Helping foster children alumni to succeed

24 Jan

This blog is written around a set of principles:

  1. All children have a right to a good basic education.
  2. Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved.
  3. Society should support and foster strong families.
  4. Society should promote the idea that parents are responsible for parenting their children and people who are not prepared to accept that responsibility should not be parenting children.
  5. The sexualization of the culture has had devastating effects on children, particularly young women. For many there has been the lure of the “booty call” rather than focusing on genuine achievement.
  6. Education is a life long pursuit.

Increasingly, schools are being forced to deal with the social problems brought to school resulting from dysfunctional families, violence, and substance abuse. Any person who thinks they will decrease the number of abortions by defunding Planned Parenthood is a knuckle dragging idiot. Of course, those families and parents who support abstinence have a perfect right to espouse that value to their children. BUT, values training and sex education should begin at home early, when each child is ready to absorb that information. Parents should pass along their values to their children because the culture is out there promoting the values of “Sex in the City,” Paris Hilton, and Lindsey Lohan.

The number of children in foster care is staggering, but the truly staggering statistic is what happens to these kids when they age out of the foster care system. Foster Care Alumni of the United States provides the following statistics:

These facts were taken from the National Foster Care Month website.  FCAA is proud to be a partner in National Foster Care Month.

Total Population:
513,000 children were in the U.S. foster care system on September 30, 2005. Most children are placed temporarily in foster care due to parental abuse or neglect.

 Age:
Average Age: 10.0 years

6% < 1 year
26% 1-5 years
20% 6-10 years
28% 11-15 years
18% 16-18 years
2% >19 years

Gender:

Male 52%
Female 48%

Race and Ethnicity:
As a percentage, there are more children of color in the foster care system than in the general U.S. population. However, child abuse and neglect occur at about the same rate in all racial/ethnic groups.

Race/Ethnicity

Out-of-home care population

General population

Black (non-Hispanic) 32% 15%
White (non-Hispanic) 41% 61%
Hispanic 18% 17%
American Indian/Alaska Native (non-Hispanic) 2% 1%
Asian/Pacific Islander (non-Hispanic) 1% 3%
Unknown 2% n/a
2 or more Races (non-Hispanic) 3% 4%

Length of Stay:
For the children in foster care on September 30, 2005, the average amount of time they had been in the system was 28.6 months. Half of those leaving care that year had been away from home for a year or longer. 54% of the young people leaving the system were reunified with their birth parents or primary caregivers.

Foster Homes:
In 2004, there was a total of 153,000 licensed/certified/approved kinship and non-relative foster homes nationwide. In 2005, 24% of youth living foster care were residing with their relatives.

Adoptions:
In 2005, 60% of adopted children were adopted by their foster parent(s). The “foster parent” category excludes anyone identified as a relative of the child. 25% of children adopted in FY 2005 were adopted by a relative. A “relative” includes a step-parent or other relative of the child.

Siblings and Extended Families:
Over 2 million American children live with grandparents or other relatives because their parents cannot care for them. When relatives provide foster care (known as kinship care), siblings can often stay together. Kinship care also improves stability by keeping displaced children closer to their extended families, their neighborhoods, and their schools.

Youth in Transition:
Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people “age out” of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services. Several foster care alumni studies show that without a lifelong connection to a caring adult, these older youth are often left vulnerable to a host of adverse situations: 

Outcomes during transition from care to adulthood

National data

Regional or Local data

Earned a high school diploma 54% 50% – 63%
Obtained a Bachelor’s degree or higher 2% 2%
Became a parent 84% 42%
Were unemployed 51% 30%
Had no health insurance 30% 29%
Had been homeless 25% 36%
Were receiving public assistance 30% 26%

Please download this National Foster Care Month Fact Sheet for important notes and citations.

http://www.fostercarealumni.org/resources/foster_care_facts_and_statistics.htm

We, as a society must care about these children after they “age” out of foster care.

Mary Beth Marklein reports in the USA Today article, Programs help foster youth achieve college success:

UCLA is one of a growing number of colleges and universities across the USA that are offering more services to students who grew up in foster care. The University of Alaska is piloting a program that provides academic and social support for 18 students. Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, this year is providing full scholarships, year-round housing and summer jobs to three foster care students and is seeking donors to support more. Colorado State University-Fort Collins recently sent gloves, cough drops and macaroni and cheese to 28 students as part of its Fostering Success program launched in 2010.

