Why are there the same amount of Foster kids in crisis now than 12 years ago? It seems that we were talking about it as a crisis then, and we are talking about it today. Why has not the number of children in foster care not gone down somewhat? There were about 10M children under eighteen in 2008, and there are now (2020) about 10M children in crisis.
Well, the opioid crisis has affected this whole generation of kids. More kids who lose their parents to the drug epidemic and end up in the system are abused, neglected, or run away from home.
Fewer people are willing to adopt kids from the foster care system. As the system busts at its seams, fewer adults are eager to become foster parents. This all creates this never-ending stream of children who grow up and age out of the system while new ones enter the system. The cycle never changes, despite kids aging out or being adopted.
A section of this population is not adopted, and as they become older, they are not in a foster home for long. These kids are the ones who eventually age out and are thrown into adulthood without a network of adults to guide them into adulthood. Some of them are in trouble way before they reach their eighteenth birthday. They run away from home and bounce outside the system as runaways or homeless. They survive by panhandling, prostituting themselves, or stealing to stay in the streets. If they are lucky, they get help and mature into responsible adults. Others are not so lucky and end up using drugs, pregnant, or dead before they have a chance.
It has become an epidemic of grand proportions in the USA, and it is robbing the next generation of a pool of people who could be the future leaders of our great nation. Imagine that 1 out of 100 kids never grow old enough to survive and contribute to society. How many kids could have been the next Einstein, Steve Jobs, Ronald Reagan, entrepreneur, or someone who makes a difference? It is a needless brain drain; people who could lead our great nation are being left to become a statistic. This is becoming America’s next crisis, and we need to do something about it.
I think there is a need to help these young people because without adults to advise, persuade, and support, these kids are susceptible to bad advice. It makes it even harder to make it in one piece by the time they reach eighteen. Unlike kids with parents who care, they will be guided to finish high school, take the SATs, prepare for college, go to college, and graduate before they join adulthood. I see a lot of resources and organizations, yet we continue to have a problem. Somehow, the kids that need that help are not getting it.
I was rescued by two incredible people who ensured I grew up safe and was guided to succeed in life. These kids, who have not been adopted and are bouncing in the foster care system, need someone to care for and recommend them to be the best they can be.
My Mother used to say: “What are you doing today, to make the world a better place?” I want to answer: I’m helping young people in need. Making sure they have the tools to be successful in life.
Care to join me??