Monday, May 4, 2015

Our Foster Care System...

When I was asked to write a blog entry I had so many ideas, but conveniently in the news lately is Davion and his journey to adoption.  

Davion is representative so many children currently in the United States foster care system. They are older, not white, and present with years of challenging behaviors. These are the children my husband and I have chosen to parent for the last 10 years. So many youth and young adults will age out of our foster care system without permanency, without parents; one adult that they can rely on unconditionally. I have heard a statistic that for every 5 young adults that age out of foster care (between 18-21 years old; depending on where you live) 1 will be homeless, one will be incarcerated and one will be dead, within a year of leaving foster care.

I am not so naive to think that everyone who wants to adopt will go out and take in a teenager, hey some parents don’t even want their birth children when they reach the teen years, but please get educated, tell people of the atrocity that is our current foster care model, it is a system that was designed to be temporary, and it has become some children’s permanent parent. As Davion’s story so perfectly shows, many of us encounter children in care in our everyday life, who is going to be that child’s parent, who is offering that child an unconditional commitment. Let’s ask the hard questions, let’s keep our government accountable for the treatment of these most vulnerable members of our community. I love every one of the 39 children that have come through our home, some for a moment other for a lifetime. I know I am a parent to each and every one, even if a parent is not what they want in my house that is what they get. Someone to care enough to worry when they miss curfew, and then ground them, to ask how their day was, to wonder why they are happy or sad, sometime to even notice. For some of my children I gave them their first birthday dinner, their first Christmas that the gifts were wrapped by someone other than them.

Please read Davion’s story and know there are thousands of children just like him getting ready to age out of foster care today, tomorrow and every day. Let’s do better.

40% of foster children are between the ages of 13 and 21
50% of foster children drop out of high school
It is estimated that nationally a foster youth change placements about once every six n 2013, more than 23,000 young people— whom states failed to reunite with their families or place in permanent homes — aged out of foster care, simply because they were too old to remain.
The percentage of youth that age out of foster care increased, from 8 percent in 2003, to 10 percent in 2013.
Youth who age out of foster care are less likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to attend or graduate college. By age 26, approximately 80 percent of young people who aged out of foster care earned at least a high school degree or GED compared to 94 percent in the general population.
By age 26, 4 percent of youth who aged out of foster care had earned a 4-year college degree, while 36 percent of youth in the general population had done so
50% of young women previously in foster care will become pregnant by 19 years old
25% of young men previously in foster care will father a child by 19
3 in 10 of the nation’s adult homeless are former foster youth

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