Inside Out: Foster Care Reform - From Parental to Governmental Neglect
Part 1: From Parental to Governmental Neglect
by William J. Ritchotte
ABOUT THE AUTHOR William Ritchotte was in foster care from the age of 5 months until shortly before his 18th birthday, when he joined the U.S. Navy. Today, at 61, he is an advocate for reform, and the inspiration behind two Web sites for former foster children: Orphans & Former Foster Children Support Group [membership required] and Former Foster Children's Stories.
It is time that orphans and former foster children unite and group together to help change the laws that determine how children in the United States are raised without their parents.
The fact that 54,000 foster children were available for adoption in the United States last year - and agencies would not release them - is telling me that it is time for change. And if we, the former foster children, do not make change happen, it never will.
We want to be heard and understood. We want children protected while in care and we want states to take responsibility for the children in their care, who number over 750,000 at this moment.
* * * Why do we put kids in foster care to begin with? We put kids in foster care because the family has failed, not
because the child has failed. And we leave the kid in the system without doing anything to get the family back together. If the family doesn't or won't do anything, then the child is allowed to drift.
When you're in foster care, your perception as a child is that everything is your fault - social workers don't tell a child why they're being moved. And one of the most tragic aspects of these cases is that many of the children suffer needlessly for, in their zeal to protect children from the perceived shortcomings of their natural parents, child protective workers place them into dangerous homes that inflict precisely the injury they had hoped to prevent or worse.
What starts as parental neglect turns into governmental neglect. Next page
> Documented Abuses
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