EAGLE - There are well over 2,000 children in foster care in Idaho and according to State Rep. Christy Perry, “Foster children in Idaho have the worst outcomes of any child demographic in our state.”
Rep. Perry, along with a group of foster families, think Idaho can do better by these children and they are now calling for major reform to the foster care system.
Val and Brian McCauley are leading the effort as former foster parents who say their hope is to give children the voice they don’t have unless the people who know them best, their foster parents and guardians ad litem, are respected and their input given its proper weight.
The McCauleys have started a Facebook page - Idaho Foster Care Reform - and since Friday it has garnered many stories similar to theirs, expressing concern over the way decisions are made and carried out.
The McCauleys say people have been afraid to speak out in the past, but are now finding strength in numbers, and hope more will share their experiences to encourage legislators to vote for change.
They, along with Rep. Perry, want Idaho law clarified to restore judicial oversight of Health and Welfare decisions regarding foster children.
Second, they want a time frame established in which birth families must act to adopt. They say that way foster children won’t languish in limbo without the advantage of the bonding and attachment they believe is so necessary but often discouraged.
And third, they want some way of preventing foster children from being moved from foster home to foster home unless there is a compelling safety issue behind that decision.
The Department of Health and Welfare was not available Tuesday evening to comment on the proposed legislation, but said they will comment on Wednesday.