The Redlich Horwitz Foundation’s goals aim to end the dismantling of families, stop surveillance and oppression of young people and families of color, amplify impacted voices and center healing and racial justice in everything we do.
Narrow the Front Door to Child Welfare
Many of the people impacted by the child welfare system experienced it as a system of policing and family regulation instead of a system of support. The legal statutes that are the framework for this system incentivize surveillance, separation and punishment. Furthermore, Black, Latino, Indigenous and other families of color and families that experience poverty are disproportionately impacted. We support advocacy, budget priorities, policies and programs that narrow the front door to child welfare and instead aim to support children and families at home in their communities to thrive.
Eliminate Congregate Care
A permanency-focused foster care system is family-centered; it is structured and funded in a way that promotes placing a child entering care with a relative or close family friend (such as a godparent). If no such resource is available, the next best choice is a well-trained and well-supported foster family. Only in rare situations—for example when the child is a risk to themselves and/or to others—should short-term residential treatment be recommended. Realigning the State’s resources and policies to focus on family-based care is best for children, families, and taxpayers.
The 2018 federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) prioritized preventive services and family-based foster care over residential care by limiting reimbursements for residential placements based on length of stay and therapeutic need. RHF’s Family First Readiness Initiative was working in partnership with the state’s Transition Fund to provide technical assistance to 19 counties to prioritize kin-first placement policies and practices, and reduce residential placements to the national average of 12%. RHF was also supporting provider agencies as they worked to provide more services to families and children in the community and the home rather than on residential campuses.
Advance Racial Equity
Families of color should not be disproportionately disrupted by the child welfare system due to current and historical racist policies and oppression. Children do best when raised by their families of origin and government should not remove children unless legally justified to do so. Alarming racial disparity rates exist at all points in NY’s child welfare system – from the rate of SCR calls to investigations, removals, congregate care placements, lengths of stay in care, and young people aging out. RHF believes that prevention, removal, placement and reunification policies and practices should be anti-racist, intentionally promote racial equity, and seek to be reparative. Families and communities should be provided with adequate resources and support to sustain themselves. All caregivers—birth, foster and kinship—should have access to the same types and levels of support, including financial, programs and services, therapeutic and clinical.
Further, families and communities of color are best positioned to frame existing problems and develop solutions to achieve child and family wellbeing. We recognize that we don’t have all the answers but in the coming months and years, RHF will work to cede power to youth and families and support efforts across the state to dismantle racist policies and practices that perpetuate these disproportionately negative outcomes for families of color.
Support Youth to Connect, Heal, and Thrive
Young people who have experienced the foster system endure trauma, grief & loss. We support programs that help young people to connect, heal, lead and thrive. We work to do this by supporting work that ends harmful and traumatic practices and instead promoting the use of healing-centered supports for well-being, addressing youth well-being and equity/justice and creating pooled funds in partnership with community and youth.