A View of Foster Care from a Family Court Judge

The voices of foster children, parents, birth families and even social workers are well represented in foster care education and advocacy. In this show, however, host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, hears from a unique perspective: a family court judge. Karen Howze, former family court judge at D.C. Superior Court, talks about her experience with foster care from behind the bench.

Hit the Highlights
  • How has the Adoption and Safe Families Act tried to address the concern that foster care is a revolving door for kids and families and that kids spend years in foster care bouncing between families?
  • How has the Adoption and Safe Families Act played out in real life?
  • How much weight is given to the voices of foster parents in the family court process?
  • What information is most helpful to hear from foster parents about the kids in their home?
  • What factors does a judge consider in determining what is in the child’s best interest?
  • Is the focus usually towards reunification with birth family? Why?
  • It seems like so many caseworkers have huge caseloads and are not able to give the attention needed to individual kids. Why is this the case and is there any hope for improvement?
  • How much of a factor does race play in removal and reunification? Why are African American kids and other children of color disproportionately represented in foster care?
  • Why is so much money spent on attracting new foster families (advertising) when support services for current foster families is so severely lacking? Services such as daycare vouchers, respite care, transportation services, etc.
  • What are your thoughts on the trend towards privatization of adoptions and sometimes fostering out of Dept. of Social Services?
  • At what age should the child have a voice in what happens?
  • If you could make one reform to the foster care system, what would that be?

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Image Credit: Keith Robinson