02/14/2007 - The large caseloads facing Maryland's foster care workers drain their limited time away from providing crisis intervention and mental health and other support services for children and families in the child welfare system ("Maryland's foster kids need help now," Opinion • Commentary, Feb. 7).Nearly half the children living in foster care families in Maryland are in the homes of grandparents and other relatives.
Yet federal foster care funds cannot be used to support foster children who live with relatives if those relatives choose to become legal guardians and exit foster care.
As a result, many children remain in family foster care longer than is necessary.
If Congress helped relatives care for children by allowing states to use foster care funds to fund guardians, these families could get the financial assistance they need, social workers could spend more time where it is needed most and an estimated 20,000 children nationwide who are living in family foster care could leave foster care for permanent, loving homes with relatives rather than languishing in an overloaded foster care system.
Executive Director, Generations United