For years, Columbia County has had the highest rate of foster care placement in New York State - the numbers are finally coming down, as we hear in this report from Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas.
While Columbia County’s foster care placement rate remains higher than its closest competitors — Schenectady and Cortland counties, the numbers have softened since 2008 – when county children were placed in foster homes at a rate three times greater then any other county.
County Department of Social Services Commissioner Paul Mossman says the number of children in placement stabilized during the first quarter of this year.
A look at numbers released by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services reveals that as of December 2011 there were 144 Columbia County children (out of 18,376) in foster care.
Anne Cipkowski co-founded the now defunct Foster/Adoptive Family Support Group "Columbia County Resource Parents" says children came from various situations.
Social Services statistics indicate that 80 percent of children in foster care have been abused or neglected. Cipkowski says the foster families gave those children something money could not buy
The support group was discontinued roughly the same time as the county's Family Assessment Response team experienced success in reducing the number of children being placed in foster care.
Currently, Columbia County’s rate of accepting children into foster care is now lower than two other counties in the state: neighboring Greene County and Schenectady County.