Alaska has one of the highest rates of children and youth in foster care in the United States. Among all states in 2017, Alaska was ranked third for the number of children in foster care per capita. From 2013 to 2017, an average of 3,500 children per year were served by the Alaska foster care system.

 

The State of Alaska Office of Children's Services (OCS) works in partnership with families and the community to support the well being of Alaska's children and youth. This includes removing children and youth from unsafe situations and placing them in foster care when necessary. The ultimate goal is to eventually reunite children and youth with their families, but if that is deemed unsafe, the goal is then to find a permanent home, often through adoption.

Photo courtesy of stockvault.com

Photo courtesy of stockvault.com

Photo courtesy of unsplash.com

The success of reuniting children with their families or finding them other permanent homes is highly dependent on OCS worker caseloads. In 2018, House Bill 151 was passed by the Alaska State Legislature and signed into law by (then-Governor) Bill Walker. The bill was passed as an attempt to improve OCS caseworker training and reduce caseloads among OCS caseworkers. Unfortunately, the public often views OCS caseworkers in a negative light. For many foster youth(s), especially those who have been successfully adopted into permanent, loving homes, the OCS caseworker is seen as a blessing in disguise.  

The purpose of this website is to educate the public about foster child adoptions and the importance of OCS caseworkers in that process. Amanda Metivier, Associate Director at the Alaska Child Welfare Academy and the Executive Director at Facing Foster Care in Alaska, shares about the role of OCS caseworkers in the foster child adoption process. Les Gara, former Alaska State Legislator, shares how the provisions of House Bill 151 were meant to reduce OCS caseloads and better equip OCS caseworkers to do their job. Gary and Sheri Becker share about their experience in adopting five children out of the foster care program. Finally, Roxanne Zorea shares about how her life changed following her adoption from foster care. 

Amanda Metivier

"The higher the caseload the more impossible it becomes for a caseworker to do their job...."

Photo by Moriah Miller 

Les Gara

Photo courtesy of Les Gara

"The goal in foster care is not to have this great foster care system where kids stay in foster care forever. It’s to get them into a permanent, what we call a permanent loving home or a forever home."

Photo courtesy of The Becker Family

Gary and Sheri Becker

"This journey of fostering and adopting has been life changing for my husband and I and our family."

Photo by Moriah Miller 

Roxanne Zorea

"So I looked at him like, 'I’m happy. They’re my forever family.'” 

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