Homes for Kids Real Solution
Foster parents and social workers from BC’s Ministry of Children and Families are professional and well-meaning people, but a life in care is not the best solution for BC’s vulnerable kids.
Children in BC’s foster care system are more likely to be hospitalized, on anti-depression medication, get pregnant, have respiratory ailments and die between the ages of 19 and 25 than kids from the general population.
These grim statistics were included in a joint report on the health and well- being of children in care released last week by Children and Youth Officer Jane Morley, and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall.
It was, in the words of the new Minister of Children and Families: disturbing, but not surprising.
This report was commissioned to provide some baseline data on the situation of our most precarious children. By gaining a clearer picture of children in care, as a society we can work to improve their situation and ensure that the tools given to foster parents and social workers are appropriate and adequate.
But a quick read of this report really tells us that the best place for most children is in a well-supported home environment – not in permanent government care.
One troublesome number that reminded me just how vulnerable these children are was the statistic that kids in foster care are eight times more likely to be on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
It is important to appreciate that children who end up in foster care have had, in all likelihood, horrific childhoods. They have most certainly experienced moments no child should be exposed to.
There are usually very good reasons that they were removed from their families and became permanent wards of the province.
These childhood experiences alone are probably enough to require medication
for depression and anxiety. Add to that a new environment, a new school, new
rules (maybe rules for the first time), new authority figures and it is a
wonder that all children in care aren’t medicated.
Is it possible to bring those numbers down? I don’t know, but as time passes hopefully we will have less children in care – and more kids in stable, family
The Province of BC has an active adoption program for kids in permanent foster care. These are children who have no one. They often have physical, emotional or developmental delays in growth. They have been, effectively, abandoned to a difficult, lonely and dangerous life.
A good family can make all the difference, regardless of the age of the child. Info about the adoption program can be found at: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/adoption/
This report shows that foster care isn’t a good, long-term solution for our
kids – we need to give our children real homes to give them a real chance.
(As seen today in 24 hrs)