Many Pennsylvania kids sent to foster care over behavior problems

Pennsylvania is seeing fewer older youth in foster care — but experts say too many are still entering the system because of behavioral issues compared to the rest of the country.

Driving the news: More than half (53%) aged 14 and up who entered state foster care in 2021 did so because of “behavioral problems” compared with 30% nationally, says a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

  • The issues can range from normal adolescent “acting out” to more pressing mental instability problems, experts tell Axios.

What they’re saying: Most behavioral problems don’t require foster care placements and can instead be addressed with counseling or community programs, Rachael Miller, policy director at Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, tells Axios.

  • “It’s important to remember that when a child is removed from their parents or caregiver, they lose everything,” she says. “They lose their home, their community, their school, their culture.”

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