Resolution for Foster Children

WHEREAS, 19,000 children are in out-of-home care in Washington State each year due to abuse or neglect, and 9,000 children are in out-of-home care on any given day; and

WHEREAS, There are now children in foster care who are third and fourth generation of their family to require out-of-home care; and

WHEREAS, 73% of foster children do not graduate from high school, yet legislation to fund pre-school for foster children stalled in the state legislature two years in a row; and

WHEREAS, Foster care alumni are at a much higher risk of depression, poverty, suicide, drug abuse, and crime; and

WHEREAS, Any disruption is inherently damaging to a child, and that the longer a child remains in out-of-home care, the greater the damage, including attachment disorders, aggression, insecurity, self-injury, low self-esteem, low self-worth, and depression; and

WHEREAS, The chance of successful family reunification drops to near zero after a child has been in out-of-home care for more than 15 months; and

WHEREAS, Washington State and Federal Law require permanency to be established after a child has been in out-of-home care for 15 of the last 22 months; and

WHEREAS, more than half of the 9000 children in foster care today have been there for more than three years, in direct violation of state and federal law and the best interests of the child; and

WHEREAS, the denial of the child’s right to permanency is systemic, damaging nearly every child that enters the system; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That foster care in Washington State is in crisis, and the current foster care system is unconstitutional based on the 5th and 14th amendments: the child’s liberty interest to due process and to be free from harm; and be it further

RESOLVED, We declare that children in foster care should be a funding priority; and establishing early permanency for them should be a policy priority.

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