The following reports are from The Porch Light Project. Please note some information contained in these publications may be out of date.
Every child deserves to grow up in a home where he or she feels safe and part of a loving, nurturing family. In the unfortunate instance where a child is removed from a home due to abuse or neglect and placed in the foster care system, there are two primary options for placement: a family-based setting or a group home or institution, often referred to as "congregate care." Research shows family-based care is a better option for children placed in foster care, as well as less costly for the child welfare system and, in turn, for the commonwealth's taxpayers.
This report demonstrates the progress Pennsylvania has made to strengthen permanency efforts for foster children and youth while highlighting the need to eliminate the least desirable court-ordered goal available, Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement or APPLA. Too often, APPLA translates into long-term foster care instead of a permanent home for children and youth in foster care. There are targeted practices and policies Pennsylvania can implement to deter, and ultimately eliminate, the use of APPLA.
PPC annually compiles State of Child Welfare data in an effort to gauge the performance of Pennsylvania's child welfare system in meeting the needs of the children and families the system serves.
We gather comprehensive data for each of the 67 counties, including information on foster care placements, children leaving or re-entering foster care, and efforts to reunify children with parents or relatives.
The 2015 State of Child Welfare report shows Pennsylvania continues to make progress in placing children into family-type foster care settings instead of relying on "congregate care" settings such as institutions or group homes. Research shows family-based foster care is more beneficial to a child's long-term development and well-being.
The "2014 State of Child Welfare" report finds Pennsylvania has experienced several positive trends in the past five years as it works to improve its child welfare system, but more work remains. As the commonwealth enacts new laws to better protect our kids, our child welfare system needs to be in a position to effectively handle the potential increase of children and families that need help. The family-focused child welfare strategies that Pennsylvania has been using in recent years are working, and we need to build on them.