Problems In The Us Foster Care System

The foster care system in the United States of America is and has been in trouble for years. The reality of the system is often hidden due to the fact that this is not a commonly known problem. If The Children's Bureau does not address this problem soon, it could become even worse than it is already. That being said I hope that we can all come together and help solve this problem sooner rather than later. This problem is far worse than some people may think. Some of the realities of the system show shocking outcomes as these children become adults and grow out of foster care. The original intent for the program was good and it worked for a good amount of time. But with the times changing and the population growing larger it can easily be said that the foster care system is outdated for today's time and needs to be fixed, amd fast.

Foster care is a system in which if the Department of Child Services sees that a certain home is deemed unfit for a child to be living in, they will take the child away. They are usually taken away when either the biological parents neglect the children or when they are not properly cared for and the environment isn't safe for them anymore. When they take the child away they are typically put into either a group home or a private home with foster parents. A group home is a home with a group of kids who are not put with foster parents. To become a foster parents requires a lot of paperwork and that is why there aren't as many private homes as there are group. Adults do not wanna go through the process of doing the paperwork to become one if they can just become parents themselves.

Children that are born with parents that are unable to take care of them or children that do not have family either a family or families here to house them are put into this system. While being in foster care, these children are often put into group homes while waiting for foster parents. While being in these group homes, children do not get the love and affection a normal child would because they are with a bunch of other children around begging for attention as well. With that being said, they can never get the knowledge of what being in a real home with parents, and siblings like other children do. Eventually when they do go into a foster home, it is usually not for that long before they are taken into another one. This is because usually the foster parents either give up or simply don’t want to house the children anymore because it is too much work. Social workers that place these kids are often losing battles because these children can be too much work so the foster parents give up easily. Another reason could be that they don’t properly take care of the children like they are supposed to do or they feel they are not capable of properly taking care of them. So the social workers have no choice but to move them. This can put a strain on children's trust issues because they can go and make friends with other kids but before too long they will be forced to leave and make new friends all over again in a different place. Also, with the fact that they could get attached to a foster parent or sibling and then have no choice of when they are transferred to another home. Not saying this always happens, but for a majority of these kids, they do not get the experience of being in the same place with the same people for a long amount of times so they don’t learn affection or love. Some children get put into great homes with foster parents and they might even get adopted. But the process for adoption is long and strenuous. Not to mention the amount of money it costs to adopt, the lawyers, background checks and a lot of paperwork. Adoption is a long process and parents of course want to give kids god home, but at the same time don’t want to put in the work.

The foster care system is outdated and needs to be updated to fit today's society. There are currently a little over 500,000 children registered in the system, yet only 3,000 foster homes available. This leads to the fact that there are too many children living in one group home that does not supply each kid with the regular necessities they needs. Along with the fact that there are not enough workers to work one on one with kids for them to get the necessary time and affection. It often goes to the reality that these children in these homes are sharing clothes that most likely don’t fit properly, old and worn out. A lot of the kids that are in foster care come from broken families or have had a traumatic experience so they need more attention than a normal kid would. Unfortunately, this does not happen and this is not the case. They tend to actually get less attention due to the overflow of kids. Most children in these group homes lack a parental figure in their life, someone they can look up to and aspire to be. The original purpose of foster parenting was to give the children a sense of a real family where they can grow up with love all around them, but due to the overpopulation, it is very unlikely that this actually happens. Thee country lacks in amount of foster homes with willing foster parents to take children in and grow up with them. Therefor not giving them the opportunity to grow up a normal child.

The original intent for the foster care system was for foster parents to give short term care to children until a family crisis can be resolved, then for them to return safely to their home or where a family can adopt them. This however, is no longer the case. Children stay in foster care for much longer than you would expect. The average time a child spends in this program is 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”. The problem with children staying in the system for too long is the fact that they can experience multiple placement changes throughout the years. The longer that stay and the more times they changes homes disrupts the relationships they can make with other people. It also doesn’t help them form healthy relationships with anyone. Reasons the child may be moved around from place to place is the fact that the provided foster parents are unprepared to meet the child's needs and expectations. The rules placed on foster parents are intense and another reason why there are only 3,000 foster homes available and over 500,000 children in the program. Some of the rules are ridiculous for example foster parents are not allowed to cut the childrens hair without permission. You are also not allowed to show kids faces on social media for safety reason, which is understandable. The United States foster care system is completely outdated and needs to be changed into something that fits with today's society and will provide more opportunities for these children when they grow out of it. When children age out of foster care they are not provided with proper resources to succeed in living on their own. unities for these children when they grow out of it.

Once a child turns 18 (some states 21) they are removed from the system and are on their own. A statistic shows that more than 30% of the current homeless were previously in foster care, “About one in five young people who age out of the system will become homeless. One in four will be involved in the justice system within two years of leaving foster care. And it’s estimated that more than 40% of youth who age out won’t complete high school” (Mashable). This makes a good point that this outdated program does not give the necessary requirements for the kids to succeed when they turn adults and are out of the system. Even children who aren’t in foster care aren’t ready and prepared to be on their own when they're 18 or even 21. There are acts in place where it gives opportunities to children when they “age out” if they ever get to that point where they are in the system for that long. But with these acts, most do not help these young adults in any way, they still are unprepared to be on their own in the real world.

Children in the foster care statistically have lower health. Most children enter the program already with serious medical, mental health, developmental, oral or psychoical due to trauma in their previous home. “Nearly 80% of children in the 400,000 children in the US foster care system have significant physical, mental, and developmental healthcare needs”. Given these statistics it is clear to see that children in foster care do not the proper care they need to stay healthy. They do not do anything to help with pre-existing conditions so most of the time they become worse. Typically kids with these servere of conditions need constant monitoring to ensure their well being, which they are not getting.

On the flip side, foster care has become a trap door rather than the safety net they need to help children succeed. States are overusing foster care to the detriment of children who could be adopted or whose families could be rehabilitated. Congress should give states more flexibility in how they can use federal funding and stop providing foster care funding on a per capita basis, which promotes this dependence. States should refocus on achieving the best outcomes for children. Among other approaches, state agencies should work with private-sector agencies and faith-based networks to find adoptive parents and guardians for children languishing in foster care.

The whole United States foster care system has its ups and downs, but mostly downs. I hope that some of the statistics stated help you to realize the horrible problem going on with this whole process. I believe this issue is a lot bigger than some people think that it is. These children need more love and support more than anyone. And putting these kids though so many different changes when all they need is one secure family is not helping them in the long run, and is in fact making it worse. They also need more medical attention than you would intentionally think, and nothing is being done about that. We need more foster homes to support the overpopulated amount of kids living in these homes, along with more foster parents who are reliable enough to hopefully one day adopt children to give them the love and support they need to succeed in life. 

16 December 2021
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