“I am 16 and in the foster care system in Washington. I have been through 17 different placements in 4 years. Turning 18 is the scariest thing that is going to happen to me.

Also my Social Worker is trying so hard to get me out of the system before i turn 18 so i don’t get aged out. i really have hated the system.

But dont blame the social workers, they are doing as much as they can they have 27-30 cases per person and that isn’t per kid that’s as a whole. that’s allot of kids. if you want to blame anyone blame the Federal System, they did it to us.”

This note arrived this morning in my inbox.

As a guardian ad-Litem, I witnessed unfair treatment of children already in pain from exceedingly damaging home lives. One child had almost thirty foster homes before he aged out of the system (he has AIDs now).

Other than the federal “Imminent Harm Doctrine”, there are no protections at the federal level for children in America.

As I have traveled the states, I see how some states have almost no safety net for abused and neglected children.

America, please wake up and show some kindness to the weakest and most vulnerable among us. We will all be the better for it.

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13 Comments

  1. Children are bounced from home to home. They are literally thrown out to the wolves at age eighteen with no transitional skills. Interesting fact – many schools have transitional programs in place for mentally challenged young adults. These students are matched with coaches and classes that teach them daily living skills such as balancing check books, assistance with appropriate job placement and training, budgeting, and more. Wouldn’t it be great if transitional programs such as these became the norm for foster children about to “age out” as well?

  2. I may be able to help with respect to getting kids into college and staying there successfully.
    I can also give a talk on how the Asperger’s population can significantly improve and be successful at a job or in college. I will use video clips of teens and their process. This may be part of a fund raiser for you.

  3. When the foster care system is over 100 years old and broken down as bad as it is there is no fixing it.

    The only way to make the foster care system work… is to shut it down, and rebuild it from scratch. Using the many of us who were lucky enough to survive and learn what is actually going on in the system. Not just what the government tells others. We know better then anyone…

    Out of 32 kids I knew and grew up with from care… there is two of us alive today. Not from old age… but from being institutionalized after years of abuse in the foster care system.

    Taking from the many many many failures of the foster care system…and the tragedies it creates daily.. is also the only way to ensure foster care doesn’t break down again.

    But in order for this to happen and the system to actually work and not as a band-aid solution… people have to do it… and not for a paycheck…. as long as foster care benefits everyone but the children it will always be an epic fail.

  4. This posting reminds me of another recent posting about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) on a different website. Our welfare and foster care system is antiquated and broken and needs fixing. More often than not decisions are based on the needs and capacities of the adults and not what’s best for the child(ren). Their is a mistaken belief that reunification is always in the best interest of the child when it may not be. The notion that blood equals love is a false notion and must be removed from our family court and welfare system. Precious months go by in wait and see attitudes when children should be in the process for adoption and placement in stable home environments. American families seek out of country adoptions because the system in this country is too cumbersome and too costly. Enough already. We are long overdue for a change.

  5. As a Child Foster Care Licensing Social Worker, I believe establishing permanency to be a key & essential to focus on for every child placed in the foster care system. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb – most children/youth placed in foster care do not have permanency established by the time they emancipate out of foster care and this is the scary as these youth do not have a family to be part of once they leave the foster care system. Here is some 2008 data I obtained from the above source:

    Type of placement settings of children in foster care:

    Pre-Adoptive Home 4% (17,485)
    Foster Family Home (Relative) 24% (112,643)
    Foster Family Home (Non-Relative) 47% (217,243
    Group Home 6% (9,122)
    Institution 10% (47,165)
    Supervised Independent Living 1% (5,217)
    Runaway 2% (9,766)
    Trial Home Visit 5% (24,358)

    For those of you who work in the child foster care system, lack of permanency needs to be seriously focused on in addition to assisting youth with obtaining necessary transition skills. It is through having a supportive & loving family to depend on that these youth will have someone to turn to in a time in need.

    Consider these facts, which I obtained from a 2005 Minnesota report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services :

    Characteristics of Children. Overall, children who moved to permanent living situation were younger (average age 9.3 years) compared with those who had not achieved permanency (14.1 years). There was not great dissimilarity in ethnicity between the groups: 44 percent of each group was white; a slightly larger percent of the permanency group were African American (34 percent vs. 28 percent) and a slightly smaller percent were American Indian (16 percent to 22 percent). Similar percentages of the two groups of children were related by blood to their caregivers (38 percent of the permanency group compared with 34 percent of the non-permanency group). Of caregivers related to the children, half were their grandparents.

  6. The Princple issue is stright forword, Goverments can not fix this, this is a socity issue and one that well take something more then Allowing Goverment agencies to break God Given rights of the parent- Yes the PaRENT, BECAUSE currently Texas haS OVER 300,000 children in care. 85% of them are there due to false allegations and currupt goverment policy called Capta- that aonly allows Gov fund to be given to the agency if they have in there care 3 x more children in there care then the previous year. include donation such as the 3 M to Colleen County Texas to CASA where the DA is required to set on the Child Advacacy Center board, lets talk about the issue of care in the system in Texas from 2002 50 2008, Over 3700 children have died in the system,
    that more children dieing in Texas then deing in Iroq ! A war zone!
    we can go on and on about these issues but lets talk solutions
    lets return to non profit care and investigation, there are more then enough laws to protect children, just train police officers to enforce and allow social workers to only care for the children remove from them the power of judge and exicutioner- as is the cae in so many court hears that are held in private and with out due process!

