Voices’ Blog

Promoting Better Outcomes for Kids in Foster Care

Posted:  -  By: Cassie Price

Voices has long championed public policies that improve outcomes for children in Virginia’s foster care system. For example, in 2015 we launched Fostering Health VA, a website that walks youth aging out of foster care through the process of registering for Medicaid to ensure they have free health coverage through age 26.

In 2016, we celebrated a big win when the General Assembly funded Fostering Futures, a program that extended supports for youth in foster care—such as housing, case work, and access to counsel—from age 18 to age 21.

Voices policy analyst Allison Gilbreath actively participates in a number of working groups seeking to help more children in the foster care system find permanent homes. Each year, some 500 children age out of foster care in Virginia without a permanent home, making Virginia dead last among states on its rate of achieving permanency for children in foster care. However, as more people become energized around this issue, that may change.

On the morning of Nov. 30, we joined many other advocates in celebrating the launch of Virginia’s Kids Belong (VKB), a nonprofit dedicated to uniting government, faith-based, creative, and business communities to end the adoption and foster care crisis in Virginia.

Speakers shared inspiring stories and challenged everyone present to work together to find solutions. VKB president Janet Kelly summed it up when she said, “How do we know that we’ve been successful? When we have more than enough foster families and when no child ages out of foster care without a family.”

Voices is eager to work with VKB and other partners on this important issue. We will continue to advocate for better outcomes for children in foster care. We also know the work we do in some of our other focal areas, such as mental health and trauma-informed care, are key to improving the foster care system.

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