In an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, University of Baltimore School of Law Professor Daniel L. Hatcher says that the State of Maryland may soon be enacting positive changes in the realm of foster care—and there is plenty of room for improvement.
Prof. Hatcher says that Maryland’s foster children are legally entitled to funds intended for their care. But some funds are routed by the state from these children directly into services—services that the state is obligated by law to pay. Foster children end up paying for their own care; as they age out of the child welfare system, they have fewer resources to help them as young adults.
“[I]t’s important to remember that we are all interconnected,” Hatcher writes. “When a foster child is not able to successfully transition to independence—and becomes incarcerated, homeless, unemployed, or in need of further public assistance—we all pay the cost.
“Rather than taking the children’s resources, child welfare agencies could help foster children use their own funds to help prepare for the difficult transition to independence: saving their funds for college costs or vocational training, to purchase specialized tools or equipment for work, to help pay future rent or to purchase a car—now virtually a necessity for independent living—or conserving the funds for the countless other expenses the children will encounter.
“Luckily for our state’s foster children, Del. David Moon and Sen. Richard S. Madaleno sponsored legislation this year that takes an important step toward improving protection of foster children’s resources.”
Learn more about Prof. Hatcher.