    Then once you remove 85% of the children from the system that do not need to be there, as in they want to return home and where removed for no reason other then dirty dishes in the sink, then we have more then enough social workers and foster home for every one!
    lets not even get in to the racve issues that exist in DHS and foster care system

  7. Most of the 50 children I worked with as a guardian ad-Litem were horribly abused by their parents and desperately needed to be removed from their birth homes. Without the help of the community (neighbors, social workers, teachers, medical personnel) these children would continue to be sexually abused, beaten, and murdered. And yes, I have been called by reporters about murdered children.

    One seven year old had been kicked so hard by her sexually abusive parent that she went into convulsions, another was tied to a bed, sexually abused, starved, and left alone for days (ages four to seven – he has HIV AIDS now).

    The God given rights of abusive parents argument did not work for these children.

    Their were no children in my case load that did not need to be there.

    We know the system needs training, resources, and improvement.

    At Risk children deserve our attention and support in many ways. Removing the structure that exists today would only make life more cruel and unlivable for them.

    Let’s try harder to improve the lives of abused and neglected children and support the people, programs, and policies that improve their lives.

  8. I work with children birth to age six and their families. I have seen severely depressed infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. I have worked with a preschooler who was removed from her biological home for abuse and then was found to be abused in her foster home.

    I have seen children being passed from biological relative to biological relative because the family felt it was their responsibility (not necessarily because they truly loved or cared for the child), but meanwhile the child never knew where home was and who to trust and who really loved him.

    I have seen multiple reunification attempts before a child had reached his fourth birthday. Although he could not articulate it, through his behavior the child was questioning whether his mother really cared about him enough to get her act together to be able to get him back permanently. And meanwhile his chances for stability and a positive mental health outcome were diminishing rapidly. (I have seen this happen over and over again!)

    Over and over again the system rules in favor of the adults needs and desires and what misguided judges think is “in the best interests of the child.” Enough!

  9. Even with different foster care system, countries are facing same kind of problems. Is there any work (study, research) about how young people are leaving care system? Or, when they reach 18, they just have to be independant? As it is noticed in Europe, it’s more and more difficult for young to become independant, they stay at home with their parents longer than before. It should be normal to help young people turning 18 in foster care to be helped for some years, just in order for them to become fullly independant….

  10. Foster care can be awful or it can also save children’s lives; but it is not the real end solution. What is needed are ways to help people learn to parent in better ways, so that kids don’
    t get abused and neglected and end up needing to be protected by being taken away from parents who are maltreating them. Kids end up in foster care because their caretakers abuse and or neglect them. Kids that are raised in caring, emotionally healthy families, who now what children need to grow up healthy and safe, do not end up being removed and placed in care. It is not “the system” or the state or the government who should be blamed; the real blame belongs to parents who abuse and neglect kids and place them at risk.
    But is hard for kids to hold their family members responsible and accountable. Its easier to blame “the system”.

  11. I am now 13 year old girl I have been in the system since I was 7! I move to this contry when I was three when I came her my mom was married to this guy my sibling was already here and a year went by and it was fine the next year it all changed my sibling got sexually abused by my stepfather and I think I did too I don’t know I don’t. Reamber I don’t want to remember! I have been in 7 different homes since being in custody I hate my life but I can’t make it better know mater how much I try I only get very good grades because of my half brother he means the world to me some day I will be with my mom again dcf does not understand anything they don’t get that my mother was an amazing mother she did nothing wrong it was him it was him she is not with him she is trying soo hard to be a good mother but they are not listening to her I love and miss her soo much! I wish I could see my brother again I would do anything but it’s all over..

  12. Late to the table on this but “the system” all across the country seems to have some big challenges. While kinship placement is preferable many times there are no viable kinship placements possible for any number of reasons – fill in the blanks – I’m sure we all can. Sadly too some kids these days have learned to “work the system” to the detriment of others who just need a safe place to be. When in grad school I did a field assignment working with domestic violence and one father in the group shared often about his son who would threaten him with calling CPS…sadly, this father was not able to complete the program because he and that son got into a physical fight and the Dad ended up in jail which automatically took him out of this program. I also learned about a group called ORPHAN FOUNDATION OF AMERICA – Fsoter Care to Success – located in Sterling, VA. This program stays in the kids futures, encouraging them to seek further education, whether trade school, various certifications, 2 yr or 4 yr college programs. Too I think many have seen foster parents who really are in it to help kids who need a safe place to stay but sadly too there are those who are in it for the money and they DO know the system too when they tell you what LOC/LON kids they want….where are more of the ones who really are in it to help the kids?

  13. Hi i live in foster care right now in florida. I cant live in the system for much longer… I am 17 and i dont know to live my life i have lived in fear of my own family since my dad was sent to jail. I cant do this anymore i have been charged since i have been in foster care and no one want to take me into their home after they read why i have been in foster care i feel unwanted ever fay i live in my hellish life i wish people just knew how kids feel when we are just unwanted children in the system.

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