Howard, Policy Committee examine foster care system

EXTON, Sept. 9 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on Pennsylvania’s foster care system at the West Whiteland Township Building.


Howard requested the hearing to discuss critical issues in foster care with leaders in the field. Howard was joined by legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.

“As a former social worker, I saw first-hand the negative impact of the foster care system on many children,” said Howard. “Too many children in the foster care system suffer from emotional, behavioral, developmental and physical issues that go untreated. These issues impact their lives long after they leave the foster care system.

“I want to thank all of today’s testifiers for providing critical insights into how we can come together to improve the foster care system in PA.”

Sturla added: “It’s critical that we have an open dialogue about issues within the system so we can come up with workable solutions that will improve the lives of foster children.”

The committee heard testimony from Debra Schilling Wolfe, executive director, and Sarah Wasch, program manager of Foster Care to College Initiative, UPenn’s Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research; Frank Cervone, executive director, Support Center for Child Advocates; Maryann Piccioni, former foster parent; Joseph Birli, president/CEO, Children’s Home of York; Tammy Weimann, associate director of permanency, Children’s Home of York; Heather Bert, executive director, Bethany Christian Services of the Greater Delaware Valley; and Kim Dent, foster care program manager, Bethany Christian Services of the Greater Delaware Valley.


The meeting was one in a series held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first, good jobs, healthcare access, quality schools and jobs training, and a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at


Hearing testimony and video will be available at