This is Robert and Kathleen Raskin of Las Vegas, Nevada, and today we have good news for Virginia families! Governor Ralph Northam has signed SB1679 and HB2014 into law. During the 2018 fiscal year alone, 55,255 children in the state were reported as being possible victims of abuse and neglect. The new laws will provide families with access to early intervention services, reducing the number of kids who will end up trapped in the system and put at risk in foster care. In a system where so many kids end up being removed from their homes, this is a significant improvement.
The New Laws Explained
For far too long, Virginia families have had to wait to get access to services that could have kept their children in their custody if they’d been available in a timely manner. If a parent had a substance abuse issue, the first course of action would be to remove the child from the home, then treatment would be addressed if and when there was state funding available. Much-need services like mental health treatment and in-home therapy were also withheld until after children were removed from the home.
When research has shown that children typically fare better with their families, every effort should be made to keep families together barring cases in which children are being abused. Now that SB1679 and HB2014 have been signed into law, Virginia will be more in-line with the federal Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018. That means federal money can be used to go toward securing the services a family needs in order to stay together, and not just after it’s too late.
There are plenty of families that are doing the best they can, and who mean well and truly love their children. Despite this, some families still fall short of what their children need, even if the children aren’t being abused. In these cases, it’s wonderful to see the state and federal government contributing toward services that can help give struggling families the tools they need to thrive and be successful.
The sad truth is, this generation is not the first that has been failed by the system. Many parents in today’s struggling families were once abused themselves. Those who are abused are more likely to repeat the cycle, and for some, the cycle has gone on for generations. Families who simply do not know better because they have never been exposed to anything else may be falling through the cracks. Instead, Virginia officials have determined these families are worth saving.
New report is highly critical of foster care in Virginia.
Virginia’s foster children deserve better.