Supporting Foster Care Youth on Capitol Hill

(August 18, 2023)

On July 28, 2023, our state partner, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (PPC) joined other organizations who are involved in the Journey To Success Policy Campaign at a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill. As a state leader, PPC was joined by several national organizations such as the Annie E Casey Foundation and Child Trends, state partners, and youth from 20 different states. Youth and young adults from around the country had the opportunity to lift up their voices by sharing their personal stories to highlight the policy improvements needed to promote permanency and adult stability.

The Journey to Success Policy Campaign looks to improve opportunities and outcomes for older foster care youth. To advance its goals of guiding federal policy reform, the campaign brings together a diverse network of local, state, and national organizations to share research, analysis, and a full range of perspectives with policymakers. Youth leaders with lived experience in foster care are involved in every aspect of the campaign. PPC’s specific role is promoting state and federal policies in the area of nurturing family ties and promoting permanency. They specifically discussed the work being done in Pennsylvania regarding increasing kinship care as a placement option, but also looking at ways to keep youth connected to siblings, relatives, extended family, and their natural communities. PPC also discussed the need to support kin caregivers throughout the placement process to avoid placement disruption and promote increased permanency stability.

This work is vital for children and youth involved in the child welfare system. When children are removed from their homes and families, this undoubtedly causes trauma to them. If they have to be placed with strangers, this exacerbates the trauma. If they can be placed in the homes of kinship caregivers, this can significantly reduce the effects of trauma. This also affords them the opportunity to maintain their natural connection to their communities and cultures. Data also shows that kinship care has the potential to provide better safety, well-being and permanency compared to traditional foster care.

As Allies for Children continues to create our own child welfare policy agenda, we are extremely grateful for the work and leadership PPC provides in Pennsylvania. PPC has passionate and knowledgeable advocates who are committed to supporting children and youth in the child welfare system. We look forward to continuing to partner and collaborate with them to change the outcomes for these children and youth.

Heather Wilkes, Allies for Children Policy Director