“What i Need is a Mom” by Conna Criag

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The article, “What I Need is a Mom”, by Conna Criag, published in 1995 by the Hoover Institution Press, underlies the welfare that implements the many denials of homes to thousands of foster children. The author’s main point frames the argument that America’s adoption and foster care systems are screaming to be reformed due to the massive private endeavors that enables the system to utterly fail. As a result, the purpose of this article is to address this issue in hopes to shatter the myths that foster children are “unadoptable” troubled teens and to decrease child-welfare, therefore there are no more incentives to keep free-to-be-adopted kids in state care.

Criag unearths how the foster care systems and adoption in America have sunk to a state of near catastrophe. She puts emphases to this issue when she tells the story of 10 year old named John, who lost tranquility of his childhood all due to the many years of waiting to find a home. We all have stories that may seem as if we are living in a dystopian novel, however John puts things in perspective when he had to undergo a drug addicted mother who lost her parental rights, and claimed to not know the father. As his childhood slipped away, all he said “What I need is a mom.”

Our nation portrays a lifestyle where we tend to focus only on material prosperity and economic growth. Furthermore this has been the greatest catalyst for causing the outrageous numbers in the foster care systems. Throughout the United States, 50,000 foster children are stated as free to be adopted but still languish for various long time periods in out-of-home placements, while other 40,000 children are not allowed to be adopted.

Solutions have only shown inhumanity due to money being the biggest motivator. To enhance this issue, government funding has only intensified the system’s failures; “Foster parents caring for four children equal the after-tax income of a $35,000-a-year job. The money is tax free” (Criag, 1995). As one foster care child put it, “Everywhere I go, somebody gets money to keep me from having a mom and dad.”” When there is an inadequate screening of foster parents, it opens the doors to rampant abuse, neglecting the youth, and unreliability of fostering for the right reasons.

Criag defines such a quandary issue like this one, stating that money increases the output and efficiency of competitive markets but fails to do so. For example, “America is already spending $10 billion a year on foster care and adoption…Federal dollars now account for nearly a third of all foster care funding” (Criag, 1995). Longer the system fails to locate children to their corrects homes, the more money will flow that refrains to benefit any child.

The structure of spending has molded a government with the body of non-electives and administratives who prevent social services to be rewarded nor be punished. This has enabled for there to be no stimulus or motivator to get the job done. Failure of the system has resulted in unmoral behaviors when children become victims of neglect and vacillating households. Furthermore the continued accumulation of foster children demonstrates that society is structured to choose profit over humanity.

In despite of money being a major factor that enables this issue to flourish, we need to look at the whole picture of how the countless, damaging domino effects within system are impacting the children physically and mentally. These children are referred to being “special needs”, however they only dream to have parents who can permit a life full of love and nurture. Since the only solutions involving the foster care system do not follow correct moral guidelines, the author begins to reveal the implications that can come from this fact.

For example the author tells a story of a two-year-old girl, Halie, who would not eat her diner one night. So as a punishment, her mother and mother’s boyfriend tied her to an electric heater. “Her face, chest, and arm were disfigured” (Criag, 2009). The two-year-old girl was hospitalized for many weeks before entering the foster care system. Halie reached the age 10, however her biological mother kept her legal rights as a parent. Though she did not want to raise her daughter nor give her up, the mother was given help by the law, whether that be for legal or financial needs. As a result, Halie spent 8 years from group home to group home, until she turned 18.

Throughout this story of a child who had to undergo searing, inhumane punishments, she still was not qualified to be adopted, all because “The financial disincentives to adoption and the legal and societal biases against it do not exists in a vacuum: they are rooted in the soil of victimization” (Criag, 2009). According to federal law, if a guardian still has their rights to parent, then “reasonable efforts” will have to be made in order for them to be turned down.

However, due to the government not implying specific regulations, any child in Halie’s boat will have a harder time to leave the system. This process has shown to beaten down anyone’s moral compass and will result in a lack of self-orientation. The poor structure of the foster care system has costed many deaths of children due to poor fostering or suicide. As a result, we must demand the rigorous attention to detail the life and consequences that lie behind the curtain.

