The government shut down has everyone questioning the sanity of our so-called leaders. I have questioned that for some time. I am equally dismayed by commentators who use the shutdown to make remarks about America’s child welfare system, of which they have nominal knowledge at best.
“Journalists” who group together minors with others in the system are not journalists. Foster children, (children in the custody of their state due to physical, or sexual abuse, neglect or because of parental drug addiction) are a large piece of the child welfare puzzle. They range in age from infant to teenagers. Some stay in the system until they are 19, having never been adopted or reunited with biological family. Children should not pay the price for adult choices that put them in state care.
When we cut child welfare programs like mental health, food supply, schooling, medical resources; we commit a severe injustice against foster children and stunt the growth of our own society down the road.
When “journalists” and lawmakers push to cut funding, they do not just hurt adults, some who may or may not misuse the system; they also take food from the mouth of an already abused foster child.
Several hundred thousand children in foster care need benefits to have any chance of thriving. Benefits, such as food/education/clothing are given to foster parents until the child can be adopted, (if both biological parents lose rights) or they are re-united with family. Some children go through dozens of homes with many different guardians. Most, if not all, foster children need physical, mental health or academic intervention while in these homes and some for the rest of their life.
In a fair world, every single child would be born to parents who do not abuse or neglect. No child would suffer rape, molestation, neglect, abandonment or beatings from those who they should be able to trust. Sadly, that perfect world does not exist. Right here in the land of the free, as we speak, a child falls victim to abandonment and/or abuse. While we cannot create a world of loving, nurturing parents who at least provide physical security, there is a lot we can do.
We need to protect all children. Child abusers should be locked up, not coddled. When the legal system lets pedophiles and child abusers have several “chances” before they are punished, we are committing the highest atrocity possible. We need to provide much-needed resources for children in state care.
When benevolent foster families struggle to provide basic needs, America is simply turning a blind eye. Every single person in this country, no matter what hellish circumstance they are born into, deserves a fair chance.
Quality education, mental health resources, health insurance, nutrition, trustworthy mentors, and above all else, legal protection from abuse, is the only way this is possible. We need to keep funding all of these programs for children in state care. We also need to help well-intentioned parents get back on their feet so they can provide for their children and keep them out of state care.
These children deserve to become productive, happy and safe adults. They can be.. with the right resources, the opportunity to design their own personal success, and the knowledge that they are worthy.
Be on the lookout for my top ten list of child charities next week…
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- 5 Tips to Helping Foster Children Succeed in School (friendsofwednesdayschild.wordpress.com)
- Behind The Curtain (bessphamkriss.wordpress.com)