Kyra T. Maryland

Dear Future President

Issues with Foster Care

Dear Future President,

As of 2014, more than 650,000 children are still in the foster care system. “Foster care is a system by which adults care for minor children who are not able to live with their biological parents. When parents are unable, unwilling or unfit to care for a child, the child must find a new home. In some cases, there is little or no chance a child can return to their parents' custody, so they need a new permanent home”.(fosterclub). These children never have stability in foster care, many bounce between different foster care parents, they separate from their siblings and others never get out the foster care system. The foster care system is broken, children age out of the system at 18, children often feel neglected which leads to jail and prostitution (runaway children) and many social workers are overwhelmed.

Gary Stangler points out, “more than 200,000 teenagers have aged out of foster care at 18 - often without achieving permanent family connections or those critical building blocks of support” (Strangler). When you turn 18 it should be a joyous time, but for 20,000 teens it means they “age out” of the foster care system.Aged out means, “they are put in the world without any housing or financial assistance”. Many of the teens have no family no support system and are basically homeless. One man, Adrian was placed in foster care due to his mother’s drug and alcohol addiction, he moved to different homes until he turned 18 (CNN). He struggled, living on the street and found ways to fund for college (CNN). During college breaks his roommate got to go home and spend time with family, Adrian had no home to go nor a family to see (CNN) . Adri an took college very seriously and worked nearly 60 hours a week to pay for college (CNN). Due to pressure and stress Adrian’s grades slipped and was kicked out due to his grades (CNN). Adrian argues, “we are not equipped to go through this world alone”(CNN). Adrian is right, after turning 18 foster kids shouldn’t have to go through the world alone, they need our assistance.

Many children suffer from finding their own identity due to not have stability in their life. Researches proposes, “due to a nationwide study of runaway youths, more than one-third had been in foster care”. Many of these foster children run away from their foster home and end up going to jail or doing prostitution. A variety of studies state, “that 30 to 40 percent of foster children have been arrested since they exited foster care. Over one-fourth have spent at least one night in jail and over 15 percent had been convicted of a crime”. (Ryan, Huffington Post). Many of these kids do not understand right from wrong and wind up in jail. The population of juvenile detention centers and jail are increasing, mostly with foster kids who ran away and some that were in the system. Researchers declares, “according to arrest records of juveniles arrested for prostitution- related crimes in Los Angeles County, 59% were in the foster care system” (Ryan).The rates of runaway children continue to increase and so do the rates of prostitution of runaway foster kids. We can’t let this children set themselves up for failure, because their life is way ahead of them.

Social workers are overwhelmed, as social worker they are responsible for visit homes and assesting the children whether it’s abuse or neglect (Westword, Stauffer). Rebecca Meyers, a social worker for child-welfare in Jefferson County. Rebecca Meyers was told, “Don’t get out of the car unless we say so”. Those exact words were given to Rebecca Meyers by a police officer (Westword, Stauffer). Being a social worker can be very overwhelming and terrifying, you never know what you're getting yourself into. Meyers was visiting a family that was reported for abusing and neglecting their child (Stauffer). Rebecca went into the home asking the guardian's questions and looked at the child for evidence of abuse and malnutrition (Stauffer). Each of Rebecca’s investigation were unpredictable. Her job began to take a toll on her life, and she left Jefferson County Human Services Department. (Stauffer). Rebecca Meyers is not the only social walker dealing with this issue, caseworkers have as many as 40-75 cases this is a huge crisis and needs to be addressed.

The system is still broken and children suffer from “aging out”, prostitution and jail rate have increased for foster children and social workers are overwhelmed.Without our help these issues with continue to occur and the system will continue to get worse. These children can not continue to suffer, we need to help in anyway we can.These children are lost, depressed and confused. None of these kids have a voice and we must stand up for them today.


Kyra Thorne