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Life at home can be challenging for any family whose members are struggling with the challenges of living, working, or going to school in DC. The cost of living in Greater Washington continues to rise, and safe, decent, affordable housing is often difficult to find. Parents who work multiple jobs—or who don’t work because of a lack of education or training—aren’t always able to provide enough financial or emotional support for their kids. Parents with young children sometimes struggle to find good, affordable child care, but can’t work without someone to care for their children. As more jobs move from the city to the suburbs, many families have trouble earning a living without transportation to get them to work. These obstacles and myriad more contribute to family crises, and situations where well-intentioned parents and children simply can’t relate to each other or solve problems together.
The challenges of promoting stable families in DC are profound. But other cities have similar problems, and we may look to their experiences as we continue to work to prevent family dissolution here. The Anne E. Casey Foundation recently brought together leading child welfare researchers from across the United States to examine which approaches work best and to determine how best to achieve family permanence for older children and youth in foster care – two core populations served by SBY. The proceedings from the Foundation’s 2006 National Convening on Youth Permanence includes several excellent recommendations for policy advocacy, practitioners and the research community, respectively. You can read the paper here.