Being warm and fuzzy about friends and family during the holiday season is the point of it all. Expectations created by our frenzied gift giving and guilt making culture make it difficult. No pointers here, just observations.
I was knocked out of my warm and fuzzy state by a neighbor of my most favorite in laws on our holiday trip this year. This neighbor (foster family) had worked hard to make a loving home for abused children that they hoped to make a permanent life with.
This family was stopped in their adoption by a single social worker. Instead the children went from their familiar and loving home to strangers. Based only on the decision of a single worker. My family members made several attempts to provide character reference and a good word for the family but were told that it wasn’t their business and to stay out of it. My brother in law was frustrated that there was nothing that could be done to influence the lives of these children that they had watched thriving in a good home.
We all know how critical it is for children to bond and begin the process of making a whole new self out of new surroundings.
For a child there is nothing more traumatic (aside from death) than being removed from your birth family.
Healing can only come from the rebuilding of broken emotional attachments and the redefinition of self that comes from family.
I compare removing children from a long term foster care home unnecessarily to re-breaking a bone after it has set.
Have we not discovered the mental dynamics of the healing process a child goes through to become a functioning member of our society? Do we know what doesn’t work?
In a recent national study, 80% of children aging out of foster homes go on to lead dysfunctional lives (drugs, alcoholism, mental illness, crime, no job). In Michigan (where this family lived) the governor stated that 90% of children that have aged out of foster homes were in jail or prison.
Our nation suffers from a great disparity in the quality and integrity of services and providers of child protection. There is a great cost in resources and lives by not caring enough about what happens to the millions of children that are placed in Child Protective services each year.
It is awful for a child to be removed from a birth home. But when it happens it should be the lesser of two evils. It is criminal for a county to unnecessarily break the bond a child has established in a new home because of a poorly designed Child Protection system.
I am an outspoken advocate for the guardian ad-Litem program. Give children a voice in their own childhood. It will go a long way in improving their lives and the dismal statistics that are so pervasive today.