Four potential fixes for Washington’s overburdened foster care system, including an unconventional suggestion by a foster youth who became a foster parent.
Washington’s shortage of foster parents to care for abused and neglected kids is so overburdened that kids who are shuffled among hotels and emergency placements often miss school, further compromising their chances to become successful adults.
Children entrusted to state care are bouncing between hotels and other emergency housing, victims of a severe shortage of foster homes.
End of the Line is a ongoing series by InvestigateWest asking what happens when teens get too old for foster care in Washington State. Our latest story, a multimedia collaboration with KUOW, looks at why getting teens enrolled in Washington’s new extended foster care program can be tricky.
There is a solution to the problem of “aging out,” but evidence on whether it works is scant. As legislators weigh the benefits with the predicted cost of scaling up the program to cover every young person about to age out of the system – including those with criminal records – InvestigateWest examines what happens what foster teens reach the end of the line.
Two bills now before the state legislature, including one that got a Senate committee hearing this week (SB 5405), seek to ease the rocky transition out of foster care in Washington by extending monthly benefits to age 21. Currently, nearly 600 wards of the state turn 18 each year with little in the way of a support network, and the results are no surprise: Former foster youth have off-the-charts rates of homelessness and post-traumatic stress.