Dear Mr. /Madam President,
My name is Hailey and I have two little brothers who I love very much. They are both adopted. The youngest we adopted at birth. However, my other brother, who is a teenager, like me, has been a foster kid. This system has put him in traumatic circumstances and corrupt situations that will have a lasting impact. This personal experience of seeing the hardships that my brother has had to go through tells me that there is something wrong with this system.
I think that there are way too many kids in the foster system and not enough stipulations on who can take care of these children. As of 2014, there were 415,129 children who did not have a permanent home or parents to love on them (AFCARS). Nearly half a million kids in your country are in a system that may not have their best interest at heart, and many of these kids will get out of the system when they’re 18 without a permanent family. This is a problem and a situation that needs to be addressed.
The problem of the corrupt foster system could be a result of there not being enough parents to take care of these children. When my parents decided they wanted to become foster parents, they had to go through extensive training and classes. Although this may have been time consuming, I do believe it was necessary. These classes that are hosted by your county help prepare foster parents for the possible problems and situations that might occur. So to help solve the problem of our children without homes, we need to make these classes more accessible. There should also be a place where parents can get help too. According to childwelfare.org a parent shared that there were still several conflicts that arose while raising someone else’s child. In a situation like this, the parents need someone who can give them advice so they can avoid making the conflict worse.
On the other hand, it has also been reported that there are foster parents who may not have good intentions. The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence found that approximately half the kids surveyed had been victimized in some way. When a parent decides to bring a foster kid in their home, they must have this child’s wellbeing as the first priority. To help make this possible, the county will give money to the family to help provide for the kid. The problem is that some parents will still neglect these kids and use the money for themselves. With this neglect also comes cruelty and traumatic experiences for the child. This lack of quality parenting is one of the reasons that less than 3 percent of foster kids will graduate college. Only half will even be employed when they are 24. As well the chart below shows that kids who age out of the foster system without a family are likely to go through so many more struggles in life. If you are compelled to change this we need the social workers, who are required to take care of the children, to make sure that the kids are getting the best possible care they can. Oprah Winfrey, who is an adoption advocate, says “My wish is that children be treated as people, and not as property; that their rights as human beings on the planet, to food, shelter, education, and health, be taken seriously.” If a foster parent’s intentions are proven corrupt then they need to make sure the child has a better and safer home so that they at least have a chance.
The opposition may say that at least these kids aren’t living on the streets. I find that to be appalling. One would have to agree that there are many more building blocks that are needed for a young person to succeed in our society. A child needs more than just a roof over their head and a few ragged old shirts to wear. They need a caring individual to guide them and show them where to go. That need someone who is going to stand up for them and be their advocate. A girl needs someone who loves her to walk her down the aisle one day, and a boy needs his dad a dad who will teach him how to tie a tie. It’s the little things that create a happy childhood. A young lady shared her story on childwelfare.org, from the age of 9 she has been moved around to may foster homes. A total of 13 by the time she was 18. But it only took one willing mother that finally made her feel loved. When her own mother had abandoned and abused her she found someone she can trust. That is why foster parents are so important and need to be taken seriously. They are doing a hard job and the government needs to make sure that they are doing it to the best of their abilities.
I thank you for reading my letter and taking the time to consider it. I hope that you will begin to realize the faults in this system. This way the kids in our country are getting the best possible care they can have. This way, they have an equal opportunity to do something great and become who they want to be. Without this, we are letting a generation pass by without reaching their potential.