Contact: Charles Siler
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: POLL: FAMILIES AND CHILDREN IN NEED ARE BETTER SERVED BY CHARITIES AND COMMUNITIES
71% OF VOTERS WITH FOSTER CARE EXPERIENCE THINK PRIVATE OPTIONS ARE BETTER
A large majority of voters, and a majority of those with personal experience in foster care, prefer private charity care to government support for families in crisis, according to a poll released today by the Foundation for Government Accountability. The poll shows a majority of Democrats, independents, and Republicans have greater faith in community organizations to support disadvantaged families than the government.
While foster care is an important tool to help protect children who are abused, children who encounter foster care are far more likely to struggle than their peers who haven’t. Only half of all foster care kids graduate high school by the time they’re 18, and the FBI estimates that 60 percent of the children they rescue from sex trafficking had prior contact with foster care. This is part of the reason only 24 percent of voters feel foster care is an ideal outcome for helping children who are victims of abuse or neglect.
“Children who are being abused or neglected often find themselves caught up in a system with overworked social workers and overloaded foster families, compounding the trauma of being separated from their families as they slowly become a statistic,” said Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability.
“These children deserve better, and fortunately there are lots of people willing to help, as long as they are able to support struggling families in their communities without having to become part of a bureaucratic system. Local organizations have been connecting volunteer families for years and have universally better outcomes for families than foster care on nearly every measure.”
Over two-thirds of all voters, and 75 percent of those with personal experience in foster care, say they are willing to support their friends and neighbors in need outside of the foster care system, but only 14 percent of them said they are willing to be a foster parent. For those with personal experience in foster care, only 20 percent of them are willing to be a foster parent. There is a real opportunity for state governments to leverage their communities by empowering them to volunteer to help local families and hopefully address their temporary issues before any neglect or abuse occurs. By connecting local volunteers and those in need, social workers and the foster care system can be freed to focus on the most critical cases of abusive neglect, or physical or sexual abuse.
The poll was conducted during the last week of July, and the results can be viewed here.
To schedule an interview, please contact Charles Siler with Foundation for Government Accountability at (202) 487-8652 or [email protected]