Faced With a Failed System: Governor McDonnell Leads the Way to Fix Foster Care System in Virginia

30 Jul

Governor McDonnell Discussing Ashlie Mae O'Brien

Governor McDonnell Discussing Ashlie Mae O’Brien

Today Governor Rob McDonnnell came to Northern Virginia to urge a fix to the foster care system, to reduce the number of children in the foster care system.  Included among the ideas presented to the Governor was a Richmond task force review of each child in foster care, which would include contacting each of the children and their families, and where feasible to have the child returned to his or her family if that is the child’s desires.   This would be done without the intervention of the local DHS because of their inclination and bias to not reverse their earlier decision to push for adoption.   The case of Ashlie Mae O’Brien was used as an example of how the system has failed and where this return system is most needed.   The Governor showed much interest in this idea to help fix the system and get Virginia off the list of the worst states in terms of its foster care system.

The sad facts the audience of 250 at Farifax Government Center heard today were that:

  1. most children available for adoption are, like Ashlie Mae O’Brien, over the age of 10 and about half are part of a sibling group,
  2. for every 100 kids who age out of the foster care system, 54% have unstable housing or become homeless and 94% of foster youth will not graduate college,
  3. there are about 4,000 children, like Ashlie, in Virginia’s foster care system, and more than 30% are in Northern Virginia, including Arlington.
  4. about a 1000 of these children are ready for adoption right now.

#VAAdopts

VA Adopts Event in Fairfax #VAAdopts #Campaignfor1000

The financial payout for adopting eligible children with “special needs” are:

  1. a monthly payment to help meet the child’s basic needs,
  2. health insurance through Medicaid,
  3. payments up to $2,000 for expenses directly related to the adoption (e.g, attorney fees)
  4. Federal Adoption Tax Credit
  5. Negotiated payments for services (e.g., behavioral and mental health services to help meet the child’s special needs that cannot be covered through other resources)

Notably other local counties were represented at the meeting, however there was no one from Arlington.

Ashlie Mae OBrien Family

Ashlie Mae OBrien Family

 

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