Department of Human Resources Announces Record Breaking Success in Finding Permanent Homes for Maryland’s Foster Children

Local departments of social services recognized during the sixth Place Matters Awards Luncheon

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND (NOVEMBER 5, 2014) – The Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) highlighted the success of its local departments of social services to find stable, permanent homes for foster children during its sixth annual “Place Matters” award ceremony at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis on October 29, 2014.

The administration launched its Place Matters initiative in 2007 with the central idea that nothing matters more to a child than a place to call home. It’s an overarching statewide initiative that implements child welfare best practices to find permanent families for foster children, update social work practices, and involve families in decisions affecting children in foster care.

“Nothing matters more to a child than a place to call home,” said Ted Dallas, secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources. “The Place Matters initiative has helped us reduce the number of children in foster care by 50 percent and given thousands of Maryland children the chance to grow up in a nurturing and stable home.”

From 2007-2014, DHR’s “Place Matters” initiative has :

  • Reduced the number of kids in care by 50%, from 10,300 to just over 5,151 today.
    That’s the fewest cases since electronic record keeping began in 1987.
  • Cut in half the percentage of placements to group homes, from 19% in 2008 to 10%
    today, ensuring kids who need to come into care are placed with families.
  • Established stability for 19,393 children who were either adopted (3,813), placed
    with guardians (4,222) or reunified with their families (11,358).

The annual awards event recognizes strides made by local social services offices to
improve the well-being of Maryland’s vulnerable children by meeting established
standards including reducing the number of children who must be placed in foster
care; increasing the number of children living in stable loving families and reducing the
recurrence of maltreatment.

The Allegany County Department of Social Services took the top award, Jurisdiction of the
Year, in recognition of their comprehensive success in exceeding all of the department’s
Place Matters goals. They met all 9 established benchmarks which included: Reducing
the number of children in Out-of-Home Placement, Increasing the percentage of children
in family settings, Reducing the percentage of children in group homes – children
under 18, Meeting fiscal year 2014 adoption goals, Increasing the number of children
exiting to Guardianship, Investigations Open Less than 60 Days – Alternative Response,
Investigations Open Less than 60 Days –Investigative Response, Percentage of Children
Visited Each Month, and Placement Stability.

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