I am really torn up about the plight of foster children in this country. Does anyone care? Please just don’t answer this question! I really would like to know what happens to the 5 billion dollars a year that this country spends on foster care? What is good about our present system? Why do we keep it?
I have watched as foster children come through the system and they have been sexually abused in the foster homes they are living in and the have not been shut down immediately. I have sat in court on many occasions when a Guardian Ad Litem is present that has never even met the child he/she is supposed to e representing. I have talked to adults that grew up in the system and had failed adoptions (more than one) and so many broken promises that they were a breath away from suicide. I know that none of what I am saying is shocking, and this in and of itself should be shocking. I know that everyone knows that this is the way things are for foster children, nobody cares.
Here are these children that by no fault of their own are taken from their parents. Whether the parents are good or bad, this is not the point. The point is that the children did not do anything wrong and they have to embark on a journey that akin to the “Trail of Tears.”
Our system hires people without any income source, puts them through some rough shod training, and allows them to take these children into their homes where they are not wanted, they are not treated with respect, and they are not regarded as special, 95% of the time. Our system is smoke and mirrors. The money available is just moved around from here to there without making any real impact on the lives of these children; it just holds things in place or keeps a lid on things, if you will. Seriously, case managers have 25-30 families at a time that they manage and no sooner does a child know who they are, they leave their jobs because of the pressure….a new case worker comes along and then the child may have to move to a new home and the cycle continues. Case workers are not familiar with their cases when they come to court…This is not the half of what can happen within the system.
The state of Colorado takes care of children that are born with mental disabilities. Essentially their parents are unable to take care of them so the state takes over the responsibility. The state picks them up for school and special programs, etc. We do not even offer a program of this caliber to the foster children of this country.
Why, I ask? Why can’t we try something different to take care of these children that do not have parents to love and caress them? Some parents ship their children off to boarding schools, boarding schools like Kent, where they are given impeccable care. Why can’t a foster child have this opportunity?
“They” say that it costs $40,000 a year to raise a foster child. According to California Criminal Justice FAQ it costs about $47,000 to pay for the care of an inmate for a year, and you hear all kinds of statistics about what it costs to raise your own child. I read somewhere that it is the cost of three luxury vehicles, or something of that nature.
My point is that I believe we can take the money allocated, right now, and make a better life for children that are without parents due to no fault of their own. I know that we can. It costs about $40,000 to go to a fine preparatory school in this county. I believe that this would be a far better opportunity for the foster children of this country than what is currently available for them.
I know that many people would argue that this idea has been tried before in the orphanage type system. This is not the same approach.
California Criminal Justice FAQ: How much does it cost to incarcerate an inmate?