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In Madison County, in August of 2022, there are roughly 760 kids in foster care. In the counties surrounding Madison County the numbers are significantly lower, such as in Delaware County, there are roughly 192 kids in care. Madison County has the 3rd highest number of kids under the supervision of the State. They are the highest in the s​tate for kids in state care compared to population, and based on the numbers in care vs. population could be the highest in the US. The children in foster care linger there for an excessive amount of time, on average, two (2) years or more. The removal of children from their homes has lasting effects. In fa​ct, multiple studies have shown that separating a child from his/her parents/family has detrimental, long-term emotional and psychological consequences that may be worse than leaving the child at home. Doctors say family separation yields “catastrophic” results, with the trauma of being taken from one’s parents having long-term effects on children’s brains. Over 13,000 mental health professionals signed a petition which states that “[t]o pretend that separated children do not grow up with the shrapnel of this traumatic experience embedded in their minds is to disregard everything we know about child development, the brain, and trauma.” The American Association of Pediatrics noted that family separation “can cause irreparable harm, disrupting a child’s brain architecture and affecting his or her short- and long-term health. This type of prolonged exposure to serious stress—known as toxic stress—can carry lifelong consequences for children.” This information, while disturbing, is not new. On average a child in foster care will be moved three times. This means the child will start a new school, new routines, and new everything. These kids often are the first to have a criminal history, substance abuse issues, and low high school graduation levels, more likely to find their children intertwined into the State child welfare system. We at the Family Solutions Center, Inc. believe it is our obligation to put provisions in place to ensure a child does not see foster care, and in those situations where there are no other options, we advocate for options that lead to the least amount of time in foster care. We try to approach the family in a holistic manner addressing the family’s needs, individually and as a unit. And where we fall short we work with a network of other agencies that have similar goals.

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