Monday, January 12, 2009
Recent data gleaned through a first-of-its kind analysis showed that Allegheny County Foster care was at its lowest level in 2008 in 19 years. The Office of Children, Youth, and Families Services out of the county Department of Human Services had 25 percent fewer children entering foster care through late June 2008, than it did in a similar period throughout 2007. Human Services Director Marc Cherna says its the lowest level he's seen during his 13-year tenure at the department. When he took the role of director in 1996, there were 3,088 children in foster care. At the beginning of 2008, only 1,959 children were in care. Cherna says he believes strong programming and support aimed at keeping children in their natural homes is the reason for the decline. He says that the decline in foster care is a good thing because children do better in their natural homes. The statewide goal is to reduce foster care numbers by 15 to 20 percent by next year.