Among the things Tennesseans should be most proud of:
• Kids are no longer shuffled between dozens of foster families.
• The caseload of social workers has gone from 40 kids on average to 20. When the mess started in the late 1990s, caseworkers sometimes had 60 kids under their care.
• There are now 7,500 kids in state custody, from a high of 11,000 in 2004.
• The state has placed 90 percent of children in foster care with families instead of group homes or institutions. It's kept 85 percent of siblings together.
We're already hearing rumblings, though nothing definite, of renewed legislative efforts to prevent gays and lesbians or unmarried couples from becoming foster and adoptive parents. Obviously, we would oppose those efforts regardless of whether the Department were making progress. But at a time when the Department is doing such a good job and when the State budget can't bear added expense, I think a good neutral argument can made for scuttling restrictive legislation. Let's continue to focus on getting more children into loving homes.