Partially reposted from The Colorado Sun. You can read the entire article here.
“Buckle up, Colorado. Child welfare will ask families to do even more in the coming years. Pressure on families will spike as the federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), which aims to place children in nurturing homes instead of residential facilities, kicks off in Colorado.
FFPSA’s groundbreaking legislation means that, starting in October 2021, residential facilities will be allowed 16 total spots for children. Barring any legislative changes or delays, Colorado must reduce capacity at 51 residential facilities, collectively licensed to support 1,664 children in residential care.
Facilities like Tennyson Center for Children will no longer be able to support a range of 24 to 32 children. Sadly, Colorado places more children per capita in residential facilities than almost any other state in the U.S.
We all know this goes against what is best for children: healing in safe homes. The state is rightly trying to improve.
Child therapists worry, however, about what this dramatic reduction of space will mean for children whose backgrounds and trauma make it harder for them to live in family-like settings. Children will have fewer residential options and will need homes in which to heal. And children do heal better in homes.
While there is a role for residential facilities, it must be rare, short, and include transitions to homes so that children never need to return to such intensive residential interventions.
Enter families. With reduced congregate care options, foster/adoptive families, relative caregivers and biological parents will be asked to care for kids who would previously stay at residential facilities. All three types of families need better support if we want to depend on them to fill this gap.”
Authors: Ned Breslin, President & CEO of Tennyson Center for Children and Hope Forti, Director of Families Together at Tennyson Center for Children