CPS summit focuses on urgent need of homes for children in foster care

By Jenna Hiller - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The number of children who age out of the foster care system in Texas has dropped by 41 percent in the last five years.

But last year, more than 1,000 foster youth still aged out of care without finding a forever home.

Child Protective Services wants that number to continue to drop.

The agency met with stakeholders including child advocates, child placement agencies, attorneys and judges to talk about the need for permanent homes.

"This is a call to action for permanency of our foster children in the Child Protective Service system. We have a lot of children who have been taken into custody by Child Protective Services as a result of child abuse and neglect issues," said Judge Peter Sakai, of the 225th district court.

Amelia Franck Meyer, CEO of Anu Family Services, spoke to the group about the impact of a child's living situation and said a permanent home could be a matter of thriving and surviving.

"The primary thing I'm trying to impart is a sense of urgency. We just have a really small, brief window in childhood in which to get this right, and for a child, the time passes very quickly," she said.

In some cases, she said, a year without a permanent home could represent half of a child's memorable life.

Franck Meyer added the problems that often pop up among foster kids -- like aggression, anger and self-injury -- are just natural reactions, and the root cause of those behaviors is the need to connect.

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