Children with autism are more likely to end up in the foster care system. Long- and short-term outcomes for children in foster care are not good: Children who spend any amount of time in foster homes are less likely than their peers to graduate from high school and more likely to end up homeless, in the criminal justice system or in long-term residential care. Foster care may be an even less desirable place for children with autism, given their special needs. Although foster parents may receive some specialized training, it is generally not nearly enough to help them adequately care for these children.
7.3 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children with autism were in foster care in a 2008 study. This is well above twice the proportion of all Medicaid-enrolled children in foster care. The prevalence of children with autism in foster care started out at 7.5 percent in 2001. It climbed to 10.5 percent in 2005 and then declined to 9.1 percent in 2007. Children with autism were 2.4 times more likely to enter foster care than a typical child.
Raising a child with autism is stressful for families, as the condition is unusually difficult to manage effectively. Some parents may simply not have the skills and resources to do so. This may result in neglect or abuse — and placement in foster care. Alternatively, families may voluntarily place children with autism in foster care because they can’t handle the children’s behavioral problems. Third, parents may relinquish custody so that their children can obtain Medicaid-funded or residential care that they otherwise cannot afford.
I will always be for family preservation. To lower the chances that a child with autism will land in foster care, clinicians working with these families should talk openly about the stresses of raising a child on the spectrum. They should ask how that stress is manifesting in the family, and assist the family members in getting the support they need. All US states should offer home visits from professionals or short-term breaks for parents of children with autism. (Only a handful currently do.) Home visits and respite services have been shown to lower the chances of psychiatric hospitalization among children with autism, and also may reduce the risk of foster care placement.
Foster care arrangements can cost between $30,000 and $50,000 in taxpayer funds per child per year. That money could be more wisely spent supporting the needs of these families. Society has an ethical obligation to help families care for their children with autism. We can and must do better to help these most vulnerable children and their families.
Thanks to David Mandell and his essay in LINK> Spectrum News for today’s blog. I started with an interest in how neurodivergent issues relate to foster care and a google search ended up with that essay.
Many children end up in foster care or adopted for no more reason than poverty. A recent suggestion was if stipends that go to foster care could be redirected to parents working hard to keep their children.
Definitely, a single mom can feel stuck in a never-ending cycle of poverty, constantly worried that one financial emergency will send everything tumbling down.
In 2014 there were 46 million poor people in the U.S., and millions more hovering right above the poverty line. A single mom may live in a cozy two-bedroom apartment and have food, furniture and toys for her child and still be very much at risk. That apartment may not be located in a very safe place to live. Yet subsidized housing may be all she can afford.
I was such a single mom at one time in my life. Most of my paycheck went to rent, food, child care costs so I could work, gas and pediatrician bills. What drove me to leave my daughter with her paternal grandmother was – so I could try and earn a higher standard of living. I didn’t have a lot of hope for the future, if I stayed in the situation I was in.
If you’re poor, it may be in every aspect: emotionally, support-wise and family-wise. And even when there is family support ? As in grandparents raising several grandchildren as their own of which I do know more than a few. Heck I turned to a grandparent myself in my own dire time of need.
And the strain on children of living with adults who are overwhelmed by life or who don’t have the skills they need to raise their children because they themselves came from troubled homes only compounds the core problem of poverty.
Poor families today are more isolated from neighbors, work, family – all of the social networks that help people through life. There has to be a better way than the business as usual way we have now.
I’ve never heard a religious person say that God decided they wouldn’t have children.
God is supposed to be without flaws or mistakes in all ways right? But not being able to have children is God’s way of saying adoption, when you’ve exhausted all the other angles?
Religious people never accept that infertility was God’s way of saying – you won’t have children.
It was just Jesus saying – take someone else’s child, believe that child is the child I took and returned for you. Take that child because I gave you money instead.
God forbid any of these families might chose to help mom enough to keep her child. No God’s calling wasn’t – help this woman with a job, so she can keep her baby. God’s calling wasn’t – teach her something, so that she has a skill. God’s calling wasn’t to be the neighbors that help a person grow and do better like she wants.
God’s only calling was take her child. Help her with food, clothing and bills till baby is here. God’s calling was support her emotions in your favor during pregnancy and make her feel like she will be part of your family. God’s calling was to take a child from a mom at her worst, when she’s trying to do what’s best.
F**k that God, he’s a f**king monster. All this is just propaganda to continue the practice of adoption oppression.
I think about it sometimes. I read in the book Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman that one of the things a daughter misses out on when a mother dies while she is yet young is a lot of little things that are transferred in person.
In this case, it is a smidgen of milk added to an egg to help the white break up as it is stirred for a scrambled egg. My youngest son wants to eat one almost every day at the moment and I don’t cook it the same way my mom did, we use a microwave. And it is a bit complex to get it just right – several little cookings and stirrings until it is no longer wet.
My mom made certain we knew how to do all kinds of wifely things because I grew up in a era when the differences between little boys and little girls were clearly drawn, though feminism was beginning to soften the lines. Though we were a family of all girls and there were no boys, causing me to become somewhat of a tomboy growing up close to my dad.
Mothers could, and probably should, teach their sons some of the things that my mom taught us. There is no guarantee there will be a compliant servant wife to do them for my sons. At the same time, childhood is so brief. I understand that so clearly now. My mom’s mother didn’t teach her much in the way of wifely things. She said she was quite ignorant about how to do even the simplest thing at first but she muddled through and became quite proficient.
The world is changing so quickly. Who knows what life will be like when my sons become independent ? Somehow, I just believe, they will figure out what they need to figure out for themselves. We all do.