For a while now there has been issues in the foster care system that many don’t pay much attention to. It affects the children who are in the system both mentally and physically and the outcomes can be very severe. Some of the problems often faced in the foster care system consist of abuse, the relationships between the children and their caretakers and the dramatic transition in their life. Although there is some help it's not quite certain if it is enough or not.
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The foster care system is a system created to protect minors from the difficult circumstances that they face at home, it is meant to be safe haven for them, but ironically in some cases the circumstances are either the same or much worse than at home. Some of the reasons why children tend to get taken away from their homes could be because of neglect from their parents or of abuse which can either go from mental abuse to physical abuse. When those things are happening at home Child Protective Services (CPS) tend to come in. CPS job is to make sure that the children are not in any way at risk from abuse or neglect at home. And when given a case they usually have about 30 days to investigate it and come with a conclusion. Foster homes are not always the first resource though, they often first look for a close relative or someone willing to take the children in and that they’ll know they will be in good hands. But in some circumstances, that is not the case and that is when the children are placed in foster homes.
"In the US, more than one-half of all reports of suspected child abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services (CPS) are made by professional reporters, including child care providers, educational personnel, law enforcement personnel, medical personal, mental health professionals, and social services personnel" (968) Something that takes a big part on all of this child protective Services and how the social workers do their job. When a child is taken away from their homes and families by child protective services, they are assigned a social worker or caseworker. One of the social workers responsibilities is that they have to do mandatory home visits to check up on the children and see how things are going at home. These mandatory home visits for example can either be once a week or once a month, it just depends on the child and the social workers schedule. But the thing is that some social workers fail to do that for personal reasons or because they believe everything is good at home. "Research in the US exploring why professional reporters fail to report suspicions of child maltreatment found many professionals did not feel adequately prepared to deal with child abuse and neglect"(Levin, 1983) This is also shows that although some social workers or caseworkers know that the child is not being treated correctly, they fail to reported it because it is too much for them to handle or they do not feel ready to act on something so delicate. Also, to be a social worker social or be qualified to work on something so sensitive as these cases, you need to be able to handle a lot emotional stress because this is not an easy job and one big contribution on how the caseworkers do their job depends on how they are getting payed. Social work is one of the lowest paying jobs and like said, it is really emotionally draining, so some don’t think that the amount that they are getting payed is worth the stress and that is when they become "sloppy" at their job in a sense.
"I had about six foster homes, and all but one were physically and sexually abusive. So I experienced it with my biological parents, and then five other homes. So it was like an ongoing thing." Like said in an interview with a former foster kid in Weekend All Things Considered a National public radio. This is one of the many problems that the children face, that can impact them both mentally and physically, and that is known for a fact because that kind of series of events can be severely traumatic to one person, specially at young ages like these children. They are put in risk of having social emotional problems and leads to being in desperate need of professional help in regards to their mental health. Because of all these things, some foster children as adolescents end up in bad conditions like for example they end up gangs or ended dropping out of school because they lack reassurance and support from a guardian.
In conclusion, although the foster care system has good means for those in it. Specially since it was design to help minors in difficult situation. It has its flaws too, and it is a problem that should be addressed a lot more than it is. "It's impossible to address the foster care problem without tackling broader issues of drug abuse, domestic and sexual abuse, and poverty." Also said in an interview with a former foster kid in Weekend All Things Considered a National public radio. Which basically tells that that is what the problems most consist of and it shouldn’t be that way.
- United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families. (2014). Child maltreatment 2013. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.
- Krase, Kathryn S. and Tobi A. DeLong-Hamilton. "Preparing Social Workers as Reporters of Suspected Child Maltreatment." Social Work Education, vol. 34, no. 8, Dec. 2015, pp. 967-985. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/02615479.2015.1094047.
- Johnson, Penny Ruff, et al. "Family Foster Care Placement the Child's Perspective." Child Welfare, vol. 74, no. 5, Sep/Oct95, pp. 959-974. EBSCOhost, lscsproxy.lonestar.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,cpid&custid=s1088435&db=a9h&AN=24227363&site=ehost-live.
- Arun, Rath. "Strained Foster Care System a 'Meter of Our Social Problems'." Weekend All Things Considered (NPR), 22 Sept. 2013. EBSCOhost, lscsproxy.lonestar.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,cpid&custid=s1088435&db=nfh&AN=6XN201309221901&site=ehost-live.
- Jee, Sandra H., et al. "Identification of Social-Emotional Problems among Young Children in Foster Care Sandra H. Jee Et Al. Identification of Social-Emotional Problems in Foster Care." Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, vol. 51, no. 12, Dec. 2010, pp. 1351-1358. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02315.x.
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