At any given time, approximately 400,000 children and youth are in the nation’s foster care systems. Almost all enter the system with complex histories of trauma caused by abuse and/or neglect. The State becomes their parent and assumes a unique legal and moral responsibility for their safety and well-being. Yet many are re-traumatized, overmedicated, further neglected, bounced from home to home, or placed in congregate care facilities which have a proven detrimental impact on their well-being outcomes. Too many foster children exit care far worse than when they entered. A disproportionate number of those exiting worse off are children and youth of color.
The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) works to improve the lives of children and youth in foster care so that they can exit care healthier and stronger than when they entered. Because these children’s lives are touched by many if not all child serving systems in this country, NCYL’s approach involves campaigns that address education, health and mental health, the judiciary and employment.
To assist attorneys, advocates and researchers working in this arena, NCYL maintains the Foster Care Docket, a comprehensive, indexed and searchable database of litigation involving foster care.