The United States Census and the American Community Survey are the only data sources available about the economic status of children in foster care, the race and ethnicity of foster parents and overall living arrangements for foster children.
This information is used by lawmakers to make critical funding decisions.
But now, the United States Census Bureau plans to eliminate the “foster child” category from the 2010 Census. Why? Because the extra line on the form made the page too long and tripped up the scanners.
What will happen if this change takes effect?
Loss of information about where foster children reside, demographics of families caring for foster youth and where to allocate resources.
This proposed modification would also remove foster children from the American Community Survey, thereby eliminating important data that is not available from state foster care records.
I agree entirely with the author of a recent San Francisco Chronicle editorial: "It is often been said that the once-a-decade census represents a 'snapshot of America.' No family portrait is complete without all of its children in it. Foster youth are our children, our collective responsibility. Their predicament is our challenge. They need to be counted."
For more information, please visit: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/22/EDGHQP1I221.DTL
Source: Editorial: Inconvenient youth. San Francisco Chronicle, April 22, 2007, pg. E-4.