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October 2010Vol. 11, No. 8Using State Legislation to Reduce the Foster Care Population

A new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) outlines ways State legislation can promote safe reduction of the population of children in foster care and ensure that children have permanent families. In Legislative Strategies to Safely Reduce the Number of Children in Foster Care, author Madelyn Freundlich discusses how State lawmakers can affect the number of children in foster care with positive results for children, youth, and families by focusing on three areas:

  • Preventing out-of-home placement, including reentry into foster care
  • Reducing children's length of stay in foster care
  • Reducing disproportionality and disparate outcomes for children of color in foster care

The report discusses how lawmakers can support initiatives that foster the necessary collaboration to implement new practices and programs; assess outcomes; strengthen the courts and the child welfare system; and engage the community in achieving safety, permanency, and well-being for vulnerable children and youth. Examples of programs in specific jurisdictions are used to spotlight evidence-based and promising practices.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that provides research and technical assistance to State legislators and staffs. This report is available on the NCSL website: (2.85 MB)