What has been my purpose in writing the book you have just read?
The purpose is fourfold.
Through the sharing of poetry written while a youth in care and years that followed, along with varied articles I have written I hoped to do the following:
1. Give you a bit of insight as to the mind, heart and soul of a foster child through the pain, depression and other feeling experienced by myself and many youth in foster care.
2. The importance of family to a person, whether they be a child a an adult.
3. Through numerous chapters, it is my hope to share with you, repetively at times, the problems within the foster care system and the need for reform. I feel it is only by former foster youth as well as foster parents sharing their experiences within the system, that the public will come to the realization of the problems we are far too familiar with. Change will not come from within the system itself. It will take outrage from the general public to force the needed changes.
4. Finally, I am not a believer in just identifying problems or complaining about them. To me, that is a recipe for continued failure. Thus in the final chapters I have attempted to give a number of comprehensive reforms I feel are needed to make the system respond in the best interest of the child.. It is not meant as a complete plan to solve all the problems.
As stated earlier, I do not claim to know all the problems nor do I have the audacity to assume I have all the answers. It is my hope the reforms I have proposed will begin a dialog among the public, as well as those involved in the system, of the need for reform and will develop necessary legislation necessary to accomplish the mission.
The failures sighted throughout this book were failures while was in the system so many years ago. However, those problems continue to persist today. Improvement in some areas have been made. There are a number of good people working in the system. However, the system as a whole is broken. It needs to be fixed.
If this book has opened your eyes to the plight of not only the children caught up in the system but also the biological, foster or adoptive parents, I hope you will take time to suggest this book to your legislators, family court judges, social workers, and all others working within the system. I ask that you do not stop there. Demand reform from those in elected office. Demand your Senators and Congresspersons make children the priority we all claim them to be and change the system. Let them know you are tired of your hard earned tax dollars going down the drain in a system that benefits very few affected by it. Tell them you are fed up and are not going to take it anymore.
If each of you who have read this book will do this, it will be the beginning of a groundswell for demanding reform.
Finally it is my fervent hope and prayers that either former or present foster youth will read this book and realize that they are not along. Millions have gone before them. Some have made it, despite the system, while others unfortunately have not. Many of us, who have been there understand completely what they went through or are going through today.
Itís my hope, as I stated in the chapter entitled, ďA Letter to Foster Youth/AlumniĒ that they realize they can make it. They can do it despite what they faced in the system. There are many of us out here rooting for you and will to of help0 in the manner we are able.
It is also my hope that it will enable other former foster youth to begin to speak out. The public needs to hear from us. Only we can tell the story of our years within foster care, the damage it has caused and how we overcame the damage.
Writing and speaking out has been a therapy for me to continue to heal and overcome the years within foster care. It has made me feel better about myself. More importantly, it has caused me to realize that possibly I could of help to others. I may not be able to change the world, but possibly I can have something to do with making the world a tad better for a few.