The needs of children in the child welfare system encompass so much more than where they are placed. Children in substitute care have full, complex lives with their own difficulties and successes. Things that many youth might take for granted—talking to a sibling or a parent, joining a team at school, visiting the dentist or getting glasses for the first time, attending a high school prom—can be challenging for foster youth. KidsVoice works hard to make these types of normal daily activities a reality for our clients and their families.
KidsVoice advocates in the courts and beyond in a wide range of areas to meet the unique hopes and needs of each child.
Health and Well-Being
KidsVoice advocates for clients’ physical, mental, and developmental health, including help with Social Security disability and state-funded waivers for clients with intellectual disabilities and autism. KidsVoice makes sure care is in place to address medical neglect, trauma, and developmental delays.
We have partnerships with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Western Psychiatric Hospital, which provide important resources and services to our clients. A partnership with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh provides a dedicated nurse to conduct client medical history reviews and provide telehealth services to abused and neglected children.
KidsVoice also advocates in individual schools and at the district level to ensure that every child receives an appropriate education with appropriate resources.
Foster youth lose 3-6 months of academic progress every time they switch schools due to a change in their placement. They are twice as likely to repeat grades. KidsVoice enforces the rights of children in foster and group homes to remain in their home school district—as required by federal law. When that is not possible, we ensure that our clients are immediately enrolled in an appropriate school setting in their new district.
KidsVoice also specializes in special education advocacy, school discipline, and helping high school students prepare for college. We are proud to have helped advocate for a new Pennsylvania law that provides tuition waivers to current and former foster youth who attend college.
For more detail about our education-related services, please see our Education page.
In addition to dismal job prospects, foster youth face several types of other financial threats. Our clients often have credit issues due to relatives who have taken out credit cards or place utilities in their names. Some clients with childhood disabilities are saddled with debts from Social Security overpayments, which can arise when an unscrupulous relative continues to claim this income even when the child is first in foster care elsewhere and not eligible for ongoing payments.
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