Foster Care System

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Category: Adolescence
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The Foster Care System has been in place for many years. It is designed to provide a home to children who can no longer stay in their own home. For this particular organization, the saying, “things are not always what they appear to be” takes effect. Many cases and investigations have taken place at numerous foster care organizations where there have been various reports of children who were often neglected, sexually abused, or physically abused by being in this “innocent” and supposedly “helpful” system.

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Unfortunately to say, up to eighty percent of those children will continue to experience severe emotional problems throughout and out of the foster care system. (Bertram 1) The children go through numerous struggles already, they shouldn’t have to go through the same thing that they were trying to get away from in the first place. These foster care organizations who are supposed to be protecting and caring for the children are actually doing the opposite. The Foster Care and Child Protective Service organizations across the nation should follow through with a “reconstruction period,” focusing on making changes primarily in parent evaluations and teens who age out of the system. Reconstructing the system could benefit the future lives of all foster kids and allow them to have hope for a better future. Bertram states that “More than 95% of youth entering foster care have experienced at least one traumatic event, i.e., neglect, family violence, traumatic grief or separation, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; and up to 75% have experienced events that are classified as moderate or severe.” When the majority of children who experience any type of trauma are thrown into the foster care system as just another number, they are mentally not prepared to handle a brand new life thrown at them.

Whether it be a new home, school, or town, a new foster child has to adapt to these new things, and if they are not mentally prepared it will lead to a path of destruction. It is stated that in September of 2016 there have been 437,465 children and youth in foster care in the United States. 15% consists of teens, ages 16-18 that are just left on their own in the adult world. Some after being moved around since childhood. The first change that needs to be made in the foster care system are the foster parents themselves. There have been many situations where Foster Parents are often in the system for the check and are more concerned about money than providing care and love to the foster child.

Due to such horrible circumstances, if a couple is trying to become a foster parent their mental health should be evaluated before they are in the process of getting their license and continually be evaluated throughout their lives as a foster parent. Parents should be evaluated for schizophrenia, postpartum depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder because these few disorders could cause parents to act out if they are not taken seriously and on the right medication. It is a long and terrifying road for a child to go through alone and to be in and out of the home due to being neglected. It causes them to be drained emotionally and damages them psychologically.

Most children who are in the system do not always have a promising future ahead of them, because once the system kicks them out they have no resources to help them get a job and to help prepare themselves for the future. Having no choice they turn to drugs, gangs, and violence these choice shape their lives for the future tuning any chance that they have to make it in the real world. Over time the foster care system has failed to acknowledge and accept the fact that home checks need to happen more often.

How do they know that the home checks are done efficiently? The answer is they are not; because if they were done right there would not be over 2,000 children dying due to neglect and abuse in foster care. Most children who die in foster care are roughly ages 10 and under because they are more vulnerable and easier to harm. The kids who end up being admitted to the hospital have either been beaten, starved or even raped. Most of the time when Child Protective Services have them in custody they end up getting stuck in the same situation. The children in the system go through so much between bouncing around from home to home, being alone, and being neglected. They should not have to go through that as a child. The number of neglectful foster parents has risen by four percent and the number of children in the system has gone up by fifteen percent.

However, some issues revolve on Child Protective Services itself as a company for “overlooking” certain warning signs in child cases. For example, in 2015, Jennifer and Joseph Rosenbaum were arrested for the murder of two-year-old Laila Marie Daniel. Jennifer Rosenbaum was physically abused during childhood, along with the fact that she was also in foster care for the majority of her life. Jennifer suffered from PTSD after she was abused and starved when she was younger, leading her to kill her baby.

However, CPS didn’t look more into it in depth because many people claimed Jennifer “turned her life around.” Red flags were raised when Laina began to visit the Rosenbaum’s in the summer (before being permanently fostered) and returned with few injuries. Laina was even taken to DFCS (Division of Family and Child Services) to show them the injuries, however, no investigation was ever opened.

Another incident was when Laila broke her leg, Jennifer told CPS, “She is doing fine by her attitude you would never know anything was wrong,” Rosenbaum said in the text, detailed in the DFCS file. “Laughing playing singing and hasn’t cried once not even when it happened.” (Schneider) The caseworker did not investigate the broken leg any further, which was a violation of policy. Whenever a foster child suffers a serious injury, the caseworker must file a report that begins an investigation into the cause, which CPS didn’t. Regardless of the number of people who claimed Jennifer was a changed person, if CPS had actually followed up on the many red flags in the fostering, it could’ve possibly prevented Laila’s death. Another example that proves that the Foster Care system is unstable is the tragic death of Logan Marr.

Logan was just five years old when she was strapped to a high chair, wrapped in forty feet of duct tape, and left alone in the basement by her foster mom. Sally Schofield, who was originally a highly respected former caseworker for Maine’s Department of Human Services (DHS), sought to adopt Logan after she was separated from her mother. However, Sally could not handle Logan’s outrages and tantrums and would often handle it in the wrong ways. Just like with Laina, there were also many times CPS could have intervened and could have possibly prevented Logan’s death.

