Problems in Alaska’s foster care system
A marked shortage of licensed families whose homes are open to children, teens and even legal adults who are part of the foster care system is becoming more evident, according to advocates, who maintain they are dealing with trying to house more foster kids as…
“Right now, we’re at the point where we’ve lost the bottom building block which is, we have no foster families for children,” said former Rep. Les Gara, who served in the Alaska Legislature for more than 15 years and has also been working for a long time to expand on the rights and available assistance for foster children. “I mean, of all the other things these children are facing, could you imagine being a foster youth?
“That’s where we are right now,” he added. “In crisis.”
The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said in an email Tuesday that the Office of Children’s Services “is experiencing a lower number of licensed foster homes than what it typically has,” noting that this past April alone, 76 licensed foster homes either closed their licenses or allowed their licenses to expire.
The department also said that as of Tuesday, OCS has 922 licensed foster homes, and another 469 homes are licensed through child placement agencies.
Additionally, “there are no connections directly linking the lack of foster homes to the COVID-19 pandemic,” department spokesperson Clinton Bennett wrote in an email…
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