Dear Future President:
For a teenager, there is nothing more tormenting than feeling unwanted and displaced in this world. According to Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, there were about 415,129 children in foster care as of 2014. From 2012 to 2014 the there was a 4% increase. The numbers may seem insignificant to some people or others might argue that it’s “not as high enough to be an issue.” However, the Foster Care system has issues that negatively affect foster children. Foster children are often moved from family to family never being able to settle into a permanent home. Many of the homes that are part of the foster care system are abusive.
There are cases where a family wants to take in a foster child for the federal money and ends up neglecting them of proper care. For example, in the 2013 Court Oregon Case of James Mooney, Mooney was found guilty of molesting and neglecting several of the children in his and his wife’s care. Although it sounds like a tragic tale this is actually one of the fortunate cases where there was a good outcome. The Oregon Department of Human Service was able to shut down Mooney’s ability to further foster and cause harm to the children placed in his care. In many other cases, foster children are left to suffer in silence with years of unfair treatment from their foster caregiver without DHS or Child Protective Service discovering the terrible ordeals that foster children undergo. According to AFCARS, 1 out of 4 will experience PTSD. The disorder is suspected to be caused by the violence and abusive treatment these children witness first hand (The Harvard Crimson).
Promises 2 Kids reports that only 50% of foster children receive a high school diploma. Only 10% will attend college with only 3% of those actually receiving a college degree. These are frightening low rates of foster children going to college. This shows that too many foster kids were unable to receive the proper help and resources they needed to pursue the higher education. They need a higher education to make a living on their own after leaving the system when they become 18.
Neglected, unfairly treated, and exploited, most of these children suffer every day. After all that they must undergo, most foster children end up growing up but never getting adopted by the loving family that they desperately seek. Young talents, lost talents, and diamonds in the rough. Currently, the system's process allows abusive homes to exploit foster children and are ineffective in getting them adopted. They are at a huge disadvantage.
As the president, if you were to give these children who are suffering in silence your voice we will be able to have the whole nation’s attention. Awareness needs to be raised, and this should be a focus issue for the upcoming year. Policies regarding stricter and more frequent inspection by the foster care system need to be installed. The system needs to be re-evaluated to ensure that foster kids are not being abused at home and that their academic performance is not falling behind. Resources need to be available and targeted specifically to these children to keep them on track. Possibly a new tutoring or financial aid program specifically for foster children could be created.
“Our nation is great because we are loving, kind, fair, and welcoming,” my mom always tells me. It is our duty as Americans and as a nation to acknowledge those who are suffering in silence. Those who have no voice or control over their own life because they were not as fortunate enough to be given a decent roof to live under need our attention. We are taught in school to serve and reach out to those in need, a task that could be identified if we are willing to open our eyes and look next door.