The problems within the foster care system remain as they were in the 1950s and 1960s when I was forced to live within it...these voiceless and forgotten children of today must be given a voice.
Picture — a stark image of constant moving, abuse,
neglect, and even death. Is it the 1950s? No, this is
the bleak picture painted of our foster care system of
Children removed from their homes due to abuse or
neglect by their families are too often only further
victimized by "the system" that is supposed to protect
them is a matter of chronic, longstanding and
The system perversely encourages instability in the
lives of abused and neglected children. Despite
mountains of evidence showing that every new move a
foster child makes leaves emotional and psychological
scars, the law in many states keeps the children
moving. If children settle into a home, they are
moved. If their lives improve in foster care, they're
moved. If their lives get worse in foster care,
they're moved. Some are moved time and time again
until they age out of the system...they they are told
to move one more time, as they are now on their own.
They are suppose to go from unstable enviorments to
being everyday normal youth and then adults. These
expectations after what "the system" puts them through
is downright inhuman — like out of a horror movie.
It is not fair. It is cruel and unusual. It is a sin,
what our society is putting these children through.
There is plenty of blame to go around, but these
problems must not merely be identified and studied. At
long last, they must be solved.
Congress MUST improve its role in the system.
They through the federal government MUST hold states
accountable for the treatment of children in their
States, for their part, MUST first assume a more
child-centered policy posture. It is America's abused
and neglected children who need our protection, not
"the system" that have failed to do so for decades.
States MUST hold county and private agency foster care
providers accountable. They need to provide
comprehensive and flexible services, not merely
piecemeal programs with competing and rigid
States, counties, cities and private agencies MUST
move beyond their failed ideas of the past.
A good first new idea: listen to the experts! The
experts are not the judges, supervisers or social
workers. They may have the degrees...that does not
make them the experts! The "real experts" are those
that have been forced to live within the broken system
day in and day out. They are the foster parents and
former foster children. They know where you are
succeeding but they also know your failures. Give a
voice to those now voiceless and forgotten...you may
be surprised by what you learn!
The system is broken, and needs to be fixed. Children
are dying, and it is our fault. The time has come for
new ideas and new approaches to protect abused and
neglected children across the country.
Children are a priority, or so we say they are, the
law and enforcement must make them so.
We have studied and investigated and repeated this
cyle time and time again. In the meantime countless
children have perished, imprisoned or been forgotten.
NOW is the time for action!