The children coming to Allendale have special needs, requiring extra
assistance to deal with challenges of emotional, behavioral, and
||One-third of children
who witness parental violence suffer severe emotional and behavioral
||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
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
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
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