Asher B. Arkansas

The Broken Foster Care System

The Foster Care system in the US is better than those of other countries but that doesn't mean it isn't broken

Dear Mr. or Mrs. President,

     I believe, from personal experience, that the foster care system is broken in far to many ways. My family began fostering children about a year and a half ago and we have already seen how broken the system is. In my county alone there are about three children in need of fostering for every  foster family.  Most of these kids will never be adopted and will either age out of the system at 18 or be sent back to parents who are still not capable of caring for them.

     First, kids are being sent back to families that can't care for them. I have had about 15 kids come through my house as either a long term placement or just overnight, but I also have a friend that has seen over 300 kids come and go. One group, a pair of twins, was sent back to their mother who was still using methamphetamine over five times between the ages of one and six. Another case like this was when a five year old girl was sent back to her single mother who had a 12 hour job at the time and was on her third job in four months. She also didn't have a reliable car or a plan for child care. One of the worst problems however, is how the children are treated. Thousands of kids each year are sent all around their states with nothing but a garbage bag to carry their few possessions. I believe that the way to fix this is to have a longer but still open rehab system and for a less lenient termination deadlines. The way to fix the way they are treated is to have the local DHS provide better supplies to the foster children. A quote by a woman named Joyce Meyer says, "If you can help a child, you don’t have to spend years repairing an adult." This means that instead of fixing a child's parents, we should help the child find a good family first.

     Finally, thousands of kids never find a loving family. Many will simply “age out” of the system when they turn 18, without a family and without the skills to make it on their own. In 2014, more than 22,000 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. This is huge problem and it has a relatively simple solution. All we need to do to fix this is to help prepare these kids for life after leaving the system and help finance them for a short time afterward. For example, the government could provide scholarships to two year colleges that would help them maintain a job post "aging out." Another way this could be fixed is by opening more shelters for the homeless and poor.

     The foster care system in the United States has been broken for to long. How can we as a  people police other nations and be a leader of nations into the future if we cannot help those on our own soil that need it.


A Concerned Student