The children coming to Allendale have special needs, requiring extra assistance to deal with challenges of emotional, behavioral, and mental health:

One-third of children who witness parental violence suffer severe emotional and behavioral problems.

Between 43 percent and 70 percent of children in the child protection system have mental health problems severe enough to warrant intervention. They are at heightened risk for school failure, dropping out, drug use, and many other difficulties.

The costs for social welfare, administration, criminal justice, and family caregiving for untreated mental health needs are estimated at $4 billion per year.

In reality, Allendale is in the business of prevention. Our role is to break the cycle and begin the healing process. But we can’t do it without highly committed foster parents.

The Problem of Recruiting Foster Parents
Recruiting foster parents is a long process, including thorough screening, training, and state certification. Out of hundreds of people who contact us about fostering, only one or two become established homes.

As an example, Wednesday’s Child sponsors television programs profiling special-needs children to try to create family matches. Since the program began in 1989, it has generated more than 4,500 viewer inquiries and 125 placements. A placement rate of only 2.8% means we must generate a high level of response to translate that interest into family placements.

In addition to the children already in residence at Allendale, we receive referrals for foster families for two or three children needing homes each week. Back to Top

What Happens if We Can’t Place a Child with
a Foster Family

If specialized foster care is not available:

The child’s treatment progress can be interrupted or stalled. Many children are eligible for foster care because they are finally ready for the next stage of their development, ready to build attachments and find permanence. Prolonging a child’s stay in a more restrictive environment inhibits his or her continued growth and development.

The child stays in more expensive residential treatment. A year in foster care costs roughly $17,500 per child—not including counseling and treatment programs for biological parents or foster parent recruitment. Separate studies in the 1990s put the annual cost for group home care between $36,500 and $42,000 per child, or nearly 2.5 times the cost for foster care. Back to Top