During supervised visits with her birth mother, Logan would tell her mother that, “Sally (her foster mom) had hurt her. She squeezed her cheeks together with one hand, and said, “She did this to me, and I cried, and it hurts me. She did it to my sister, too.” When Christy tried to find out more about what happened, she says the DHS supervisor shook her head, forbidding her from going into detail about the incident.” (PBS 3) Later in time Logan also mentioned again that Sally had handled her roughly, wrapping her up in a blanket.

Again, Christy was signaled not to pursue the matter. Even when Logan’s birth mother was concerned more than once, Child Protective Services chose to do nothing. On the evening of January 31, 2001, Logan had begun to throw a tantrum. Sally has begun to get frustrated with the child and asked if “he needed to scream and she said yes,” Sally said. “I said, ‘OK, well then let’s put you someplace where you can scream.'” Sally put Logan in an unfinished portion of her basement in a high chair. She left her there for over an hour, she says, periodically checking on her. When she came down to check after starting dinner, she says she found Logan lying in a heap on the floor, still confined to her high chair. She wasn’t breathing. She was rushed to Maine General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.” (PBS) That night, the police came to interview Sally. She told them she thought Logan must have knocked herself over in the high chair and hit her head.

Although she claimed that Logan had not been restrained in the high chair, in a search of Sally’s house, the detectives found evidence that raised doubts about her story. Strewn amid boxes in the dank basement were clumps of duct tape, some 40 feet in all. Police tests revealed that the tape had been looped repeatedly around Logan’s body and head, and across her mouth. Tufts of her hair were stuck to the tape. And an autopsy revealed that five-year-old Logan had not died from a blow to the head, but from asphyxiation. If Child Protective Services had started an investigation at the first concern, Logan’s death could have been prevented. It is proven that such traumatic events can lead parents to act out.

Having healthy mental health plays a key role when having children around all the time. Many parents have snapped overtime and have killed their children because they either have anxiety or severe anger issues. Some foster parents only decide to adopt for the money the government issues out for the child’s needs, and then later they failed to meet the needs of the child. Child Protective Services is supposed to be helping these children when they do home checks, but for some reason, CPS fails to do that. Kids are hurting in this troubling system adults are supposed to be looking out for them, become loved and welcomed in their new home. Teens in the Foster Care System On the other side of the spectrum, more than 23,000 children will age out of the US foster care system every year, and after reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who were in foster care will become instantly homeless.

Teenagers in the Foster Care system also suffer from many mental health issues that develop from being in the system. Then they are kicked out, forced into the real world once they turn eighteen without any knowledge or resources of how to be an adult. Some people might say that teens in the Foster Care System are given more than enough resources, such as health coverage and free college tuition. However many young adults are not aware of how to utilize them gA number of studies have documented the troubling outcomes experienced by many young people transitioning out of foster care. For example, “the Midwest Evaluation follow-along study of 736 youth exiting foster care found that at age 19, only 63% had a high school diploma or GED, compared to 91% of youth in the general population” (Lee 1) While foster care teens are given numerous benefits from universities, statistics displayed that only 39% of foster teens- compared to 59% of their peers- were enrolled in a higher education. (Lee 2) Once a young adult is kicked out of the system at the age of eighteen, access to resources is limited. They are unable to find jobs, complete life skills or even get an education. proves that the justice system needs to do more ways for these children in order to help them make something of themselves. Yes, people are aware that they do receive benefits, however not all of the young people who receive them know how to use them when they do need them. These benefits come in need when they try to apply for college or housing.

Young adults in the system deserve a chance in the world and should be given the opportunity to become successful and plan their future. When a young adult is aging out of the system they are not reunited with their biological parents or one family they more than likely become homeless after they are pushed out of the system. The government is trying to pass a law where foster kids of the age of eighteen have to be kept until they can live on their own and have all the resources they need, however, there are some kids who do want to leave and they often end up making bad decisions. Teens are not mature once they turn eighteen so it is not just for them to be kicked out of foster care it is hard for them to be in their own without any help. There are many resources to help with home get on their feet such as The Chafee Foster Care Program but they are limited to what they are able to do for these young adults.


Many CPA officers have stated that more children get put in foster care than separated from their parents that is an average of 400 kids a month which is more than what has happened at the United States border. So what does this mean? It means that every day children are taken from hospitals, homes, and schools some do not even know the reason why they are taken which is raising red flags in courts all over the United States. There are six levels of priory one being the highest and priory one must be looked into within two hours. While children are in the system they are not only suffering emotional and psychologically their pride, hope, and dreams are slowly fade the longer they are in the system . Imagine being bounced around from home to home without having someone love you or care for you. These children are strong and brave to be being through such a long and dark road alone without a loved one telling you it is going to be okay. The many kids who do get adopted end up getting put into an Adult Program that helps get them a job and a stable home so they are able to provide for themselves.

Overall a work program makes the young adults realize they can do anything on their own and that they are worth the time and the effort. These children deserve more than being neglected and beaten they deserve the opportunity to develop life skills and practice, to see what a home is and how it connects you to your future. Children should all have the opportunity to be in a home with a loving and caring family or at least surrounded by people who love them more than anything. Through all the troubles they go through the people who look after them should be evaluated and looked as if they are taking care of children. These kids need someone to protect them if they are hurt so they do not end up in the same situation they were in before. They should have someone fighting for them other than CPS.

