Essay about the System
I still remember that spring day, sunny outside but not yet summer; warm outside but, the wind was still there and the trees did not have their leaves on anymore. I was sitting with my older sister and older brother, we were all just hanging out inside together, next to each other. We heard three knocks on the door; first, the police knocked and addressed that they were the police, no one did anything; I could feel the silence all around me. The second knock was more aggressive and more of a shout, this is when my Biological parents came out of their room, but we all just stood there no one doing anything.
The silence hanging over our heads like a mix of anxiety, sadness, and most of all confusion. I remember the silence that followed that last knock on the door. The last knock until the police broke down the door and rushed in arrested my biological parents and took my sibling away from our Biological parents; my siblings and I were in a mix of emotions but, no one was there for us At that moment. I felt alone; I was six years old when I got taken and put into the Foster Care System.
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When we woke up that morning, we were not expecting anything to happen out of the ordinary. The Foster Care System needs more regulations and needs to be fixed; by addressing these issues such as social workers being overworked and underpaid, foster care kids not having the right resources for aging out of the system, kids being moved around a lot and the system does not enough homes for the growing number of Foster kids entering the system. Addressing these issues will make the system better in the long run and help kids that are having to deal with the Foster Care System.
The first issue is the Social Workers are all overworked and underpaid. This is a big issue and it does not just affect the Social Workers but, it affects all the kids that are on their caseloads. According to The Current, “The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2008 that social workers receive an annual salary of about $43,120. Their job description includes finding foster homes for children, assisting in adoptions, helping people who have health problems and mental illnesses, and providing talk therapy”(Sterkel). This makes the situation worse because with Social Workers being crucial people dealing with all of these problems and situations that go along with the job they cannot always do as much as the job asks for.
There are so many kids coming into the system as mentioned by KVC saying “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”(KVC). This illustrates how many foster kids are entering the system on any given day. Most people don’t think of this issue until a tragic case happens involving a Social Worker not meeting the kids every month as required. The system has to be changed and fixed so, Social Workers are not overworked and underpaid or so the children don’t get harmed because of their Social Worker not being able to visit.
Secondly, kids are not having the right resources for aging out of the system. Many people have recognized that going into the system is traumatizing and stressful for the kids, but not many people have mentioned how hard coming out of the system is, with not much. Some foster kids don’t even have parents, yet they age out and don’t have much support going into the real world. Because of this, kids are just returning to the streets and to poverty.
Helping our system also goes along with helping the kids that age out of the system that doesn’t have much support. According to Mashable, “Foster care has long been criticized for failing to meet the needs of children, from allowing kids to age out of the system without safety nets in place, to struggling to adequately support youth and families”(Dupere). This problem has gotten some attention to it but, certainly not enough. The whole reason for the Foster Care System is to help the kids grow up in a safe environment and with a safe and healthy life, without proper safety nets in place for the kids for aging out; it defeats the whole purpose in a way.
According to the Dave Thomas Foundation “Nearly four in ten Americans (39%), or about 81.5 million adults, have considered adopting at some time in their lives”(Thomas Foundation). With this in mind, it shows an idea that people have thought about adopting all these kids but, this has not happened as much as it should be. If all the rest of these kids are aging out of the system, there should be proper safety nets for these kids and adults.
To go along with this, children get moved around a lot in foster care and sometimes, not for their benefits. Not enough homes and foster parents are readily available for all of these foster kids. The opioid crisis has had an increase in the number of amount of foster kids entering the system. KVC has also stated “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”(KVC).
This is shocking, the most circumstances that the state can report, drug abuse and neglect has been the highest. With the increase of the opioid epidemic, there has been a major spike in how many children are entering the system. Lachman has also talked about this issue saying “Child welfare agencies across the country are doing heroic work, but they simply cannot find enough foster families to meet the growing demand”(Lachman). This is a major problem and it is affecting a lot of the kids in America.
With hearing this, it is recognizable that the Foster Care System has its problems. The main argument against fixing the system is the police are putting too many children in the system, to begin with; Dupere says “Aside lacking in adequate support for children in care, group homes also make little financial sense. Group settings are about seven to 10 times more expensive per child than placement with a family”(Dupere).
She is saying the system costs so much money having the Foster Care System in place but, not working exactly the way it should. The other part is voiced like this “As much as 7% of the prison population in the U.S. has spent time in the foster care system, according to Ron Haskins of Brookings. And 15% of inmates in California prisons have spent time in foster care”(Schaefer). Everyone knows the system has its problems as any system does, but that doesn’t mean that we should leave those children in the same homes as they are being neglected in; that would just cause more problems than just working to help fix the system.
Having more parents be able to foster the kids and having more foster homes available will help the problems. With dealing with all these issues, it will help make the system a safer, better place for children to grow up in and thrive in the real world. The foster care system is messed up but, it has already shown improvement from before showing we can do more and improve the system to make it better for everyone.
This can be achieved by addressing these issues such as social workers being overworked and underpaid, foster care kids not having the right resources for aging out of the system, kids being moved around a lot and there are not enough homes for the growing number of Foster kids entering the system. To have these issues expressed, there have to be people talking about these issues with the foster care system. To help with the problems, people can help by writing to our state legislator about these problems and concerns.