Poor Outcomes – A Sad Fact

Continuing building awareness regarding Foster Care as May is Awareness month.

Trigger warning

The following story mentions murder, substance use/addiction/overdose, suicide, homelessness, Child Protective Services cases that are open, trauma, illegal activity/selling drugs, sex work, mention of a higher power and spiritual crisis, the effects of poverty, and mention police.

Having been warned, here is today’s awareness builder.

It’s Foster Care Awareness month and I’m sitting here at 3:30 am, not able to sleep.

My friend, a girl I’ve known since 6th grade, was murdered in 2019. She was in group homes with me as well, two different placements. She dated my sister. I grew up with this girl. Today, the news covered the sentencing. I learned new details of what happened. It was disgusting, made me hate the world we live in, and made me so hopeless but furious. I’ll spare the details but it was inhumane, needless, and these two men are pathetic excuses for human beings. My friend was 22 when she passed, and she left behind a young daughter.

She did extra jobs for her employer and turned him into the department of labor after he refused to compensate her. That was his motive. It describes his crack-cocaine purchase right after the event. It was all about money. Money for drugs. But my friend was so desperate and had to work at this place and got caught up in this cycle trying to once again, rely on systems and was killed. I know the world is crazy and this could’ve happened to anyone but this specific case with the details.. I think not. I think this was a direct effect of how the systems chews youth up and spits them out. They have to rely and try to network with unsafe, sketchy people because they don’t know how else to make a living. It’s not like the department would help. Or care. Nobody who wants to do anything can and those who can’t won’t do anything.

I’m angry. I’m triggered.

I have three other friends from placement that were murdered. I have two friends that overdosed. I have two that committed suicide. I have one that died outside while homeless.

I’ve experienced so much grief and loss in my life, but I also know that these are the statistics for foster youth. Why do we have to be reduced to these statistics? When does it end? When does the world and our government figure that we’ve had enough?

This breaking code silence movement has done a lot for my mental health, targeted support groups help. Former foster youth are the only ones advocating and looking out for each other. I’m just so distraught tonight.

My friends all were amazing people, kind people. People who have seen the worst side of others but still worked hard to show up to life and make this world a better place for others, every last one of them.

I spent 11 years in the NYS Foster Care system. These youth from placement are all I know, I don’t even know anyone else aside from the internet that I haven’t met in care. I’m watching my friends die, I’m watching life kick them when they’re down, homeless, doing sex work out of necessity and desperation, stealing out of desperation, selling illegal items out of desperation, going to jail and prison, having open CPS cases with their own children when they’re just trying to move on with life and their own personal experiences, working for shady people because THEY HAVE TO. Everyone I was in care with, including myself live in poverty. I know I’ve had to network with shady people and take risks myself, you’re never growing up and are like “oh yeah I’m going to clean this mans house under the table that I don’t know and I could get attacked and all but nobody would care because I have nobody to call anyways and the police only made it worse the last time”

Because the resources aren’t there, the empathy isn’t there. The community isn’t there. Youth can so easily go back to what they know pre-system and actually pick up more behaviors in the system because THE SYSTEM DOESNT WORK. It’s failed so many of us.

Thank you for letting me vent, I’m mourning so much. I’m so scared to lose anyone else and I’m also fearful for my own future. They raised us to be stupid, to be nothing, to be institutionalized. They already reduced us to these statistics.

I feel so spiritually bankrupt at this point, I feel like I’ve been abandoned by my higher power, and I’m always stuck thinking about how the world should be rather than how it is. It’s so much weight to carry, but I can’t be complacent about the trials we face as youth. I feel powerless and here it is, foster care awareness month and I feel like this is the only platform I can come to and express my sorrows without being silenced. Thank you for reading. I just needed to get it out to people who /do/ care.

Taking Care Of Women and Children

The same people who want to dictate medical decisions involving women don’t want to provide a good quality of life for them.

The American Social Safety Net Does Not Exist

After welfare reform, poor people were supposed to be able to find work. Not all of them could—and then the jobs disappeared. And according to Andrew Yang, a 2020 Presidential contender, the problem is only going to get worse.

In 1996, Aid to Families With Dependent Children—that is, welfare as we knew it—ended. The Republican Party, which had dominated the federal government since the Reagan Revolution, had had welfare in its sights ever since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society expanded antipoverty programs. Liberals and progressives labeled welfare reform one of the worst things President Bill Clinton did, and rightly blamed it for the increase in child poverty that followed.

For the right, though, shrinking welfare was part of a larger effort to decrease the size of government and appeal to working-class whites who had come to believe—erroneously—that AFDC largely benefited urban black recipients who didn’t want to work. Antipoverty advocates on the right argued that work was a better way out of poverty, and in the booming 1990s, this was partly true.

~ The Nation, published October 3 2016

My husband has heard local people directly express the belief that their tax dollars are providing welfare to black people in St Louis and they do not like that. It is sad. Our county is one of the poorest in Missouri and their tax dollars are just as likely supporting a neighbor.

The problem with the Pro-Life movement is that it doesn’t provide for the children it wants to see born. It doesn’t provide a quality life for those children. It may even be that due to a diminishing stock of babies available for adoption (due to access to contraception and changing morals in our young people) there are not enough children to provide new converts to the cause ? Am I cynical about the reasons they seek to overturn Roe ? Yes, I am. Actions speak louder than words.

My sister was forced to give up her daughter to adoption because she was turned down for public assistance when in financial desperation she moved back in with our parents. She was a waitress her whole life, retiring from Denny’s, where the pay was so low that without tips it would have been exploitation. Come to think of it – it was exploitation.

How Could It Be ?

In my immediate family, both grandmothers, both sisters and my own self, none of us was able to raise our own children.  In what kind of world is it that there is no support for mothers to keep and raise their children ?

That was the heartless world of Charles Dickens long ago – though there was little or no profit motivating it.  Or maybe there was, in indentured servants and poorly paid laborers.  It appears that this is the reality of a world we live in today.

For most in my family, it was profit driven motivations that separated mothers from their children.  A world of for profit adoptions that made it possible for four out of those five to lose their children to strangers with money.  The effects of those separations of mothers and children have reverberated down through our family, skipping my parents who narrowly avoided also becoming victims.

It is the inability of poor, single mothers to financially support their youngest children because there is a lack of societal or familial support.  As a society, we should seriously consider why it is – that we prefer an industry making a profit off of human suffering – rather than a caring, nurturing civilization ?

This extends to heartlessly separating poor families from their children simply because they were seeking a better life for those children.  I don’t believe their idea of a better life was also losing those children to strangers.

Who is it that finds such circumstances advantageous ?  Just follow the money.