Foster Care: The Broken System

March 8, 2017

As of September 2014, over 415,000 children within the United States of America were in foster care placements. This number is a 5% increase from the previous year.  For years, children have been removed from their homes as a result of abuse and this is a huge epidemic and there needs to be more precautions taken to lower this absurdly large number. What is even more troubling is what happens to the majority of kids and teens when in foster homes and the system. As a foster child, I know that there are quite a few things about the foster care system that need to be reformed. Some of these things are, limiting the amount of people who only take foster children in for more income, bag and backpacks available for Foster children to take their belongings in to new homes or placements and there needs to be more educational opportunities for those within the system.

  
   

Education is one of the most prominent parts of a child’s development and can lead to unlimited possibilities in the future. All children should have the same opportunities, no matter what social class they come from or what kind environment they reside in. Statistics show that approximately less that three 3% of all foster children go on to receiving their college diplomas. Also, foster children who “age out” , are less likely to even get their high school diplomas and have an increased chance of becoming a teen parent. For these 23,439 children and the countless others an education could be the difference between living in a safe home or on the side of the road. Therefore, something needs to be done about this unsettling phenomenon because these kids are our future and if they don’t succeed, then our country too will perish. The government should put aside a bigger budget for the DCF system, with a majority of the money going towards higher education, high school education and sexual education classes to help reduce some of the risks that foster children have to confront while on their journey through the system.

       

Housing is another prominent problem that current and prior foster youth deal with on a monumental scale. Theoretically, the state and it’s social workers are supposed to do in depth background checks on those who are going to be housing the foster youth to ensure their safety and well-being, As a way to “ensure” that the child will get what they need, they give the foster parent around 22,000 dollars each year to provide clothing and other necessities so that the child may thrive. However, it is widely known within the system, that many people who take in foster children and teens only do it for the money. In 2012 alone, it was calculated that 1 in 5 foster youth would become homeless by the age of 18. This situation can be extremely damaging to children and as a result of the things foster youth go through 1 in 4 will be diagnosed with PTSD at some point in their youth. One of the reasons is that they did not go to a safe home like they were promised. There is a very limited amount of people in the United States that are willing to take in Foster Youth and this needs to change, because a large number of the people who do take in the kids do it again, only to gain economic stability. The government and other organizations should make public service announcements showing the benefits it could hold for the youth of America and show America that these children are in need of safe environment that they can call home. Not only would this lessen some of the problems that the youth face, but would also lessen the probability for over crowding in Foster homes which can often times lead to even more neglect.

      

Finally, and probably the easiest of the problems to fix within the Foster Care system is transportation. After the state deems the guardians or parents of a child unfit to take care and provide for them, the state will remove the youth from the home and put them in a new placement. During a child’s first month in the system it is noted that over 67% of children move placements 2-3 times. This can be a very scary time in these children’s lives and every possible opportunity should be taken to ensure that the transition is done smoothly. However, as a foster child my self, I know it to be true that the probability of have anything but a trash bag to take a small percent of your belongings in is slim to none. This can lead to the formation of the idea that these children do not deserve the same amount of love and care that other children do and needs to stop. There are several organizations that have popped up, dedicated to buying supplies like backpacks and blankets for foster children when they are being transported from placement to placement.

       

I believe if we are to reform the foster care system, this is the first thing that needs to be adapted because it will show the children within the system that someone cares about them. People need to realize that these children often come from a bad past and are only searching for a way out. I believe it is our duty as Americans, to help.






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