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Transcript of Foster Care
What is it?
Often the families of foster children face issues such as illness, alcohol or drug addiction, or homelessness. Children are placed with licensed foster families, relatives, or in group care facilities while social workers and judges work with their families toward safe reunification or another permanent living situation.(Treehouse)
Charles Loring Brace began foster care in the US in 1853 to help the nearly 30,000 homeless children in New York at the time.
History of Foster Care
On September 30, 2012 there were an estimated 399,546 children in foster care (Child Welfare)
Foster Care Statistics
The good and the bad
"a temporary living arrangement for abused, neglected, and dependent children who need a safe place to live when their parents or another relative cannot take care of them." (Treehouse)
Why does a child go into foster care?
Basically, if a child has no relatives who can take care of them, and the parents can't, they are put into foster care while the parents try to get back on their feet.
While initially the foster care system was somewhat similar to indentured servitude, it did do the job of getting children off the streets.
During the early 1900s, states began to put the needs of the child first, and began inspections of homes and licensing of foster parents. In addition, ways for the children to reunite with their natural families were established.(Adoption History)
Charles Loring Brace
A quarter of foster care children are in relatives homes, while half are in nonrelatives homes.
Downsides to foster care
Children are removed from their families, and sometimes put into a strangers care, which is emotionally difficult for the child.
A small percentage (estimated 1.5 %) of foster parents are abusive to their foster children (Child Welfare) This is about 2500 of the ~160000 in foster homes.
However the public perception of foster homes is that they are not safe places to be. This is generally incorrect.
Misconceptions of Foster Care
Foster parents are doing it for the money. The amount paid to foster parents is generally between 10-30 dollars per day, increasing as the child gets older. This is between 300-900 dollars per month, not enough to make much profit. (U.S. Congressional Research Service)
Foster parents are abusive. As previously stated, not generally true. News stories exaggerate public's perception.
What does it take to be a foster parent?
Varies state to state, but generally requires ability to support oneself or family and a clear background check.
Also, ones home is inspected for suitability for the child. In some states, training is required in order to accept foster children. The amount of training depends on the needs of the children. (AdoptUSKids)
Alternative Solutions to Foster Care
Occurs when foster children turn 18 and age out of the system.
About 65 % who emancipate have nowhere to live.
51 % are unemployed
In California former foster children are less than .3 % of the states population, but compose 40 % of the people in homeless shelter. (Children Uniting Nations)
How Foster Care Relates
A lack of strong community is one of the causes of foster care existing. The more tight-knit a community is, the more likely that foster care would be unnecessary, as other social supports would provide the child with what it needs. A strong community also helps keep parents accountable for the way they treat their children.