Two friends have frightened me into writing this.

One, a bright fellow & past executive director of a nonprofit serving at risk youth, the other a successful businessman that has adopted many children over many years. Both have good hearts and great minds.

The political fellow tried to make a life in the nonprofit world as an executive. He quickly realized that his nonprofit (and he extrapolated that most of them) could not make rational, sustainable decisions to create outcomes consistent with their mission statements.

That’s the long way of saying that most non profits are badly run in his estimation.

He left his executive position (& the nonprofit world) after continued disagreements with the board of directors and I believe, the opinion that nonprofits could not sustainably meet the needs of abused and neglected children.

The other fellow, a long time businessman, explained that his experiences with adopted children and government agencies were bad, and therefore government should stay out of the lives of abused and neglected children.

These gentlemen believe that non profits can’t fix the problem, and our social service agencies can’t help either.

What’s left for abused and neglected children if this level of failure in the non profit and social service sector exist?

Should we let these children just sink to the bottom (as in Jonathon Swift’s MODEST PROPOSAL)?

This is what Minnesota’s last Governor, Tim Pawlenty said to Andy Dawkins & David Strand when asked his opinion; “children that are the victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem, nor are they the problem of the State of Minnesota”

To start with, three million children a year are reported to child protection services in the U.S. (when there is funding and calls are being answered). Multiply 3 million by the next generation of abused and neglected children (this is a generational issue).

A lesson I learned right away as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem;

It may not matter how hard foster parents & adoptive parents work to cure the wounds from damage done to children in their birth homes, the failure rate of children aging out of foster care is still 80%.

I have tracked damaged children and the families that have tried to help them for over 15 years.

My heart goes out to all the people who try, and always, the child with developing mental health issues that must deal with the same type of serious PTSD issues that our politicians and communities recognize in soldiers but refuse to acknowledge in abused and neglected children.

The Chapin Hall study of 2010 shows what I witnessed repeatedly;

the mental health issues resulting from extended exposure to violence and deprivation (that were responsible for a child’s removal from the home) were profoundly more serious than average, caring people could deal with successfully.

One boy had 27 placements by the time he was 14. An 11 year old girl broke out of St Joe’s home for children to have 3 terrible sexual experiences by the end of the day, another family had to guard against the homicidal tendencies of the boy they adopted.

Violence experienced by neglected & abused children finds its way into that child’s behavior pattern if not dealt with in a therapeutic & professional way (in a timely manner).

I have witnessed stabbings, rape, and arson committed by very young children that were in need of professional help (but did not receive it).

From a community perspective it is impractical and expensive to make educators deal with the growing population of very troubled children (think Prozac, Ritalin, & other profoundly impactful psychotropic medications) and the effect dysfunctional youth have within the classroom.

Add the costs of building of more prisons (13 million jail & prison releases in the U.S. last year), paying more insurance (1.6 trillion $ in estimated costs of crime last year), and the concurrent deterioration of our home communities.

The Chapin Hall Study proves my experience to be true. Children aging out of foster care suffer the worst transition to adulthood than any other population in this nation.

By the time they were 24 years old;

Only 6% had completed any post secondary college degree,
25% had no high school diploma or equivalency degree,
60% of males had been convicted of a crime,
73% of females had been pregnant (many preteen moms)

Consider also that two states (NY & CA) pay over $250,000 per year for each juvenile in their juvenile justice system, almost all those youth graduate into the adult criminal justice system (30 years of incarceration over a child’s lifetime is not uncommon) & yet we don’t have the money or motivation to help a child lead a normal life.

It is more effective and less costly to treat mental health issues in children than after many years of established sociopathic behaviors.

Programs and policies exist that work to help children lead normal lives (they just need our support and attention – example)

Is it ethical to ignore these issues just because no one outside of the impacted community cares (as my nonprofit friend suggests and his political party endorses)?

Abused children have no lobby & no voice in their daily lives or their own future.

Is there a religion on the planet that would continue to abandon abused and neglected children?

What kind of people are we becoming when we can look squarely at the most vulnerable people in our community and agree that they do not deserve our attention?

Can any of us be ethical or religious pepole without supporting sustainable efforts to solve this great American problem?

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1 Comment

  1. I am very concerned about the foster care system. Their are parents who may not have been able to provide for their natural children.
    They hope to see them again only to find out their child had been wrongly convicted and now serving life imprisonment. I’ve heard
    Stories of foster children getting scraps while the families feed
    Their household pets better. I’ve heard of children dying in the system. Natural parents get the run around when they go and search
    For their child who is now of age. They say, “the child will find us.” These kids are took from their homes and placed in worst conditions. If the parent says anything the parent is pentlized
    Without visitation. It truely is a system where the workers can’t or
    Won’t say anything. Society wants responsible adults but they harm children by letting corruption happen in these homes. The goverment
    Sells our children off to state pens to be molested. They send our children off to insitutions to commit sucide. They send them homes
    To be destoryed and degrated. And no damn justice for our children who had it better in natural homes. Their was a time the goverment system did not butt into family matters. And only serve cases were viewd as abusive or neglect. Natural parents are looked down for being poor. Dosent our society thrive on the poverty? There was a time when parents could psyically discipline their child within reasonable means and that still is a written law. But now that law is not honored. If a family gets into the system they have to “buy their way out of it” am I correct? So gov’t corruption is better than natural parents trying to put order into their home?selling the foster children off to die is better than the family teaching them values. Foster care systems is a non profitable agency making a damn profit. I write this as a mother who lost a child to your foster care system and I believe I speak kindly for other angry parents! I write for all the low income parents who the state made a profit off their children. Well isn’t it crazy if real parents need a break but foster parents get the excuse to go on big and wonderful vacations with spending money that is supplied for the childrens clothing? Where’s the non profit at? Cuz these parents seem to make a good profit and still get food stamps! Then toss children out into the street when the check is more than 18 yrs in age.

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