Browsing University of Alaska Anchorage by Subject "foster care"
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The Growing Number of Alaska Children in Foster Care, 2011-2015The number of Alaska children in foster care was up sharply in 2015, with the average monthly number jumping more than 20%. We don’t have the data to document why the number went up, but state officials have said it might be partly because the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) is investigating more cases and taking more aggressive measures to protect children and avoid another spate of child deaths, as happened in 2014. Recent news reports also point to increased abuse of heroin among parents as potentially contributing to more child abuse and neglect.
Kids Count Alaska 2005Over the past 15 years, Alaska’s children as a group have gotten older, more racially diverse, and more international. The total number of children in Alaska increased about 11% between 1990 and 2004, but the number of children ages 9 and younger dropped 8% and the number ages 10 to 18 rose 40%. During the same period, the number of children from minorities—the largest minority being Alaska Native—increased 75%, while the number from immigrant families was up nearly half. This year we show a snapshot of Alaska children in foster care. These are mostly children the state Office of Children’s Services (OCS) has taken, either temporarily or permanently, out of their parents’ homes—because the children were judged to be in “immediate” danger or their parents couldn’t be located. In some cases, parents voluntarily put their children into foster care, and in rare cases parents abandon children. The number of children in foster care varies throughout the year, as some children are returned to their parents’ custody and others come into the foster care system. Some are adopted and others age out of the system.
Navigation Paths to Adoption Through the Alaska Foster Care System: A Resource Guide for Potential Adoptive ParentsAlaska has a higher than national average rate of adoption from foster care. While just over 20% of children in foster care nationally are discharged from state custody through adoption Alaska has nearly 30% of foster children discharged from state custody through adoption. There are a number of programs and resources available for foster parents and families interested in adopting through foster care in Alaska. However, there lacks a comprehensive single-point reference guide to explore the various paths. This research was conducted to identify resources available for families interested in learning about paths to adopt from foster care in Alaska as well as what gaps are perceived by families who have begun the process of adopting through foster care. A literature review was conducted and specific adoption program information was reduced to a synopsis or flowchart to generally outline each path to adoption through foster care. The final outcome of the project was a resource guide that outlines basic requirements to adopt through foster care and a number of programs to do so. The paths covered by this guide are the ACRF Adoption Learning Path, Legal-Risk Adoptions, OCS Recruitment of Legally Free Children, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, ACRF PARKA Program, Alaska Adoption Exchange, and Tribal and ICWA Adoption.