YAKIMA, Wash -- Foster children in Yakima will now be able to stay in their community instead of being sent away to foster homes across the state.
The Yakima division of the Department of Social and Health Services will now consult with family and community members when making decisions about foster children.
In the past, courts and case workers made the decisions.
"Its my job to recruit the community to participate in the decision -- grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles and community leaders." said Brian Cox, a program manger with D.S.H.S. "If this team makes a decision that's safe. And the courts approve it, my department will stand by it."
The change is a result of a three year test program that showed positive results, and is modeled after the Cleveland Department of Child Protective Services.