DHS raises pay rates to parents who foster older children

Philadelphia DHS older foster care
File photo. (Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro).

Tysheara Moore, now 18, has been in foster care under the Philadelphia Department of Human Services since she was 10 years old.

Though she is currently placed with her biological mother, Moore was for years shifted between group homes and institutions.

“It made me homesick,” Moore said.

“It made me feel like I didn’t have [anybody] there to help me. It just seemed like everybody left me with whatever stranger and it felt like I didn’t have anybody to turn to or talk to, there were so many new faces.”

May is National Foster Care Month, and DHS is mounting an aggressive campaign to improve experiences for Moore and the thousands of other foster children aged 14 and over, who comprise about half of the youth in the agency’s care and often go on to group homes or institutions.

“We want to change that,” DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose said Thursday.

“I believe we have a moral imperative to actively look for foster homes that serve older youth. They deserve a family setting.”

Due to what Ambrose says is an “especially urgent” need for foster parents to house youth aged 14 and up, DHS is offering a rate increase of $300 per month to families who take in older children.

“Most of the money will go directly to what the youth wants to do, things like prom, sneakers, school activities, trips – those types of things that are really important to adolescent development and normalizing the experience of kids who have been abused or neglected,” Ambrose said.

She said case notes will be checked on a monthly basis to ensure the money is being spent appropriately.

In an additional effort to raise awareness about the resources available to potential foster parents, DHS will on Thursday night held a town hall meeting in Hunting Park.

“This is just one town hall meeting in one neighborhood in Philadelphia,” Ambrose said.

“If we get the response I expect to get, we’ll be having additional town hall meetings to really go to parents and recruit for foster youths, because they deserve to be raised in the same environment I was.”

She further noted the importance of catering to the specialized needs of older foster children as they reach critical transitional ages so they don’t go on to commit crimes, become victims or suffer from mental health problems or drug addictions – fates foster children who go unadopted are statistically more likely to face.

“Youth who have been abused and neglected and are part of our system usually have a significant amount of trauma and are overwhelmed by almost everything and trying to fight to just to survive, so we know educational outcomes for youth in foster care are really bad,” Ambrose said.

“Education is key to success and we need to particularly support them around education, transitional housing, jobs – all those kinds of things which are hard enough for any youth who live in a regular family setting are even more difficult for foster youth.”

Moore said she’s a big supporter of the agency’s efforts.

“I think a lot of kids are going to be successful now,” she said.

“A lot of kids are not going to be in the streets doing violent things if they have positive things to do with themselves. I think it’s very wonderful to help them know there’s not just violence outside – there’s also success out there.”

Additional outreach

Recruiting more foster homes for older children is simply one component of a strategic plan DHS is undertaking to reduce the number of youth in congregate care and better serve the older population.

“Improving goals of children is a huge priority for this agency and something we’re putting a lot of effort into,” Ambrose said.

“One of the strategies is recruitment for foster homes for older youth, but there are many others.”

Some additional initiatives now underway include:

>> Hiring an Older Youth Coordinator, herself a former foster child, to oversee outreach and activities and provide input on best policies and practices to improve the treatment of youth in foster care.

>> Taking advantage of new federal legislation adopted by Pennsylvania that allows DHS to pay subsidies to foster children who opt to remain in DHS care after the age of 18.

>> Hiring a new coordinator to conduct expedited permanency meetings with all older youth to try to identify family members who can house them.

>> Offering older foster children job training, housing assistance, education services and life skills development through the DHS Achieving Independence Center.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.