Inside Out: Foster Care Reform - From Parental to Governmental Neglect

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Part 1: From Parental to Governmental Neglect

by William J. Ritchotte

© 2001 All Rights Reserved


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.
More of this Feature
Part 1: Neglect
Part 2: Documented Abuses
Part 3: Poor Outcomes
Part 4: Specific Reforms

Elsewhere on the Web
Children's Homes: Alternative
Formerly Fostered: Canada
Foster Care Independence Act of 1999
Legislation Issues
Lost in Foster Care?

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 > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

© 2001 William J. Ritchotte, All Rights Reserved
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Barbara - 8 months ago
0 0 0
As a foster parent I totally understand where you are coming from. I am currently in the process of adopting an adult child that we had when she was seven and eight and got her back at seventeen. After leaving our home she suffered abuse and neglect from other family members who she was placed with. We would have adopted her and her two brothers eight years ago. Unfortunately the biological family stepped in and took them. She is now a freshman in college and although we understand the financial sacrifice on our part. We want to get her out of the government system that neither protected her or as she would say, don't truly care about her. She just wants to be a normal daughter and not have to have visits by Someone meeting their quota or assignment. From those of us who are caring foster parents who are not in it for financial gain we love them unconditionally and want to see them succeed in life, we wish the government would back off and let the kids live a normal life. #1
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