Privatizing Foster Care

A woman in my all things adoption group encountered this business (and by that I do mean for profit) at a pop up market. I had to go looking for a definition of that. Pop-up retail, also known as pop-up store or flash retailing, is a trend of opening short-term sales spaces that last for days to weeks before closing down, often to catch onto a fad or scheduled event.

She shares her experience thus – Today I did a pop up market and after I was fully set up I walked around. One of the other vendors that were there was this one (First Home Care). They claim to be there to help children in the foster care system. Ok, cool. I asked what they did for the community as I’d love to be able to help local families… The good ends there… After talking to the lady for less than 5 mins, She starts talking about how much money you can make as a foster parent. My jaw hit the floor. I was like are you a not for profit or a for-profit company? They are for profit… Not unification… Wtf… I told her she should be ashamed of herself and walked away… Is this common? I feel like a complete noob. I had no idea that there were foster companies for profit. Like I know there’s adoption companies for profit, but foster companies…

To which someone else posted a link to an article in The Hill – “Privatization of foster care has been a disaster for children.” The article highlights an abusive system, where corporations profit from and victimize vulnerable people: foster care for children.

Twenty-eight states allow some degree of for-profit contracting of foster care services. The private companies that make money off foster children would have us believe that they are providing quality service at affordable rates — as is often the selling point of privatization made to the general public. But evidence has shown that some of these for-profit services are rife with mismanagement and abuse.

One woman, who aged out at 18, describes her last (of 3 placements) in Utah – “It was the worst of them all. I still have bad dreams. My sleep was monitored; I wound up banished to the basement, alone for days. They listened in on my phone calls, read my mail. I was told the sexual abuse I had lived through was my fault. The meds they put me on threw my moods all over the place. I wanted to kill myself. I feel lucky I made it out alive.”  She had entered foster care when her mother died after being severely abused by her father.

Privatizing the core functions of the foster care system makes it harder for the public to exercise the necessary oversight over the activities of companies that are entrusted with the safety and well-being of vulnerable children. Of course, the for-profit foster care industry argues that abuse claims are nothing but isolated cases — bad apples in an otherwise pristine crop.

Foster care contractors benefit from a steady flow of children into the foster system, just as private prison contractors rely on the persistence of steady rates of crime and incarceration. A bipartisan congressional report released in 2017 by former Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) found that, by and large, “children who are under the legal authority of their state, yet receive services from private for-profit agencies, have been abused, neglected and denied services. The very agencies charged with and paid to keep foster children safe too often failed to provide even the most basic protections, or to take the steps to prevent the occurrence of tragedies.”

It Is Always Rigged

Money drives adoption and the poor are unsupported.  I believe society should fully support mothers until the children reach maturity so that they have the means to raise them.  Too often mothers lose custody of their children for no other reason than poverty.

The adoption laws are skewed to support adoptive parents – because they have the money.  The laws are skewed to support the industry – agencies, social workers and lawyers – because they are profiting from it.  No one seems to truly care about the child or the child’s original mother.  This is just so very wrong and contributes to damaged individuals that become a burden, though not intending to, upon society.

American domestic infant and international adoption has become privatized and entrepreneurial. Only adoption from foster care remains in the hands of the state and unfortunately represents its own set of failures, abuses and funding driven corruption.

The difference between for- and not-for-profit adoption agencies is merely a tax status, though the later gives an illusion of a charitable organization. Coupled with warm, fuzzy, cutesy names that tug at the heartstrings, clients are deluded into a false sense of propriety, oversight and security. The fact is that both types of agencies are commercial businesses that rely on the fees of a completed transaction to pay their overhead and salaries which is less glamorous and far less altruistic than the public perception of adoption. All vetting and home studies are paid for by the clients seeking a child. Basically, anyone who can afford the fees, which average about $40,000, can adopt, including pedophiles and abusers of all kinds. Pay the fee and get the goods. It’s a supply and demand business in a mega-billion dollar a year industry.

In addition to businesses that fill a demand for children to adopt, there is also the Do-It-Yourself type of adoption that is legally permitted in the U.S. Those seeking to find an infant to adopt, as well as anyone seeking to place a child for adoption, can find one another through newspaper advertisements, and online via Craig’s List or social media such as Facebook, and have their attorney handle necessary filings to make the adoption legal. Just like a “For Sale by Owner” house listing, middlemen “finder” fees are avoided by the DIY method. But, so too are any protections and any professional advice said fees may offer.

In either case – on your own or with the assistance of an adoption agency – the process winds up resulting in prospective couples matched with expectant mothers which, opens the door to unhealthy, unequal relationships.