It Takes a Family

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

Author: San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Staff

02/25/2007 - FOR ALL of the rhetoric about "family values" in American politics, the federal government certainly puts up a lot of obstacles to allowing foster youth to live with their family members.There are many reasons why the government should be helping relatives -- most typically grandparents -- who are willing to open their homes to a child whose parents are either unwilling or unable to provide a stable home. Various studies have shown that young people in a relative's care fare far better in life -- as measured by education, employment and incarceration rates -- than those who are bounced from placement to placement in the foster-care system. Also, those relatives are far more likely than a stranger or a group-home "parent" to continue emotional and financial support when a youth becomes 18.

"You 'age out' of a system, but you don't age out of a family," observed Donna Butts, director of Generations United, a national family-advocacy group that has been pushing for reform of the federal foster-care rules.

Read the full article at the San Francisco Chronicle Web site.

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