Today in America, some 377,000 children are living in foster care, each child removed from their home, family and the network of caregivers, educators and other caring adults in their lives. This staggering number is also a measure of how we as a nation are faring in our responsibility to ensure that every child in every community has the opportunity to grow up in their own family connected to the people, places and cultures that will help them thrive.
This report shares examples of how communities are actively partnering with families to build the foundation of a better approach, how they are using new tools and approaches to better address the needs of families and children, and how they are investing effectively to ensure thriving families, safer children and supportive communities.
Engaging effectively with lived experiences.
The growing movement of Thriving Families, Safer Children
Broadening our lens from a focus solely on child protection to one of child and family well-being will require more than just improving our current approach to investigating and addressing maltreatment. It will require designing and building a new approach, one that draws on the commitment and talents of people across all five sectors of society: government, business, philanthropic, nonprofit and faithbased, and, critically, the families and children themselves.
The voices of those children and families, especially those whose lives have been shaped by their involvement with the child welfare system, have too often been left out of the discussions about how communities can improve, and ultimately transform, their approach to child and family well-being. That is beginning to change.
More and more, the voices of young adults who experienced foster care and the parents and families who overcame challenges and obstacles to stay connected to and raise their children are not only being heard in the discussion, they are being valued. They are moving into leadership positions to help other children and families draw on resilience, hope and support to heal and move forward toward a better future.