California, home to about a quarter of all foster care youth, is at the forefront of the trend. The first such program was founded in 1998 at California State University-Fullerton. Today, about 79 campuses offer a program for former foster care youth, up from 31 in 2008.

Spurring much of the recent activity is a 2008 federal law that makes it less costly for states to extend foster care beyond age 18. That’s becoming increasingly critical because, even as the number of children in foster care has declined, the proportion who leave care without an adoptive family has increased, from 7.1% in 2001 to more than 11% in 2010.

Since the federal law passed, at least 18 states, including Oregon, Michigan and California, and the District of Columbia have enacted or strengthened state policies or are considering legislation to extend care up to age 21. Proposals are pending in several states.

Advocates hope the extended support will enable more foster care youth to complete college. Research shows that 70% of youth who are aging out of foster care plan to attend college — but between 3% and 11% complete a bachelor’s degree, says data compiled by Casey Family Programs, a Seattle-based non-profit that focuses on foster care issues.

“When youth have their basic needs met like food, clothing and a stable living situation then they can focus on their education,” says Amanda Metivier, coordinator of Facing Foster Youth in Alaska, a non-profit created by former foster youth. “They aren’t making the transition out of care and starting college all at once.”

On campus, support generally falls into two types. Some schools, including Cal State Fullerton, offer full scholarships, mentors and other support to a select group of students — 38 this year. Others, like UCLA’s 3-year-old program, have created an office that connects former foster youth to existing resources, including each other.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-01-17/foster-care-youth-college-programs/52623632/1

See, For Former Foster Kids, Campus Is Their ‘Home for the Holidays’     http://chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Help-Alumni-of-Foster/130239/

In “Sisters Are Doin’ For Themselves,” But Could Use Some Help  Moses, Boggess, and Groblewski report:

In our paper, we argue that supporting responsible fatherhood and related pro­grams and services helps low-income mothers (single, married, or cohabitating alike) with the following:

• Economic stability. Fathers with more access to effective employment assistance have an increased ability to help mothers with the costs of child rearing. Those fathers involved in the lives of their children are more likely to directly con­tribute to household income, pay child support, and provide noncash support, minimizing financial burdens on families.

• Child care. Low-income mothers struggle to ensure safe and stable child care arrangements for their children. Fathers can help in providing care.

• Work-life balance. As mothers struggle to balance the demands of work and fam­ily, the contributions of fathers can determine the degree to which family obliga­tions result in some available “me time” for mothers to rest and also to get ahead.

• Domestic violence. Programs can help identify and serve mothers and fathers involved in violent situations.

• Reproductive health. It is unfair for all the responsibilities associated with family planning and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases to fall on the shoulders of women. Fatherhood programs can work with men on doing their part

• Providing more relationship and family choices. Poverty often limits women’s and men’s choices about forming and maintaining relationships and families. Properly designed government family support programs can provide women with more choices regarding the future of their families.

• Positive childhood outcomes. Research suggests that fathers can have a positive impact on the academic achievement and behavior of children. Mothers who want to do what they can to ensure positive outcomes for their children may be supportive of fatherhood programs, even participating in some of the services.

Women have to be reminded over and over again to use contraception especially if they are involved in a relationship where their partner is not likely to be a committed and involved father to children resulting from that relationship. Maybe the peeps know of someone, but moi never knew a rocky relationship which got better because the woman got pregnant. Girlfriend, you need to make the trip to Planned Parenthood

As for the report by Moses, Boggess, and Growbleski?  Amen, sisters.  

Moi does not support abortion, but in order to decrease the number of abortions there must be access to birth control and information about reproduction. That is a key part of the equation. Those who seek to make political points by defunding Planned Parenthood are simply increasing the misery index for children in this society. Women also have to be responsible for their reproductive choices. If you are in a sketchy relationship or have a substance abuse problem, you must use birth control. Sisters not doing it to themselves is the other key part of the equation.

Resources:

Foster Care Alumni of America                                                 http://www.fostercarealumni.org/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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