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Youngkin says some foster kids have slept in offices, ERs

April 1, 2022 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Over 150 children in foster care in Virginia spent at least one night in “unsuitable sleeping arrangements” over a six-month period last year, Gov. Glenn Youngkin said Friday.

In a news release, the governor announced he was launching a task force that will study safe housing placements for children in foster care, aiming to end the practice of children sleeping in local social services departments, hotels and emergency rooms.

“It is unacceptable that last year over 150 children in foster care spent the night in places that just simply are not meant for kids,” Youngkin said in a statement.

According to the news release, between February and July 2021, 163 children were displaced for at least one night in unsuitable sleeping arrangements. The children ranged in age from 7-17 years old. That number represents about 3% of approximately 5,300 children who Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said were in foster care during that time frame.

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Social workers or law enforcement personnel stay overnight with displaced children, exacerbating existing workforce shortages, Youngkin’s office said.

The situations were the result of a “dire shortage” of foster homes, beds in group homes and residential treatment centers, and family placements with relatives, the news release said.