Systems are not in place to effectively care for foster youth while they are in the system, nor to put them in a position for successful independence when they leave the system. Aging out should not be an option for foster youth who have not been prepared to care for and support themselves. The outcomes speak volumes.
For Child Protective Services, implementing social distancing measures means much more than simply closing up shop or adopting new operational protocols...it means balancing public health precautions with the even more immediate threats to health and well-being faced by the children they serve.
The rising number of children in the United States foster care system means there is a need for stable homes for those who don’t have a place to go. Many foster kids are escaping poverty, abuse, and neglect when they come into the system. This means a positive foster experience is vital to a child’s development, health, and success. By allowing kids to grow and learn in a stable environment will ensure that they can become the person they were always meant to be.
I’ve had my breath taken away a time or two in this privileged life I’ve been given! As a child, I remember being outside on very frigid Michigan winter days, and the whipping wind would actually take my breath away. Standing on the sledding hill that we called "Bald Mountain", I struggled to inhale. As I trudged through the snow, hauling a sled (that was usually bogged down with a sibling or two), I remember feeling breathlessness, and pulling up my scarf so that my inhales would be filtered through the warmth of the damp wool.
As we drove down side streets, we wove in and out to avoid debris and poorly parked clunkers. I am great at small talk, and I engaged this girl relentlessly. She has been at House of Providence for almost a year and knows me well enough to know that resisting my chit-chatting is pointless.
The sun shining down brightly, sharply juxtaposed the darkness of the garbage bags that contained what was left of her world. She lethargically exited the state vehicle and walked toward our door. Her tear-stained face was mustering every ounce of bravery that she had left in her small frame.