Pecularities of Foster Care System
Foster Care is a system in which a minor is being put into a group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a “foster parent” or with a family member approved by the state. Instead of being safely returned with their families or moved quickly into adoptive homes many will be forced to remain or bounce around different foster homes or institutions for years. Frequent moves in and out of the homes of strangers can be really unsettling for children, and it is not uncommon to hear of children who have been in 20 or 30 different homes. Many have been separated not only from their parents, but from their siblings. Children in foster care experience high rates of child abuse, emotional deprivation, and physical neglect. Which is a bad thing for a child mentally.
Foster care might be a system that makes “foster parents to be go through a series of questionnaires and test to make sure they are stable and fit parents, but most of the times these children are put into worst situations then the ones they were already in so how credible is the foster care system. Charles Loring Brace is the creator of foster care.In 1853, Charles began the free foster home movement. Benjamin Eaton became this nation’s first foster child,In the mid 19th Century, some 30,000 homeless or neglected children lived in the New York City streets. Brace took these children off the streets and put them in a home with a family. Brace believed the children would do best with a Christian farm family. He did this to save them from the struggles they were already facing and the worse problems they could’ve faced if they stayed homeless. He sent these children to families by train, which is why the movement was called The Orphan Train Movement.
A lot of time has gone by since 1853, but has the foster care system gotten better or worse. Foster care doesn’t have a lot of stability, everything is all over the place. Horrible Foster parents exists everywhere. They run group homes. They are abusive physical. Abusive mentally. Drug their children with Benadryl or homemade sleep drugs. Even though not all foster group homes are bad, why aren’t the bad ones taken down, where’s the authority or the care for the safety of these children where is the time being given into ensuring a child’s safety. Every year, 20,000 kids in foster care are left to care for themselves because they are too old and no longer qualify for placement with foster families. Twenty percent instantly become homeless, why are they being Let go? just because they turned 18 or 2, What programs are being instilled to teach these young adults how to fend for themselves or how to be on the right track. Some type of information and recommendations needs to be given to these kids to at least keep them on their toes when they leave the foster care system.
Back to the point on group homes, they can be problematic for girls, even though boys are mostly put in group homes. Gangs are an organized group of criminals, they mostly prey on high-school students, and the average age of children in group homes was 10 years, so gangs will most likely try to recruit group home kids because those kids already are going through so much so getting into a gang might make a troubled kid feel more composed. Gang members can also be pimps, they can recruit young girls and make them do things for money, vulnerability is a big problem with most of these girls, they weren’t raised with unconditional love or anything at all, so these men come in and take advantage. On any given day, nearly 428,000 U.S. children are in foster care. They range from infants to 18 years old, and even up to 21 years old in the states that have extended foster care. The average age of a child in foster care is 9 years old, and there are slightly more boys than girls. The median amount of time that a child is in foster care is just over a year.
More than half of these children will be safely reunified with their parents or primary caregivers, and nearly one-quarter will be adopted, many by their foster parents. Over 20,000 youth leave the foster care system each year because they have not yet been safely reunited with their families or adopted, and are too old to remain in state custody. Many states offer independent living services to help these youth transition to adulthood. According to a 2017 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report, the number of children in the foster care system nationally has increased for the fourth year in a row. A similar report last year stated, “Nearly three quarters (71%) of U.S. states have reported an increase in the numbers of children entering foster care from 2014-15.
Why the increase? Most government agencies and journalists attribute the rise, in part, to increased parental substance abuse. Of the 15 categories states can report for the circumstances associated with a child’s removal from home and placement into care, drug abuse by a parent had the largest percentage point increase.
Neglect as a circumstance around removal has also been increasing. Access to substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, safety net supports, and other community resources is on the decline in many communities, making it difficult for families to get the help they need. In addition to the challenges that are driving an increase in demand for child and family services is another growing problem: there is a well-documented national social worker shortage. Particularly in rural areas, this can lead to higher caseloads for child welfare workers, higher burnout and turnover, and decreased quality of services for children and families.States are also struggling to recruit, train and retain enough foster families to care for the increasing number of children entering state custody.
This shortage of foster families can sometimes result in children having to move homes, change schools, be separated from their family and siblings, and in some cases, live in group care settings which are best reserved for youth psychiatric treatment rather than a living situation.Many of America’s child welfare systems are badly broken and children can suffer serious harm as a result. Some will be separated from their siblings. Others will be bounced from one foster care placement to another, never knowing when their lives will be uprooted next. Too many will be further abused in systems that are supposed to protect them. And instead of being safely reunified with their families or moved quickly into adoptive homes many will languish for years in foster homes or institutions. Despite the common perception that the majority of children in foster care are very young, the average age of kids entering care is 7. In 2016, more than half of children entering U.S. foster care were young people of color. While most children in foster care live in family settings, a substantial minority 12 percent live in institutions or group homes., In 2016, more than 65,000 children whose mothers’ and fathers’ parental rights had been legally terminated were waiting to be adopted.
In 2016, more than 20,000 young people aged out of foster care without permanent families. Research has shown that those who leave care without being linked to forever families have a higher likelihood than youth in the general population to experience homelessness, unemployment and incarceration as adults., 3 While states should work rapidly to find safe permanent homes for kids, on any given day children available for adoption have spent an average of nearly two years waiting to be adopted since their parental rights were terminated. Children and teens enter foster care through no fault of their own, because they have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and are unable to continue living safely with their families. The median amount of time that a child spends in foster care is just over a year. More than half of the children in foster care will be reunified with their parents or primary caregivers, and nearly one-quarter will be adopted, many by their foster parents.
