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Silent Voices- Foster Care
Transcript of Silent Voices- Foster Care
Silenced Voice Stories
The Need for a Voice
Recent studies show that foster care may not be a safe and nurturing place for many children.
Children are exposed to many risks, such as,
Adult criminal arrests
Foster care children that are either particularly minorities and lower- income have experienced deficiencies in mental health, substance abuse, education and employment.
Social Studies research found that children who spend a significant amount of time in foster care are a high risk of being found delinquent and convicted of crimes as adults.
University of Chicago study states, "Half of the foster youth had been arrested, over a third have spent a night in jail and one third had been convicted of a crime."
He was in an emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting and abusive place
Women who adoted him was 'A beautiful humanitarium' in the community, but at home, she was everything but beautiful
A daily goal to make him feel worthless; made clear that he was merely a check in her pocket and as a black male, he was beneath her.
Was severly beaten and excluded from the family
Women instilled her racist teachings in him and his non-black siblings, and taught them that his kind was the worst
Remembers painful experiences in the home- some scarred him and others made hi stronger
Restricted from home from hours before sunup and could not return till after sunset
Would sit on the porch and wait till the door unlocked after sunset
Lived in the attic away from family
Adoption mother did not care anything about him (what he did, ate, etc.)
Things became bad and the abuse got even worse.
By 8th grade, he returned to foster care system so someone could hear what he was saying and learn what happened
Realized he did not want to live in fear his whole life
Began to understand that abuse was not normal and he deserved better
"Unfortunately, a child's voice is often lost,
but it is significant for a child to be able to express their needs, wants and concerns-- equally important that we listen."
Foster Care Displayed in the Media
ABC Family: The Fosters
The Fosters, a hit show on ABC Family depicts two siblings in foster care, Callie and Jude, that were taken in by a lesbian couple.
There is much debate on the legitimacy of how the show portrays foster care.
Many find the show unrealistic since many underlying problems in foster care are not shown. However, some say the show hits on many realistic topics in foster care.
Issues such as contact with unstable birth parents, drug abuse, and various forms of child abuse within the foster care system are highlighted by the show.
-By the age of 19, only 57% of emancipated
foster youth have recieved
high school dipolmas or GEDs.
Health and Wellness
-56% of youth leaving foster care reported
using hard drugs.
The Voices of the Children
"My whole life, I wanted to hear that I was a wanted and special child."
-Regina Louise, Former Foster Child
10+ Years in Care, Over 30 Foster Home Placements
-Less than 5% of former foster youth graduate college.
-Employers are less likely to hire a former foster youth who have the similar qualifications than a non-foster youth.
-Only 40% of eligible emancipated foster
youth receive independent living services.
-Nearly 40% of transitioning youth will be homeless within eighteen
months of discharge.
-Former foster youth experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at twice the rate of US war veterans.
-More than half of children in foster care have moderate to
severe mental health problems.
Relationships and Permanency
-Foster youth are more likely than their peers to have marital problems, and are more likely to raise a child outside of marriage.
-Foster youth tend to be more socially isolated and have a harder time forming long term relationships.
-In one study, median earnings among employed former foster youth were just 59% their peer's income.
"The priority of most of my life was making it to the soup kitchen line on time. I remember waiting in line, wondering, 'Why do we have to do this? What did we do wrong?'
-Angela, Former Foster Youth
Quoted, Age 11
"I am a foster kid and I know what its like to get labeled and to feel different from everyone else. Most people don't care and they think you did something wrong to get here."
-Nikki, Age 13
In Foster Care Over 3 years
What is foster care?
A Unanonymous Story
The foster care system is a temporary arrangement in which adults provide for the care of a child or children whose birthparent is unable to care for them.
Foster care can be informal or arranged through courts or a social service agency. The main goal of foster care is for the child to reunite with the birthfamily, if possible. If reunification is not possible, a child can be adopted or continue in foster care until they "age out".
Some of the research collected is based on the extreme cases in foster care.
Although there may be many cases of abuse, and harm to the children, there are plenty of foster care families that keep safe homes for the children living there.
Many foster homes provide a safe environment for the children staying there. (There is no abuse or unfair treatment.)
Although these kids have a safe home to live in, they still encounter many adversities.
-lack of guidance or respect for elders
The children in foster care were brought into the system for a specific reason, whether it be because of parental deaths, abuse or incarceration.
Many times, the children who are moved into foster care are actually escaping the abuse from their old homes.