I have new essay up in STIR Journal about foster care.
In rural Oregon, an 11-year-old girl wearing a pair of plastic sandals walked 13 miles to a local tavern and convinced a man she didn’t know to drive her two and a half hours north to Long Beach, Wash. She was sick of foster care. She wanted to go home.
A 2011 survey reported that 13 percent of all foster children run away at least once, and another 9 percent abandon their foster homes to live with friends. When 22 percent of any child population flees the system which adults have provided to keep them safe, something is wrong. These youth may have insights the rest of us fail to see. Studies show foster care is a highway to health problems, homelessness, early pregnancy, arrest, incarceration, and sex trafficking. And those are the lucky kids. Foster care alumni are five times more likely to commit suicide and eight times more likely to be hospitalized for a serious psychiatric disorder.
Then again, decades of research show that childhood maltreatment interrupts healthy emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development, so we can chalk up the poor outcomes to abuse that occurred before these children were rescued, right?
Click the title to read the rest of the article:U.S. FOSTER CARE: A FLAWED SOLUTION THAT LEADS TO MORE LONG-TERM PROBLEMS?