Each year, approximately 20,000 youth will age out of the foster care system when they turn 18 or 21, or when they finish high school depending upon the state in which they live. These children are at increased risk of poor educational outcomes, experiencing homelessness, and being unemployed. How many children are awaiting adoption in the United States? Of the 400,000 children in foster care, more than 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted. I have heard that many children in foster care have “special needs. What does that mean? The term “special needs simply refers to children who qualify for adoption assistance ongoing governmental medical and/or financial support after adoption occurs due to specific factors or conditions such as: Being an older child, Having a particular racial or ethnic background, Being part of a sibling group needing to be placed together as one unit, Medical conditions, and Physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
A child with special needs should not be confused with a child who requires special education. I see a lot of older children in photolistings. Why would I want to adopt an older child? Imagine being a teenager grappling with the transition into adolescence and independence all alone. That is the situation facing thousands of young people who face aging out of foster care alone every year. These teens need support, guidance, and family now and for the rest of their lives. Are brothers and sisters always adopted together? In an ideal world, the answer would be yes. Research suggests that siblings placed together experience lower risk of failed placements, fewer moves, and many emotional benefits. Even when siblings have been separated in foster care, the goal is to find them a safe, permanent home where they can grow up together. Firestorms regarding child-protective systems have become sadly commonplace, occurring recently in Massachusetts, Colorado and Florida. Elected officials and the general public often don’t pay much attention to child protection systems until a child dies in a family known to the state agency charged with protecting children at risk. Someone having worked in both the programmatic and policy arenas to improve the US child protective system for more than 25 years,is sadly familiar with the pattern.
When such tragedies occur, political leaders express outrage. The media shines a glaring light on the various systemic holes through which yet another vulnerable child has fallen. Some may express outrage that the child wasn’t removed from the dangerous home sooner and placed in foster care the intended social safety net for children who are unable to live with their birth parents. However, such a sentiment ignores the fact that foster care harbors its own threats to the safety and well-being of vulnerable children. Children languish for years in foster care. In 2014, 415,000 children in the United States spent time in the foster care system. This system works best when used to provide nurturing, short-term care to vulnerable children until a family crisis can be resolved and they can return safely home, or until a child can be placed with a permanent adoptive family. For many children, however, foster care is anything but short term. The average length of time children spend in foster care is just over a year and a half. About 30 percent remain in temporary care for more than two years. In 2014, 64,300 children had been stuck in the foster care system for more than 3 years, 28,000 of them for 5 years or more. Languishing in foster care harms children’s wellbeing in a number of ways. The longer a child remains in temporary care, the more likely he or she will experience multiple placement changes and the disrupted relationships caused by such changes. Unfortunately, more than 40 percent of children placed in foster care are moved to a different foster home or care facility such as shelter or group home at least once during their first six months in state custody. More than one third of children who remain in foster care for one to two years experience three or more changes of placement, as do two thirds of those remaining in the system for two years or longer.
Studies suggest that as many as 70 percent of placement changes have nothing to do with improving the wellbeing of the children moved. An investigation by Sigrid James in the Social Service Review found that the majority of changes are made to implement policy and system mandates, such as when child welfare workers fail to place siblings in the same foster home from the start, and are later forced to move the children into a single foster home to comply with federal mandates. Placement moves also commonly occur when children are initially placed in a short-term foster home or shelter, and must be moved to a long-term foster home. In addition to such policy compliance moves, children are also commonly removed from foster homes because the foster parents were found to be unprepared to meet their needs.
A system with more appropriate foster homes and care facilities to meet the diverse and complex needs of the children in their custody could minimize these placement changes. The consequences of multiple moves. Disruptions make it difficult for children to form the kind of stable attachments that undergird healthy social and emotional development. This is an especially grave concern for children ages five and under – by far the largest group of children in foster care – given the critical role that strong and stable early life attachments play in healthy human development. For children of all ages, multiple changes in placements often lead to severe, long-term behavior and emotional problems. Frequent moves also contribute to other mental health problems and poor educational achievement, as children are shuttled from school to school. Moreover, each change in foster placement decreases the likelihood that a child will return home or be adopted.Children are often bounced from one foster-care home to the next. This means that too many children get stuck in the system, having neither their biological family nor a permanent adoptive family. In 2014 alone, more than 22,000 young people, ages 18-20 were discharged from foster care and sent to live on their own. Nearly as many were released with only a legal guardian to provide them with supervision. What happens to youths raised in our chaotic and dysfunctional foster care system? The outlook for most is grim, given their histories of broken relationships and unstable educational experiences. They are far more likely to become teen parents, be chronically unemployed, and spend their lives in poverty than other young people.
Moreover, recent studies have shown that young adults exiting the foster care system are prime targets for predators running sex-trafficking rings. In a study of youths held for prostitution in California, for example, most had come from foster care. A lack of political will. The problem is complex but not without ready solutions. Providing child protective agencies with sufficient funding to recruit, train, and support more high quality foster families would be a good place to start. Children are far less likely to be moved around when placed with foster families who are well prepared to meet their often challenging needs. More aggressive recruitment of adoptive families would help as well. So would hiring more social workers to ensure that children are placed in the most appropriate settings and to expeditiously move children out of foster care and safely return them to their parents or place them with adoptive families. Like other urgently needed repairs to the child welfare system, these measures require more funding to a system that typically takes a hit whenever state and federal budgets are squeezed. Changing this requires political will; the kind we only see, unfortunately, during a firestorm.