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Number of Maryland Children in Foster Care Drops 35 Percent

Initiative helps place more children in permanent homes.

Over the past five years, the number of Maryland children in foster care has dropped 35 percent, from 10,330 in 2007  to 6,709 in 2012, according to a story in the Baltimore Sun.

Theodore Dallas, secretary of the Department of Human Resources told The Sun a statewide initiative called Place Matters is largely responsible for reducing the number of children in foster care.

The program fosters better collaboration between the court system, better data analysis and works with birth families earlier in the process to more efficiently dissolve the rights of the biological parents. Dallas describes the program as "a dramatic sea change in the way we do things."

Children in the foster care program leave via one of four methods—adoption, returning to their biological family, turning 18 or being assigned a legal guardian.

The state hopes to reunite children with their birth families, a state official explained in the story, but also seeks adoption possibilities with other family members or potential legal guardians.

The Place Matters program is also bringing in retired judges to help unclog the backlog of legal cases involving child custody and works on post-adoption agreements between parents and foster-care providers.  

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