A new state reports that the state is still failing the children in foster care. There are a few areas that they have talked about changing things. Some totally make sense and should have happened long ago, while other changes could be a step back instead of improving.
First major area of concern is the high caseloads, burnout and high turn over with their caseworkers. Caseworker caseload involves 20 to 30 cases per worker. I do believe the caseload is too high due to the amount of work involved with each child. I do know that other states have caseworkers with a caseloads as high as 60 cases for one worker (totally crazy).
Their solution for this problem is to hire more than 250 workers that would also be dedicated finding foster children permanent homes. Now 6,000 foster children are wards of the state parental rights have been terminated and they are waiting for a forever home. In 2004, 3,543 foster children were considered un-adopted and in 1986 there were 1,716. Sadly the numbers of children needing adoptive homes just continue to increase every year.
Chief Wexford County Probate Judge Kenneth Tacoma blames this increase on 1996 changes in state law that he contends forced a “rush to termination” of parental rights, creating more “legal orphans.”
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan has formed a working group to respond to the problem. They will be looking to slow down the time it takes to terminate the parent’s rights, also the judges will be able to place the children in legal guardianship.
Hmmm…..kind of sounds familiar. Strange this does not sound like an improvement, it sounds like we are going back to children spending years and years waiting for their parents to get it together. Yes, I do understand that there is a lack of foster and adoptive homes. Why are we not looking for solutions for this problem instead of giving up on the children?