Monday, August 13, 2012

Getting foster children into early intervention programs

Wendy Wagner, a foster and adoptive parent, sent the following note to NFPA regarding early intervention programs for foster children:
"I would like to know how other communities around the country are handling discrepancies of the social workers not getting preschool-aged foster children into early intervention educational programs. 
These foster children are being 'pushed' into kindergarten, just because they are five, and having had NO preschool or other early intervention education! These foster children already have a 'full backpack' and then [when we] put them into kindergarten, not even knowing the basics, [we] are setting these children up for failure. 

'No Child Left Behind' should mean the foster care agency needs to advocate for these children’s early education. Get them signed up and entered into a program as soon as they arrive into care. 
It should be a more positive approach: 'Early Intervention Education for Every Child'! 
Thank you for the chance to voice my opinion on behalf of all the children."

What's your take? Have you experienced the same -- child welfare agencies not getting the children the services they need early on?

1 comment:

  1. In our area, CPS suggests children have ECI evaluations done. Any child under 3 can be assessed for free ( and Medicaid pays for the program up to 36 months. We also have certain elementary schools with Early Start pre-school programs for "low income" children (foster children get put at the top of any waiting list). Certain counties are quicker than others. I am fortunate in that my case manager, at the agency we are licensed with, submits all the referrals so that all I have to do is schedule an appointment time.

    As a foster parent, I have found that many case workers appreciate any "legwork" that a caregiver can help with as they may have very little time to devote to each case. For instance, I have set up bio family visits, phones calls, and emails so the kids in our care could communicate with their parents (and so the parents could communicate with us, the foster parents). It's always possible to ask the case worker for the information and offer to get things set up for the child or children in your care. Being a proactive foster parent has worked the best for me and my family.