The American foster care system is leaving many vulnerable children behind

The American foster care system is leaving many vulnerable children behind

“I had plans for the future and I kind of ruined it,” he said from prison. “But how could I be a good kid with all the horrible things happening?”

The fact of putting a child into the foster care system can be deeply damaging for a child. They are removed from an already unstable home, processed by an overburdened system, damaged by being bounced from home to home, given a substandard education, and then turned on the streets to fend for themselves. This process can do catastrophic damage to a developing mind, and many kids wind up damaged adults who end up in the prison system. 

The Kansas City Star has started a series of articles on the state of the modern American foster system: 

The dysfunction of America’s foster care system goes back decades, but the situation has become more dire in recent years, The Star found. More states are under fire and facing lawsuits for how they treat foster children as the number of kids in care has grown. In 2017, 443,000 U.S. children were in foster care, a 12 percent increase from 2012.


Gerald Marshall is on death row at the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. TAMMY LJUNGBLAD [email protected]



Several states — including Indiana and West Virginia — have seen significant surges, some blaming the rise of adult opioid addiction. The rate of kids in Kentucky foster care has hit an all-time high, according to a report released last month. That has created a shortage of suitable foster homes.

“Forgotten and cast aside” is the way Julián Castro describes foster kids.

“Right now, our foster care system across the United States is in very sad shape,” Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told The Star. “There are a lot of things in this country that we just don’t accept. We shouldn’t accept this, and we have it within our power to change it.

“These children have essentially never had a first chance in life,” he said, noting that their “outcomes are so, so bad compared to their peers, it cries out for urgent attention and resources.”

Powerful stuff. Read the rest here



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