Cindy Olsen McQuay
I didn’t even know but my all things adoption community appreciates the voices of former foster care youth as much as it does adoptees. So I saw the graphic and then read – May is National Former Foster Youth Month. A month when former foster youth use our voices. As a demographic of the population expected to be grateful for being “saved”, it high time we spoke up and corrected the perception that society has about our situations.
When I googled it though, that was not the focus even though it should be. I saw focus on foster parents and adoptions. One year, wanting to learn more about foster care as I have no experience with the system (I only see stories about it), anyway I found a book – LINK>Foster Girl, A Memoir by Georgette Todd. That certainly expanded my awareness by seeing things through one person’s experiences as told in the written word.
In California the counties with the highest median incomes have the lowest number of children in foster care, and vice versa. The poorest counties have the highest number of children in foster care. If the stipends that are used to employ other people to care for the children of poor families were used to help create families with less generational trauma, while minimizing the stigma throughout society of being on government assistance, we as society would be wholly better off.
Please take the time this month to amplify the voices of former foster youth, listen to what we have had to endure, and consider ways in which our suffering does not have to be carried into the future.
From Chris Chmielewski, LINK>Foster Focus – I love May. I love learning what foster care groups are passionate about this year. Then June 1st will appear and we disappear from your consciousness. We go back to being the first or last story on the newscast. We become the story on your newsfeed you pass by. We fade back into the background. That isn’t the case for me. I run the nation’s only monthly foster care magazine, Foster Focus. I am a former foster kid. I care about the kids in care and the kids who age out, get too old for the state to care for, every single day. Every month is foster care month for me because it deserves to be.
He goes on to note – Kids will still enter foster care at age 9, on average, and stay in care for more than two years. Traumatized kids will still be misdiagnosed and given psychotropic medications they don’t need. There will still be kids who will attend 10 schools and move to a dozen homes while in care. Kids in care will still fuel the pipeline that is Human Trafficking.
When they leave care, they will populate your prisons, somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-70 percent of all prisoners spent time in foster care, depending on the source. They will fill your streets. Former foster kids account for nearly 50 percent of the homeless population in this country. They aren’t going to go away just because the calendar says it is summer. The road ahead is long and filled with the obstacles that thwart progress.