Child University School of Social Work, to

Child Abuse in the Foster Care systemOn any given day there are at least 400,000 children in foster care.  During last year alone there we’re about 650,000 children under the care of the states. Nearly fifty percent of all foster care children have chronic medical problems and about half of the children in care under five have developmental delays. Up to 80 percent of all children under care have serious emotional problems. The average time spent in foster care, as of 2011, is 23.6 months with more than 10% staying there for five or more years. An average of eleven percent of all children that enter the system do not get adopted, they stay there until they “age out”, or turn 18.(childrenrights.org) Out of all those children, an astonishing 28 percent of them have been determined, by the Department of Research at the New York University School of Social Work, to have been abused while in the care of the foster care system in 2011. Billions of dollars go into this system each year for the care of each and every child. With that said, the statistic of abuse in the system is way too high. Anytime a minor is taken from their home, by the state, it is up to the state to look out for the well-being of that child. Sadly, as each year progresses, the statistical number of abuse in this system only increases. Abuse in the system is not directly physical, verbal, mental, or emotional, but they indirectly lead to these characteristics and therefore cause the child to be abused several times in one incident. Child abuse in the foster care system, whether intentional or not, can be traced by to negligence, overcrowding, and careless home placement. As said by Troy Capt. Chris Anderson on foster care “It’s not about how fast you clean out your inventory … make sure these kids go to the right places”In 1974, the US congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which set the minimum foundation for the definition of abuse and neglect.Child abuse or neglect, as defined by this act, at minimum, is any recent act or failure to act on the part of the parent or caretaker, which results in serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, death, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.This act, as stated before, is the minimum that any state can define abuse or neglect.Each state has set its own definition of neglect and/or abuse using this act as a bolster. Once it is determined by child welfare that a child has been neglected, the child is usually taken into the custody of the state. Once this takes place, the state is now liable for them. Under law, when a child enters the system, the state is charged, by stature, with a duty to (1) Place the child in a safe foster home (2) supervise the child while he or she is in those foster homes and (3) to remove the child from a foster home when necessary in order to protect the child.  It is imperative that any child taken from their home be well monitored for their safety. What point is there to take a child from an abusive home only to place them in an abusive system?”This is the way of the foster care children. If they are not problem kids when they go into the system, many become problem children because of it.” This is a direct quote from Dr. Wade Horn, former child psychologist, the Director of the Department of Health and Human Services for George W. Bush and the highest ranking federal official in charge of foster care. Although no foster care case is typical Dr. Wade’s interview on his story in foster care opened the eyes of many people who slept on there being any dangers in the system. “It was acceptable through the 70s that the family pet had more legal protection than a child. I remember watching a neighbor… eventually going to federal prison, for kicking his dog, yet my neighbors, teachers, and principal at my school could not get the law to intervene on my behalf to stop the severe abuse that lasted for 13 years.” Dr. Horn explains being placed in a Baptist Home and all they able to offer him was spiritual security. “The Baptist Home in OKC had their heart in the right place, but not much else.”  Based on the interview there was large amounts of negligence in these homes. Due to the fact “God” was supposed to be protecting the children, these kids we’re often left unattended. “Bullies come through and take advantage of the timid.Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes were constantly on hand… there was more religion than security…you cannot trust that “God” will protect the kids in the dormitories or that he will be the source for their emotional, psychological, or physical safety.” Apparently a child’s background was ignored in these homes causing the Baptist homes to be more of a halfway house for troubled kids. “Most of the kids I knew that went through Baptist Homes got very little help, if any.”  says Dr. Horn.