The Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation has announced that it will stop providing direct foster care services through Casey Family Services under a new grantmaking strategy focused on helping nonprofit human services agencies improve their child welfare practices.
The move will eliminate two hundred and eighty jobs and, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, free up some $20 million a year for other nonprofits. While CFS will transition the majority of the children and foster families it currently serves to other providers by the end of the year, the agency will remain open through June 2013 to support cases that require additional time.
Founded in 1976, New Haven-based CFS has provided therapeutic foster care services as well as family preservation, reunification, and post-adoption supports under state contracts in Maryland, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. AECF's new strategy is aimed at scaling and sharing with the field best practices and lessons learned in finding permanent families for children and serving older and high-needs youth through effective recruitment of stable, nurturing foster families, intensive counseling, and careful planning for their aging out of foster care.
To that end, the foundation will partner with child welfare providers to develop or scale proven models; spread effective practices by building awareness, providing education and technical assistance, and supporting efforts to secure federal and state funding for such practices; and create materials and tools that leverage the accumulated knowledge of direct service providers and the expertise of foundation staff. The foundation also plans to expand its partnerships to providers in other human service fields such as community change, juvenile justice, mental health, substance abuse, and workforce development.
"As the human services environment changes, we see an opportunity to help strengthen the work of frontline staff who often make life-and-death decisions on behalf of vulnerable children and families," said AECF president and CEO Patrick T. McCarthy. "We are proud of the contributions Casey Family Services has made in supporting families, working with foster parents, collaborating with public agencies, and providing outstanding care to children. This success is due to a skilled and dedicated staff, and we deeply regret the impact this transition will have on them. We will honor the legacy of CFS and its people by continuing to work diligently to build better futures for children and families across the country."