December 31, 2012
I was gratified to read your article on the strides Maryland has made toward reducing the number of children in foster care ("Nothing matters more … than a place to call home," Dec. 26). Every child deserves a lifelong family, no matter their background or needs. Therapeutic foster care has been part of Maryland's child welfare system since 1986, and it serves some of the state's neediest and most disabled youth. We are able to do so at a fraction of the cost of group care, and when we achieve permanency for youth who historically have been less likely to be adopted or reunified with their birth families, we save the state tens of thousands of dollars a year while giving children with special needs "forever families.
December 25, 2012
Devontay Hudson moved from one foster home to another for years, but last month he was adopted by a Millford Mill family - another symbol of a statewide initiative that has sharply reduced the number of children in foster care. The Gilman School sophomore, an aspiring chemical engineer, can't remember how old he was when he entered foster care, and doesn't know much about his birth family. But ask him about his adopted family and the soft-spoken teen says he's glad to be home. "It was a blessing for me to be a part of a family," said Devontay, 15, whose adoption increased the family of Ronald Wilkins and Demetria Jackson-Wilkins to nine members.
October 22, 2012
The boy did not want to take a shower. After being asked to wash up, the 10-year-old began throwing glass cookware in the kitchen, turned on the stove and started a small fire, according to state records. His foster father wound up in the hospital with chest pains. The violent incident in Wicomico County was one of several detailed in documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun as it investigated foster home violence that gained increased attention after a 2-year-old's death this summer.
September 4, 2012
The age of majority in Maryland is 21. That's when childhood and adolescence officially end. But just because a young person reaches that age doesn't mean he or she is prepared to undertake all the responsibilities of adulthood. And the difficulties faced by youths venturing out into the world for the first time are only compounded when they have grown up in foster care without a family to call their own. Few young people are really prepared to make their way independently at that age, even if they have been lucky enough to have loving parents, a stable home, a fine education and opportunities to participate in sports, social events and other activities.
August 26, 2012
Recently, The Sun reported about a new state initiative to prepare youth for life after foster care ("Preparing foster teens for life," Aug. 20). While helping children in foster care gain the skills they need as adults is good thing, the right thing to do is help them find a permanent family. At the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, we are doing just that. Our child-focused recruitment model, Wendy's Wonderful Kids (WWK), works for all children who are waiting to be adopted from foster care.
August 23, 2012
Shalita O'Neale and the Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center deserve much praise for their work to assist youth to prepare for life after foster care ("Preparing foster teens for life," Aug. 20). "Ready by 21" is just one of a number of initiatives implemented by the Maryland Department of Human Resources to improve its services to foster youth since Ms. O'Neale's time in care. Ms. O'Neale is also to be commended for publicly acknowledging that a group home provided much needed stability and helped her find herself.