Strengthening the System
(Adapted from Children Missing from Care: An Issue Brief, by Caren Kaplan)
Perhaps the single best place to dedicate prevention efforts is in improving the quality of foster care services. A multidimensional approach can address the child's needs before he or she begins the journey along the "missing continuum"--from the time a child is at risk of running, through the time a child has run repeatedly.
Developing and implementing an array of organizational, managerial, supervisory, and front-line practices, and ensuring that workers use them, can lessen the risk of running and keep the child safe, supported, and nurtured in care.
Quality assurances include but are not limited to the capacity and ability to
- provide adequate preparation for placement;
- offer sufficient placements to allow for ample selection that,
- optimally, is mutually acceptable;
- conduct quality risk assessment;
- triage problems as they arise, and promote placement stability;
- provide regular opportunities for visitation with family members, and increase visit frequency as indicated by assessment;
- visit and photograph children regularly;
- develop and provide formal guidance to foster parents and workers on strategies to prevent unauthorized absences from placement;
- provide personal safety training for all children in foster care;
- inform children and youth of risks of and alternatives to running;
- address the need for and availability and provision of services for children in care; and
- conduct a periodic census, by the agency, of children in placement.
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