Helms School of Government


Master of Arts in Public Policy (MAPP)


Gai Ferdon


Foster Care, Policy, Legislation, Virginia, Arizona, California


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


For the past fifty years, the states and the National Congress has been attempting to fix problems associated with the Foster Care system. Some of these measures have been successful, while some have not. This raises the question of what effective policy is and what is not. The hypothesis is that a focus on the effective child placement and adoption as well as family reunification will be beneficial policy for the system. This is the question that this study will attempt to answer in order to provide better policies for the problems ailing the system. Through the course of the study, a legislative history was done that looked through bills related to the Foster Care system passed in Virginia, Arizona, and California. These bills were then compared to the data provided by the Children’s Bureau to determine points of correlation. It was found that emphasis on family, on private agencies, and streamlining the adoption process have been successful policies for the states. Conversely focusing on ideology and on small reactionary changes are unsuccessful policies. This study strove to give a roadmap to those looking to improve the system.