Actions taken to prevent this issue, include private agencies that guarantee an adoption of varying races of children, such as Hispanic, white, black, and even various ages. According to Criag, “Private agencies for years have found families for all types of children” (Criag, 2009). Though these agencies are very costly, that range to more than $30,000, the outcome for the children is not only beneficial for them but for the system. However, my agreement with the author is variable, in some regards I do agree that diverse races are left out of the picture, however private agencies may not be the most adequate response for the overall issue.

While I strongly agree with the author that the foster care system is screaming to be reformed due to money coming in and out, which enables a blind side of abuse to the children. I find Criag’s argument not compelling to the least, but she rather portrayed a vivid image of the private agencies. She does not give any regard to the massive expenses that are required for them to flourish, nor does she acknowledge that the agencies are third more likely to be the victims of serious physical, emotional, and sexual abuse than in state supervised foster homes.

As a result, it is my belief that private agencies are in fact not needed to advance nor help the foster care system. Furthermore, the article, “Private Foster Care System Intended to Save Children, Endangers Some” published on December 18, 2013 on Los Angeles Times by Garret Therolf, paints a specific picture that gives the audience a glimpse at the other side, such as what the children and victims truly perceive and undergo in the foster care system.

When such an issue effects an entire population of children and even adults, at what point does this issue go from being humane to inhumane if so many lives are being negatively altered? The part of the article where Criag illustrates private agencies as a solution to the issue, it is rather distorted information to the public, and from my perceptive the matter seems to only be adding a myth to society and enabling false hope for the “free-to-be-adopted” children.

For example, according to Therolf, “Those agencies accept convicted criminals as foster parents…the system is so poorly monitored that foster care agencies with a history of abuse can continue caring for children for years” (Therolf, 2013). As a result, Criag’s article feels very bias in the fact that she represents private agencies as entirely innocent, with no consideration of the circumstances that underly this “solution”. These two articles contradict the argument regarding their policy that do not accumulate the same opinions on private agencies.

In the article, “Private Foster Care System Intended to Save Children, Endangers Some” published on December 18, 2013 on Los Angeles Times by Garret Therolf, the reader is given a completely different perspective to the issue. The article provides the reader with myriad amounts of facts and ideas regarding non-governmental organizations, more known as private agencies within the foster care system. The author does not sugar coat anything when he refers to private agencies “as bottom of the barrel as you can imagine” (Jill Duerr Berrick, co-director of the Center for Child and Youth Policy at UC Berkeley, 2013)., furthermore this enables the topic to be fully apprehended and acknowledged to the public eye.

The first author, Craig, adheres to her main point that the issue of the foster care system is due to the act of money flowing in and out from the governmental established laws. Furthermore, she believes the solution is to have a more stable security with the use of private agencies, that provided a non-government organization perspective.

The second article, written by Garret Therolf, countered this idea that the foster care system’s biggest catalyst to abuse and neglect within, is due to the established private agencies throughout the nation. He led the reader to the undeniable truth that the foster care system needs to be reformed not only through the use of money spent, but how the children are treated in all homes.

They should be guaranteed correct screening of foster parents who have good morals, no question. I found that looking at all of the evidence shown between the two articles, that there are more solutions to this issue. We should not be blindsided to how children are being placed in specific homes, nor should the system allow random “parents” offer to foster just because they expect money. We are impacting future generations, furthermore enough is enough. No more children should be hurt because they deserve a nurturing and safe home.

Works Cited

  1. Therolf, G. (2013, December 18). Private foster care system, intended to save children, endangers some. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-foster-care-dto- htmlstory.html
  2. Craig, C. (1995). “”What I need is a mom””: the welfare state denies homes to thousands of foster children. Policy Review, (73), 40+. Retrieved from https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/ A17301594/OVIC?u=onlinelibrary&sid=OVIC&xid=936d3d8d
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“What I Need is a Mom” by Conna Criag. (2019, Apr 19). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/what-i-need-is-a-mom-by-conna-criag/

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