‘Heartbreaking Report’: Foster Care Series Sparks Calls for Change Across the Country

Laura Bauer, Judy L. Thomas, Bryan Lowry, Eric Adler, The Kansas City Star •

Jenny Pokempner, a senior attorney at the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center, said states need to invest more in supporting families. After reading The Star’s series, Pokempner said she believes it’s clear that more emphasis and money needs to go toward family preservation and keeping children from being removed.

“We are letting things happen to kids that we would never tolerate for our own children,” Pokempner said. Youth who have been in foster care “want what we all have and most of us get to take for granted, that unconditional support.”

The system is supposed to reduce harm, she said, not create more for children.

“No young person should be in this situation and the state has to be accountable when they are the person that is in the role of parent,” she said. “We can impact these youth. We know who they are. They are in our care.”

About the Expert

Jennifer Pokempner is a Senior Attorney at Juvenile Law Center. At Juvenile Law Center, her work focuses on improving outcomes and opportunities for older youth in the foster care system through policy and legal advocacy at the local, state, and national levels.