Wednesday, April 21, 2010

America's Children

Foster, it means to support, to encourage, to sustain, to cherish. It's very first meaning was to feed or nourish. That seems pretty simple.

There are more than half a million children and youth in the U.S. foster care system, a 90% increase since 1987.

Three of 10 of the nation’s homeless are former foster children.

A recent study has found that 12-18 months after leaving foster care:
27% of the males and 10% of the females had been incarcerated
33% were receiving public assistance
37% had not finished high school
50% were unemployed

Children in foster care are three to six times more likely than children not in care to have emotional, behavioral and developmental problems, including conduct disorders, depression, difficulties in school and impaired social relationships.

Some experts estimate that about 30% of the children in care have marked or severe emotional problems.

Various studies have indicated that children and young people in foster care tend to have limited education and job skills, perform poorly in school compared to children who are not in foster care, lag behind in their education by at least one year, and have lower educational attainment than the general population.

80% of prison inmates have been through the foster care system.

Children are 11 times more likely to be abused in State care than they are in their own homes.

Children died as a result of abuse in foster care 5.25 times more often than children in the general population.

All a kid needs is one person to hang onto. One person to see them. To listen. To care. To show up. Consistently. One Person. That's what I believe.

Maybe I'm naive, but I think in a country like ours, we can do better. We must. These kids don't belong to somebody else. These kids belong to all of us. They are America's Children.

They ARE America.

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