When I was in elementary school we spent a lot of time at my granny’s house. While I was in third to fifth grade maybe I remember her having several sets of foster children. They often newly came to her home in tattered clothing, with dirty matted hair, little possessions and a longing to be any place else. My siblings and I were…extremely confused to say the least. We had so many questions. Who were these kids ? Where’d they come from ? Where were their parents ? When they left, where’d they go ? And why won’t we ever see them again ? It was definitely an experience.
Foster care is “a system in which a minor has been placed in a ward, group home (residential child care community, treatment center, etc) or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a ‘foster parent’ or with a family member approved by the state.” Placement of the minor is typically arranged by a representative of the government. The care-giver is monetarily compensated unless it’s a family member.
Foster care is meant to be a temporary solution until children can be placed in a permanent home. This can either mean emancipation, adoption or going back to their original guardian once that person is stable and in a safe environment. The main goal is to get the child permanently housed by someone they’re already familiar with. If a relative or former foster parent isn’t available attempts can even be made for a teacher, coach or other type of mentor to step up and care for the minor.
Ideally this is a great system but it has many flaws. Almost 10% of minors in foster care have had to stay more than 5 years before they’ve been placed anywhere, whether temporary or permanent. Nearly half of all children in foster care have chronic medical problems, including psychological, that have gone untreated. 8% have serious mental issues. To compound the matter estimates of nearly half of all children in the system have suffered physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse and even torture while at the hands of a foster parent.
Our goal is to teach underserved children radical autonomy. In situations such as the ones outlined here, radical autonomy would look like emancipation. Emancipation of minors is “a legal mechanism by which a child before attaining the age of majority is freed from control by their parents or guardians, and the parents or guardians are freed from any and all responsibility toward the child.” It’s not easily granted and laws around it vary from state to state. Often a child has to be at least 15 to be considered because they need to be able to prove they can provide for themselves and make mature decisions.
Do you have any experience with foster care or adoption ? We’d love to hear from you ! Please message us to share your story: MindysPlanet@gmail.com