to the full article on the New York Times Web site--With Parents Absent, Trying to Keep Child Care in the Family.

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