Olivia W. Wisconsin

Foster Care - A Broken System

The foster care system is full of many issues and those problems need to be addressed.

Dear future President,

Problems with the foster care system often go unnoticed by teenagers, adults, everyone. However, this is a big problem and something needs to be done about it. I personally am not a child in foster care, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care. There are probably students sitting around me at this very moment who are stuck in the system and I don’t even know it. Who knows just how bad their situations might be? Still, I can not make this change by myself, so it’s up to you to make the world a better place for hundreds of thousands of children.

Although the foster care system is severely criticized, there are still people out there who think the current system is a good one. They argue that there are a lot of families out there who treat their foster children well. The ones who are not publicized by the media shouldn’t be punished for the problems other people cause. Others fear that if a change is made to the system, people will stop fostering children. That could cause two things to happen: overload and lack of housing. There would be people refusing to be foster parents because of these changes and that would force social workers to find other arrangements for the rejected children. Some families would be forced to take on more children than they can handle. It would be complete chaos.

These are good points that should be addressed when making changes. The government can’t just let these poor children to continue being put into bad home situations. If these foster families really care about the children, they should be okay with change. The change wouldn’t be seen as punishment, but rather justice for innocent children all around the country. Also, the people who would stop housing children shouldn’t be allowed to have these children in the first place. If they are not willing to properly care for them, then they shouldn’t get the benefits of fostering. Most of those people are the ones who cause children to be put in bad situations; they’re the whole reason this change needs to happen.

This issue is not one that can be seen by looking at people; instead it’s a problem that requires you look deeper than the surface. A lot can be revealed when asking foster care children about their experiences. Some may have lived with caring families, but unfortunately many have not. One prime example is Logan Marr. This 5 year old girl was found suffocated by her foster mother through the use of duct tape. Weeks before her death, Logan complained to her social worker that her foster mother was hurting her. Clearly nothing was done about that because Logan was allowed to stay in that home. In fact, the social worker only saw her once every couple of months. Had the government done their job and protected her, Logan could have been saved. These issues are not just in the families, social workers are being loaded with up to 100 children they must look over. It’s hard to know everything about these children's lives when you don’t even have time to visit them all. Though, this makes sense because the social welfare system is very shorthanded and there are few options. Except, this doesn’t make it okay that there are 3.3 million reports of violence against these children.

Not all cases are as critical as Logan’s but research reveals the many issues concerning foster care. Not only are children abused, but they lose that sense of stability. Facts show that two thirds of foster care children switched homes at least 4 times during their time in the system. Half of those children moved 8 or more times in their life. These children don't stay in one place for very long resulting in these kids putting up a wall. Why make emotional connects when you could move at anytime? They don't feel the need to focus on one school because they could be at a new school the very next day. It's really hard to be successful when you don't have a place to call home. Researchers have found that foster children do not do as well later on in life as those who did not grow up in foster homes.

Instead of telling you every single problem that has ever arose in the system, it would be more beneficial to propose changes to be made. As of right now, foster parents are paid a lot of money to care for these children. The parents should not get a check until they have properly cared for the child for at least a month. This way the child is being treated how they would in a loving home and they are less likely to jump from home to home. Also, background checks should be done so that these children do not end up with people who have a past of abuse, alcoholism, etc. This would help make the homes a lot safer. On the other hand, the government should pay social workers significantly more for all they do. This way it encourages more people to be social workers and they won’t be overloaded. Each worker will have fewer children to watch over so they can pay better attention. These changes would make the world a better place for the children who are so unlucky to end up in the foster care system.

Foster care is undeniably a broken system and it’s up to you to make some real changes. Please remember that Logan Marr, or any other child who has been neglected in the foster care system, could have been you. You could be the little girl getting beaten everyday. You could be the starving teenage boy. You could be that child buried ten feet under because nobody cared enough to check on you. They didn’t choose that life; we owe it to them to help bring justice and safety to all.

Thank you for your consideration,

Olivia W. 

Sun Prairie High School

AP Lang and Comp 2

Advanced Placement Language and Composition students.

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