03/28/2012 02:29 pm ET Updated May 28, 2012

Focusing on Foster Care

Far too often, attention is only given to the failures of the foster care system. As necessary as this may be, only through greater awareness of both the system's failures and accomplishments can we better serve our children in need.

On March 30th, a delegation of Members of Congress will be taking part in a Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth Field Visit to do just that. Members will meet with child welfare advocates, local and state officials, and current and former foster youth to learn first-hand what a child experiences within the child welfare system.

During our visit, we will learn more about Florida's privatized structure and use of its federal funding waiver, which have been credited for its foster care population being cut nearly in half over the last decade. Additionally we will hear from just a few of the non-profit organizations and service providers throughout South Florida that are developing unique ways to care for foster youth and help them transition into adulthood. These innovative approaches are working to ensure that more children are afforded the security of a stable home, more families are given the support they need to provide for their children, and that more of those who are placed in foster care are given the care and services needed to grow into successful adults.

Make no mistake -- the work is far from over. While countless individuals and organizations are working tirelessly on behalf of Florida's youth, foster care youth continue to lag behind their counterparts and we still hear far too many cases of children falling through the cracks. As a result of this visit, we hope to not only gain a better understanding of Florida's child welfare system but also develop concrete steps the Federal government can take to build upon what is working and change what is not. Just one child denied the right to achieve his or her fullest potential is one too many.