--> Getting It Right: Homes for Kids Real Solution

Friday, September 29, 2006

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)


At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Larry said...

Many foster places is a industry, money getting, of course not all. The ideal and mostly the best situation for kids is with their natural mom and dad or at least with the natural mom or dad. Kids have a right to know their own natural mom and dad.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

I am a former foster child and current child advocate...

In response to Larry's posting...

Not every biological parent is a "natural parent" in the way that they treat their children.

Parents who rape, abuse or persistently neglect children are not the best providers of care for their child.

Children left in situations where they are repeatedly raped or abused end up being very damaged -- and sometimes murdered.

Keeping kids with bio-parents might sound like the best and easiest solution -- and it would be, if every parent protected and provided for their children.

Since that ideal is not reality, the only other thing to do is to examine custodial issues on a case-to-case basis.

Hence, we have caseworkers.

However, I have yet to see a nation wherein the administration and implementation of foster care is fail-safe.

And that's where we have our problem.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

In response to Erin's original blog entry:

The United States shares the dangerous trend you mentioned of often prescribing foster children psychotropic drugs.

I personally disagree with this practice, in many cases, for many reasons:

1.) There is a financial incentive to give foster youth drugs, when doing so might be absolutely unnecessary.

Group homes get more money if the children in their care are on psychotropic medication.

2.) If a child is sad, why not provide counseling. If you lost (or were separated from) a spouse or child, wouldn't you mourn the loss?

Wouldn't you prefer the opportunity to talk it out, verses having your feelings medicated?

3.) These drugs are often being prescribed to very young children -- and they were created for adults.

A recent magazine article mentioned that Ritalin has been shown to stunt the growth process in children, and they aren't sure if those children ever catch up.

Not only shouldn't "all" children in foster care be medicated, but very few children should...

Judges have expressed their concerns that they have been empowered to "okay" psychotropic meds for children, when they have no medical expertise.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Bernie said...

3. Adoption upholds the scriptural emphasis on the role of the father

Separate and Distinct

Although we have seen the importance of two parents, the father's role as illustrated in the Scriptures is separate and distinct from the mother's. The Bible speaks of the father as a man of compassion, a teacher at home, and a man to be honored by his children. Proverbs especially elaborates on these important roles a father can and should play in the lives of his children.

God chose to relate to us as Father. Our earthly fathers are important in modeling or being images of God as Father.

Joseph Adopted Jesus

God also assured that Jesus would have a father in Joseph. Perhaps the most profound example of adoption in the Scriptures is Joseph's adoption of Jesus. Joseph assumed the role of Jesus' father for all intents and purposes. It should not surprise us that God desired that Jesus have an earthly father, consistent with His plan for marriage and parenthood. The lineage of Jesus, as prophesied in the Old Testament, is fulfilled through Joseph (see Matthew 1:1-17). Joseph is fully and completely Jesus' father--participating in his naming, protecting him from danger by traveling to Egypt, teaching him a trade and presenting him at the temple.

Biblical Model Lost?

Much in today's society conflicts with the biblical model. We have denigrated and downplayed the importance of the father to the point of causing a major shift in our societal structure. For many women and children the father--who traditionally would have provided for them--has been replaced by our government. Estimates place the current number of fatherless children in the United States at 19 million, and the statistics regarding those children are grim:

-Half of fatherless families live below the poverty line.

-Adolescents of fatherless families are more likely to be sexually active, and daughters are more likely to become single-parent mothers.

-Adolescents in fatherless families are more likely to commit delinquent acts.

-Young adults who grew up in fatherless families were more likely to drop out of high school, divorce, and engage in drug and alcohol use. (6)

Christians can emphasize the importance of the father by encouraging his inclusion in counseling, no matter what the outcome of the pregnancy may be. It is important to note that many women choose adoption because they see the father as vital for their child.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Bernie said...

Initiatives to Help Reform Foster Care
Increase the satisfaction of those who are foster parents so that they continue to foster. So long as kinship foster care continues to serve as a convenient and less expensive "dumping ground" for children in need of care, rebuilding and improving the quality of the foster parent population will not take place.

Rely more on faith-based organizations. Carefully designed and implemented programs are needed to encourage the delegation of foster care recruitment, support and training, and adoption preparation to the private, nonprofit sector--especially faith-based organizations

Reform social work practice with respect to adoption. Many recognize the need for adoptive families to have the anonymity and autonomy they need to be able to make the difficult decisions needed to improve their children's chances of success. This will require a whole new leadership among social workers and the reeducation of many of those who are currently in the field.

The private sector needs to fund its own research into foster care. At present, most private funding has not only been misdirected but has undermined the efforts of those working to obtain the best possible adoptive families for children in foster care.

Refocus family law. Most judges have been taught that "family preservation" and other dubious alternatives to adoption are preferred options. Many lawyers are generously funded by public money to resist or delay timely adoptions of children from foster care.

Private monitoring and advocacy. There should be at least one organization--independent of grants or grantees involved in adoption practice--that is funded and endowed in order to remain focused on research and practical improvements needed in child welfare.

At 3:34 AM, Anonymous Larry said...

Regarding Lisa'a first comment. Some foster parents have done terriable things to kids too.Also their is much,much more natural moms and dads than foster parents thus more by per centage chances of wrong done to kids. Theirs also lots of kids switiching to different foster parents. However by far most natural moms and dads don't harm their kids but do good for them.{AGAIN KIDS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW THEIR NATURAL MOMS AND DADS}. First and foremost kids with their natural moms and dads should be encouraged before foster parents. Without natural moms and dads the human race would have died out long ago. Even good weekends dads is better for kids than no dad. As a dad of two daughters my self,I attended the pre-natal classes, was in the delivery room for both births helping by coaching the mom. Also changed diepers,helped feed and bath them also read to them and took them on outings ect.,. Later upon the break apart with their mom,I then payed child support and picked them up on weekends. Point is many natural moms and dads do good parenting but don't get media attendition only the bad ones do.

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Larry said...

The traditional family of dad,mom and kids is the back bone of society throughout the world.

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Spirit said...

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At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 44 yrs old now, was in foster care for 10 yrs. I have reports from my childhood that describe how the family doctor prescribed tranquilizers for me, because I had difficulty swallowing my food. They could find no constriction in my throat so they medicated me. I was 15 months old. On tranqs til I was 2 1/2 yrs of age. The report states: "During that time she behaved like a zombie. Her pupils dialated, she never played and seemed content to stay in the same place for long periods of time." Duh! What on earth is the GOV thinking???!!!


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