Virginia foster care statistics and outcomes for 2019
How did VA do in 2019 with DSS Foster care outcomes
Foster Care Statistics for 2019 For Virginia DSS
Virginia Foster Care Statistic statistics for 2019 show that Virginia is still struggling with the disproportionally high need for Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) homes for children ten years old and above. In this last year, the number of children in Foster Care in Virginia has increased from 5339 children in January 2019 to 5577 in December 2019[i].
How did VA do in 2019 with DSS Foster care outcomes?
With over 5,500 children in foster care in Virginia, ten years and older children account for over half of the children in Foster Care throughout 2019[ii]. Virginia faces a chronic situation with the commonwealth assisting the children within this category. It is faced with a challenge when it comes to ten years old and above, and the use of treatment foster care is high for foster care and adoption services when looking at other states.
The difficulty of this age group can be lessened with the help of foster families to act as mentors while providing them with a stable home to grow. Virginia is ranked 50th for the worst discharge for children in therapeutic foster care. Over 60% of foster youth fail to join the adult community without finding themselves in a homeless situation or incarcerated in the first two years of aging out of the Foster care system[iii].
It is not hard to imagine why these youths fail so quickly after they age out of foster care. They have experienced no reliable connection to healthy adults, and their biological family struggles with their own lives. A child in Foster care may be frustrated and distrustful of the court system and the local Department of Social Services (DSS).
This could lead to resistance when first put in a family home for young people and impact child welfare and mental health. However, this will ease as they learn to trust that you have their best interest in mind, and secure attachment bonds can form; this can be helped by keeping sibling groups together.
The relationships formed will help them in their work, and personal lives as ties with people will become more permanent as they open themselves to it with your help. These connections will also allow them to have more meaningful, healthy relationships.
Many children are removed from their homes between the ages of 13 years old through 15 years old and may be placed in a traditional foster care home. This is where most teens in foster care will be placed if possible, even if behavioral health is needed to support the teen if approved by the Virginia department of social services and the county local offices.
This period in a child's life is significant and volatile during development, without the added stress of being removed from their home. The reasons for being removed typically consist of neglect, the most common reason for removal, their parent's drug abuse, or a type of abuse on the child. Most children in Foster Care have more than one placement after being removed from the home[iv]; however short term, they may be in foster care and away from their birth parents.
About one-third of the children leaving foster care will return to their parent's custody[v]. However, about 14% of those children in Foster Care are removed more than once from their own homes[vi].
These circumstances strengthen the appeal to the child of being in their apartment with no rules and the freedom to make their choices even if a youth may need to attend a support group. They are entirely in control of their lives for what could be the first time, and some need more guidance to protect and keep their space healthily and beneficially for themselves.
They do not understand how much emotional and personal support a family gives every child who is becoming a young adult. 84% of young adults ask for help from a parent with just general living expenses in financial matters, with 70% needing help with an apartment. Going from a dependent to an independent is challenging enough outside of the foster care system. Once they come of age, they are alone in figuring out the challenges of how to exist in society positively.
All young adults must learn to navigate; however, many have grown up loving and supporting families who can receive guidance and advice from their parents. Children who come into Foster Care may not have a reliable adult to ask for help or deal with past trauma they have experienced while growing up.
One overlooked area is the emotional support needed in the journey to adulthood. 36% of the teenagers in Foster Care may have more independence. However, it does not mean they have outgrown the need for love, support, and guidance provided by Foster Parents as they navigate early adulthood[vii].
A foster child may have had minimal exposure to a successful adult. So your gift of showing a child that hard work and respect pays off is essential to a child-safe transition. To succeed, the best way to help your future foster child with many skills is to give them the time to mentor them. To show them what adulthood can be like and the possibilities in the world for them; they are so young with their whole lives ahead of them.
It is well known that the best way to encourage a behavior is to show by example. Psychology has shown that children will mirror behavior they have seen exhibited by someone of authority. Positive reinforcement is also constructive in encouraging a child's behavior.
It is essential to show them that there are people who want to help them become better and allow them to discover their full potential. As well as giving them a safe space to explore their interests and talents.
There are small things that you, as a future Foster Parent, could do to help a child develop and encourage these skills. For example, if a foster child needs to get to an interview, you can give them a ride, ensuring they arrive on time and take that added stress off. You could also help them practice their interview skills and give them a better chance at success.
This will increase their confidence and give them an essential experience for their future when they move into the world independently. Another simple way is by helping them look over their resume, correct simple errors, and support them as they go through the process.
Supporting them in this process will make them feel it did not go well, or praising them or doing something such as a celebration if it has gone well. Foster Children deserve and should be given the support they may not have experienced while growing up and could be the person they need. Creating a bond with someone helps them see their potential, helps their self-esteem and self-worth, and lowers their chances of making wrong decisions later in life.
All these simple acts can show a child they are supported and encourage them to do certain behaviors, such as putting themselves out there to find a job or being respectful to others, which will help them be successful in the future. These are typically things in our lives, but children who have grown up depending on themselves struggle to trust authority and have not had the same experiences when younger.
This is an opportunity for them to learn before turning 18 years old. What it will be like to be supported, help them create a better future for themselves, and not make the same mistakes their parents or other carers may have caused. As a foster parent of a young teen to a teenager, your guidance is immense as they desire stability and direction, and you can give them that with your time and commitment.
FosterVA is working hard to locate and find more experienced adults. They have room in their heart and home to allow an older child to find a long-term connection to our community. With the Federal government moving away from group care and pushing more children into kinship care or foster families, the need for a higher level of support and more vigorous training is essential.
When looking, you are researching how you can help a child who requires a place to stay, always consider how you are equipped personally to handle a child or teenager. You may have many skills that can be transferred to the TFC child.
Your ability to run your life and that of your family is a significant step. Holding a job and having the ability to help others is also a sign that the child can trust you. You can make a difference in a child's life, helping increase their chances and quality of life for the future. We all work hard to make every child in Foster Care a success, but we need you to be the light in a specific child's life.