A new report from Alaska's government watchdog agency paints a picture of a state child protective services system stretched beyond its capacity, with disturbing consequences for children and their families.
The report, released last week by the Alaska Office of the Ombudsman, focuses on a tiny sample of the Office of Children's Services' staggering caseload. It details an extensive investigation into two separate complaints against one employee, a front-line caseworker in the Wasilla office, which has the highest caseload per worker in the state.
H.R. 2847 passed the House and is on to the Senate. This bill amends part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act to revise the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to:
authorize states electing to extend foster care eligibility up to age 21 to extend assistance and services to youths who have aged out of foster care but have not yet reached age 23, authorize redistribution of unexpended amounts among states that apply for additional program funds, allow states to make individuals eligible for participation in the educational and training voucher program through age 25 (but no more than 5 years), and modify congressional reporting requirements.
Landmark Federal Lawsuit Charges Missouri with Pervasive Failure to Monitor Prescription and Administration of Powerful Psychotrophic Medications to Foster Youth
The first class action lawsuit to shine a federal spotlight solely on the overuse of psychotropic medications among vulnerable, at risk populations – such as Missouri’s 13,000 children in foster care – the complaint alleges longstanding, dangerous, unlawful and deliberately indifferent practices by the defendants.
A special thanks to the Teamsters Local 959 for donating $2,000 to Facing Foster Care In Alaska from their annual charity golf tournament! Ever dollar donated to FFCA goes directly toward our efforts to empower foster youth and alumni to share their stories to promote change.
The Children Deserve a Loving Home Act would fix the most glaring problems in Alaska’s foster care system. The bill establishes caseload limits for caseworkers. Currently, the national standard of 12 cases per worker is exceeded in six of the Office of Children’s Services offices across the state, with caseload averages of 30 to 43 cases per worker. The bill seeks to fix the staggering 50 percent burnout rate for new workers by increasing training and limiting cases for new workers to 6 cases during their first 3 months and 12 during their first six months. Estimates show it costs the state $50,000 each time a new worker leaves in their first year on the job. The bill also seeks to decrease the number of activities foster parents need to get prior approval for, including taking foster youth on a vacation.
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Whether it's grabbing a bite to eat at Arctic Roadrunner or just catching up, Alec Kay and Robin Ahgupuk say they have much to be thankful for this year.
FFCA Members Take the Show on the Road
We've been busy! Last week our Interim Director, Sarah Redmon, was in Washington D.C. For the Annual Convening of the State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC). This week, our Statewide Rep., Becca Shier, traveled to D.C. For the Young Adult Consultant Training for the Capacity Building Center for States. Board member Gary Lose kept us up to speed in AK facilitating a Youth panel for foster Parents at AK Child & Family in Anchorage and Denali Family Services in the MatSu Valley.
Tribes suing OCS director and North Star seek quicker court oversight of foster children
Attorneys for two Southwest Alaska tribal governments presented oral arguments in state Superior Court Tuesday to seek a ruling that minor children can't be held at North Star psychiatric hospital unless a judge has been notified to schedule a hearing.
Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA) doesn't equal "independent living," and shows we are giving up on the effort to find permanency for youth in care.
"We wanted it to be a last resort, Over time, it has become an obstacle to reunification or adoption.”
Great interview by FFCA's Nathon Pressley. More youth and alumni are speaking out about the damage of unnecessary involuntary committment.