Child Protective Services should be able to provide protection and support for these children they should not feel alone. .If the United States can undergo a Reconstruction period, so can Foster Care organizations across the nation. Furthermore, in an almost perfect child welfare world, children and families would receive services that decline the risk of maltreatment and prevent the necessity for foster care intervention. When maltreatment events and related risks inclined the need for foster care placement, children would enter short-term substitute care arrangements while the caseworker and family work together to resolve the problems which created an unsafe home environment. Children would be placed into foster homes based on the fit between the children’s needs and the experience, expertise, and abilities of the caregivers to meet those needs. Caseworkers would continually assess and support the development and well-being of children in substitute care while providing services and interventions to family systems to promote reunification, guardianship, or adoption.

A flourishing body of literature suggests kinship care (the use of extended family members as foster care providers) is an applicable option to promote stability and persistence for children who need foster care intervention. Recent research also suggests sibling co-placement advocates continuity, preserves family attachments and is beneficial to children’s foster home integration and placement stability. Interventions designed specifically for siblings in foster care appear promising to assuage problems commonly related to maltreatment exposure and foster care intervention such as emotional distress, mental health problems, and behavioral issues. Cohabited with these policy and programming innovations, brief, reliable assessment tools which rapidly and accurately assess the social, emotional and behavioral well-being of children in foster care are being developed to support caseworkers and service providers in their efforts to ensure children are doing well in their homes and communities. The deficiencies facing child welfare systems are significant, but not hopeless.

Through research and practice, we can improve child welfare and foster care services for children and families. There are many ways in my opinion that we can improve the system. One way is to prioritize the relationship. Research consistently suggests and points to the importance of relationship in uprising intervention effectiveness. With the high paperwork and cases demands, it is easily forgotten the importance of relationships and how they affect true change. Programs, activities, policies, and practices she is intertwined in a way that allows the workers and families the time needed to establish and flourish a sustainable, working relationship with the family. Another way is to integrate services. Culturally informed and evidence-based services that guide the physical, mental, relational and behavioral health needs of children and their families should be accessible and well-coordinated. Comprehensive integrated community systems of care can make a compelling positive impact in their lives.

However, as children are very important, teens who are about to age out of the system should be taken care of also. May is an exciting – but stressful – time of year for so many high school seniors. Graduation is approaching, college is right around the corner, and they’re largely getting ready to be on their own for the first time. It is both thrilling and terrifying for all teens, but for those who have spent their final years of childhood in the foster care system, the fear factor goes up a few notches. “Being removed from your home, whether your parents were abusive or neglectful or not, is tremendously traumatic for a child,” said Sandy Santana, Executive Director of Children’s Rights, a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of children in foster care. “He or she is dealing with severe trauma, and that affects every aspect of the child’s life. It’s no surprise that kids in foster care have worse educational outcomes than other kids.” (School, Lists and SignUp, 2019) He’s right: only 58 percent of children in care will graduate from high school by age 19, compared with 87 percent of the general population. And only 4 percent will earn a 4-year college degree by age 26. “It’s a challenge for most young adults to transition to independence,” he said. “But it is much harder for kids aging out of care.” Depending on the state, children “age out” of the foster care system between ages 18 and 21.

So, at a time when most young adults are still relying on family for financial and emotional support, plus a place to crash on school breaks, children aging out of care are often fully on their own. Older youth who are adopted from foster care are more likely to finish high school, go to college, and be more emotionally secure than their peers who remain in or age out of foster care without a permanent family. Yet many people question teen’s need to have permanent, loving families. Every year, more than 27,000 of the 400,000 children in U.S. foster care enter adulthood without the love and support of a permanent family. In most states, the cutoff age is 18, though it’s 21 in some, including in the District. The odds are stacked against these young adults when they age out of the system. For young people without families, a lack of stability and support can lead to difficulty in holding a job, finishing school and achieving financial self-sufficiency. They are likely to struggle with unemployment, incarceration, homelessness, and poverty.

According to a 2011 three-state study of young adults who aged out of care in the Midwest, by age 24: Nearly a quarter did not have a high school diploma or GED. Only 6 percent finished a two- to a four-year college. More than a third had been homeless or “couch-surfed” at others’ homes — often for at least a month. 75 percent of women and 33 percent of men had received public assistance to meet basic needs in the preceding year. More than half were not working. Nearly 60 percent of the men had been convicted of a crime. Most of us have the luxury of a gradual transition to adulthood. But imagine having no one invested in your future. Imagine, at 18, having to make it on your own with no backup. Imagine suddenly being responsible for your own housing, health care and life decisions with little guidance. Imagine trying to scrape resources together to attend college and having nowhere to go during breaks. One young man who aged out of foster care at 18 in Iowa described it this way: “All the support systems go away; without the security of family, many people fall by the wayside.” Having families can radically change the outcomes for these kids.

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Foster Care System. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved from