The current state of licensed foster families in the United States could be better, as there is a decrease in available homes. Licensing agencies must increase the capacity of licensing specialists to provide continuous support and simplify the licensing process to increase the number of licensed homes.
Our child welfare systems can feel like we are in a game of Jenga. We are attempting to grow and expand our systems by moving pieces one by one - while stretching our limited capacity. But with each move, the entire system risks collapse, particularly with worker shortages.
While it is wonderful to recognize the heroes during National Foster Care Month, we must also be aware of the realities of the foster care system and be willing to make a change. A change that will allow the heroes we celebrate to shine, unencumbered by complicated, outdated processes. If we take a glance through the lens of capacity, we will find a starting point so that we can do more good for children and families.
The goals associated with Family First are both noble and needed. If we do not fix our capacity crisis in child welfare, we may never see the results we hope to achieve.