So i have been dealing with alot of shit lately, but i am still trying to survive and work and do whatever else i am supposed to be doing. it’s too much drama to go into stuff right now…
…..So, yesterday was super lame at work, because people were bbqing, so i came up with another list of Ways to Reform the Foster Care System… some i’ve written about before, but maybe they are super important. They are not in any order, because they are all tops…. Add yours if you feel like it!!
1) Stability and kids in the RIGHT homes
Keep foster kids in one or two homes! Match kids, so they don’t wind up with people who can’t or won’t handle the “issues.” Every time a kid moves around, they lose 3-6 months of schooling, self-esteem, caring, belongings, friends, etc. What this means is FIND foster parents who are equipped to deal with the child’s troubles. Don’t just stick kids “anywhere” there is an opening. Do you know how many times I heard my workers frantically trying to find “anywhere” to put me. “Anywhere” does not equal stability! fuck anywhere….
2) Social Workers
For pete’s sake…. REDUCE the workload so they can do their jobs. Workers are supposed to see the foster child AT LEAST once per month. With an average case load of 15-30 kids, how the fuck is that possible? Seriously? Hire more qualified workers, increase the pay and benefits, cut their workload, and give them more vacation so they don’t freaking burn out. Young workers come and go, because the burn out rate is so high. Sometimes these workers are the only stable person in a foster kid’s life. Their job is important. The system does not even treat it’s own correctly.
3) Foster Parents Need More
Foster parents need MORE training, MORE support, MORE guidance, and MORE education regarding the children they are going to care for. Most of us are not like your biokids— 80% of foster kids have behavioral or emotional issues and those issues need to be dealt with appropriately. Most foster parents get very little “training” about conditions and behaviors that foster children are labeled with. They may know the lables, but they don’t get how to care for the child and help them heal!!! Would you know if your kid dissociated? Do you know why your kid is hiding food in the closet? Do you know why your kid is shoving underwear down the tiolet?? Increase training and education, increase support.… require constant trainging and updating. Reward the foster parents that do.
4) Aging Out
Don’t kick kids out at 18. Shit, most non-foster people can’t function at 18 without a support system.. Do you really think kids without a support system and without an education or trade are going to survive? With no skills and no family = homelessness or = jail or = pregnancy or = drugs or = death. I read that kids today stay at home until 28 years old…… how do you think an 18 with nothing is going to make it?
5) Get Rid of Respite Care
This makes kids feel like crap. “Like wow, my foster family is going to Florida and leaving me with someone I don’t know…. I must be a piece of shit and not worth a trip. ” Do you send your biokids to respite care? “I am such a burden, they stick me with these people”
Respite care is another ABANDONMENT…. don’t fool yourselves.
6) Keep siblings together …..or at least make sure they visit
Work dam hard to keep siblings together. When you go into foster care, all you have is your siblings. When they are split up, it is another abandonment. If you can’t keep siblings together, make sure they see each other weekly at a minimum. Don’t place them so far apart that it becomes a burden… because things that are burden’s, people don’t do. Make it a requirement of foster parents that they bring siblings together. I never saw my brother again after we were taken into foster care. He went to RTCs and I bounced around in different homes. How hard would it have been to keep us in contact? Nobody cared, but i did.
7) Mental Health Services
Provide consistent mental health treatment for all foster kids. I should have been in counseling my entire childhood, not a couple months here, a couple of times there. Trauma is NOT healed in a couple months. Work to keep the therapist-kid relationship, even when a child moves homes. The therapist might be the most trustworthy person to that child.
And stop drugging kids. Fuck… if they don’t need medication, don’t force it. Trauma is not healed by medication!!!!
Medication is not supposed to help you control your child…. it is supposed to help the child. <<< Notice the difference!
8) Two Strikes and They Are Out
Two strikes and bio-parents are out. Enough of this 15/22 crap…. kids are lingering in foster care for years. If a bioparent is not working their case plan from day 1, strike 1. How long does a kid have to wait for their bioparents to get it together? Childhood doesn’t last a lifetime… and a childhood bouncing around foster care can affect a lifetime.
If a child is returned to foster care, terminate rights and push for adoption. Kids should not be shoved back and forth throughout their childhoods. Kids should not have to wait for everyone else to get stable for them to get stability!!
9) Camp with Siblings
Send foster kids to camp with their siblings. Give them a chance to get outside in nature and have fun with their brothers and sisters that may be separated or alone too. It keeps the bond and allows them to just be kids.
10) Let foster kids have a job
It provides a source of money and a source of self-esteem. It also provides a trade or skill in case the foster kid ages out with nothing. They will be able to get a job easier if they worked during their teen years. Having a job also teaches kids about money and how to save. Make the foster kid put a percentage of money in the bank, so when they leave foster care, they aren’t flat broke!!
11) Get every foster kid a mentor
Every foster child NEEDS a mentor, someone that is there 100% for them. CASAs or Big Brothers/Big Sisters work well. Studies show that foster kids who have mentors do better in life. Remember in a foster kid’s life, no-one is there for them 100%. Workers are overwhelmed and don’t have time to be a listening ear, foster parents have rules they have to follow and if a kid is just passing through, chances are the foster kid is not going to want to confide in “another” foster parent…. Once a mentor is found, everyone should work hard to keep that relationship available… even when the kid moves. Again, it is about stability and trust.
12. Give kids suitcases with combination locks
When i lived in group homes, i had lots of stuff stolen. It’s just something that happens in the heirarchy of group homes. If i had a suitcase with a lock, my stuff would have been kept for me. A suitcase with a lock also helps when you goto a new home and you don’t know anyone. you can lock your stuff in your suitcase before you trust the new foster family. most foster kids don’t have alot, but some things they keep for very special reasons. i had a collection of candy wrappers from different foster homes. they were a way for me to remember …. when i got older they got destroyed by some mean group home bitch who did it just to hurt me. if i had a suitcase with a lock, i would still have those candy wrappers today.
I’ve written others before, but these are what I got now… you all know the statistics of kids that age-out or spend long years in foster care… it’s not good.
how can an idiot like me see what needs to be done, but all the people in charge of the system don’t see a dam thing. blind or blinders?