The primary goal of foster care is to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable children. That being said, foster care can also have many negative consequences for the children. According to the document, “Meeting the Challenges of Contemporary Foster Care” by Chipungu and Bent-Goodley on the US Department of Health and Human Services website, the children who need to be in an out-of-home placement due to risks at home are already experiencing multiple stressors such as poverty, substance abuse, mental illness, physical illness and domestic violence. After they are placed outside the home, the experience can be emotionally traumatic. They may experience grief at the separation from or loss of relationship with their natural parents, anxiety while trying to adjust to a new environment, depression, aggression, withdrawal and educational challenges. It was noted that for some children, the process could impact the child positively.
Pueblo consistently lowered its out-of- home placements from 2007 through 2011, with a total decrease of 40% during that timeframe. The state of Colorado also experienced a downward trend, but had a smaller percentage of change. Colorado has a lower rate of out-of-home placements than Pueblo, however the gap between the Colorado state average rate and the Pueblo rate fell from 12.7 in 2007 to 5 in 2011.
Pueblo and the state of Colorado continued to lower their out-of-home placements in 2012. Pueblo had a larger decrease than the state of Colorado in 2012, dropping the gap between the Colorado state average rate and the Pueblo rate to under 4.
Colorado as a whole continued to have a rate decrease of out of home placements in 2013. Pueblo's rate of out of home placements increased in 2013 by two percentage points.
Definition: Number of children removed from their homes by the Department of Human Services per 1,000 children under 18. Out-of-home placements include family foster care, specialized group homes, residential child care facilities, independent living situations, foster care with relatives, residential treatment centers, detention, legal risk adoptions, medical care and both emergency and non-emergency placements in receiving facilities or shelters.
Data Source: Child Welfare Services Division, Colorado Department of Human Services. Data provided by Colorado Children’s Campaign, Kids Count Data Center
Data Considerations: The data above states the number of out-of-home placements, but do not list any factors that caused the decline of out-of-home placements. Additionally, the data do not show whether the decline has impacted children and families positively or negatively.