GRANDFAMILIES OF AMERICA, INC. PUBLIC POLICY STATEMENT ON NOTIFICATION
GrandFamilies of America, Inc. advocates for the value of family relationships and believes whenever possible; a child should be raised by their parent. But, when that is not possible, we believe a relative is the best placement for a child to maintain their family ties and heritage.
Relative placements can meet a child’s need for safety and well-being, and offers permanency when reunification is not possible. Placements with relatives result in more contact between the child/children, other siblings, and extended family. Relative placement provides stability, as children placed with relatives experience fewer placement disruptions than children placed in stranger care.
Keeping the child within the family gives the child the opportunity to participate in family holiday celebrations and family traditions. They will also have reassurance that their family did not abandon them, thus PRESERVING FAMILY TIES AND HERITAGE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. Children placed in relative care have a sense of belonging, a connection to their culture, and family identity, which is vital to the child’s psychological development and emotional well-being.
To ensure relative care is the goal for out-of-home placement, it is necessary to legislate for strong notification laws in all state Family Law Statues across the country with stiff penalties for noncompliance. This could be accomplished in an expeditious manner if Federal notification legislation were passed, thus making it mandatory for all states.
Grand families save society in many basic ways. Not only is keeping children with their biological families the common sense thing to do, it is the moral and right thing to do. Below are some glaring facts to support this.
v Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United, quoted in a recent publication that “relative caregivers in the informal foster care system save the country over six billion dollars a year.
v Relative caregivers outside the system have to pay their own legal and court costs, which also save the country significant amounts of money.
v Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Blatz has said that 95% of our prison population had some form of contact with the formal foster care system.
v This results in a heavy burden for taxpayers for housing prisoners, their court costs, legal fees, shelter, food and significant crimes on society.
v There is thereby a tremendous loss to society of potential productive workers and citizens. “Children age out of foster care – Children do not age out of family”
Policy Statement on Foster Care Reduction
GrandFamilies of America, Inc. believes that all children deserve a safe and permanent home. We further believe that the most vulnerable children are those at risk of being placed in state, non-relative foster care. Available research indicates that children are being placed in disproportionate numbers in state care vs. relative care.
GrandFamilies of America's platform has always been that the best interest of the child can be accomplished by promoting;
a.) Front end services to prevent the removal of children from the biological parents.
b.) Notification and placement with extended family members when it is found they are available and qualified.
c.) Reunification with the biological parents when possible.
d.) Only as a last resort should state non relative foster care be pursued.
We join Casey Family Programs with their 2020 Vision of reducing foster care by 50% by the year 2020.
GrandFamilies of America, Inc. believes that the number of children in foster care can be reduced while strengthening families.
Our mission of Preserving Family Ties & Heritage for Future Generations can best be met by keeping families together.
Therefore, we strongly encourage changes in the Child Welfare System to reduce state foster care placement outside of the family.