'Devastating Report' Highlights Poor Oversight of Virginia Foster Care Programs

December 12, 2018 AT 10:20 AM

By Michael Martz

Virginia does such a poor job of supervising local foster care programs that the state doesn’t have a list of foster parents currently in the system, according to a new legislative study.

The study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission finds that the state’s 120 foster care programs don’t do a good job of recruiting foster parents, especially relatives; working to reunite children with birth parents; or finding them permanent homes.

As a result, Virginia relies too heavily on institutional care that is often clinically unnecessary, as well as costly, while children in the system have trouble getting their medical and mental health needs met, according to the study by the General Assembly’s watchdog agency.

“This is a totally devastating report,” said Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax, one of 10 legislators who attended the commission meeting on Monday in snowbound Richmond.

“These are children we have taken from their families,” she said. “They are now our children. We have to take care of them as best we can, and that’s obviously not happening.”

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