Too few lawmakers address foster youth aging out or the failed foster care system. Let’s fix it.

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A woman sits at the steps of the BC Legislature as hundreds of people, many youth who have aged out of foster care, rallied to ask for better support for youth aging out of care. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Someone sent information this morning that said “Youth speak out on ‘aging out’ of foster care; requesting extension on age limit”

Lane Ball out of Huntington Beach, West Virginia is developing a story with Nexstar about how foster care facilities push for the “aging out” limit to be extended. We hope that somewhere in the development that he realizes there is a financial incentive to keep children in state custody, and most importantly, we hope that Lane Ball reports how badly the foster care system is failing our most vulnerable youth. If Lane doesn’t “get it” and report it, you can bet that we will.

Young adults that age out of foster care often do not have familial ties to their own biological families. Sometimes it is because the family was so bad that the child could not be safe around any of them, but for the most part, about 90% of the time, the state severs a child’s ties with biological family members out of “respect” for the foster placement’s wishes.

It is most of the time too difficult for foster “parents” with very little training to integrate the new family with the biological family. The result is that children age out of foster care very often not knowing who they are or where they came from.

What makes it even worse for them is that throughout their lives in foster homes, they are about 80% of the time prescribed psychotropic drugs “to help them cope”. Once they age out, they no longer have access to their medicines.

Many will turn to street drugs and about 75% of the aged-out youth will end up in jail or prison within 2 years of aging out. It is reported that at least 1 in 7 foster children will fall into the hands of human sex traffickers. I think the number is higher because social workers are not required to report missing foster children. There are no amber alerts for them, and city reports show that between 60% to as high as 99% of children rescued in sex trafficking stings were in state custody before they were trafficked. Even the Department of State admits that the U.S. foster care system is a problem.

Less than 3% of foster children ever go to college and less than 2% will ever graduate. Foster placements simply fail to teach the vulnerable youth how to make it in this world and by the time they turn 18 and hit the road, they are ill prepared for what life throws at them.

Lane’s report today shows that lawmakers are taking notice. He says, “When someone ages out of foster care, it can be difficult adjusting to life as an adult. This past year, the federal government offered a safety net for individuals not quite ready to be on their own, but that will soon no longer be the case”.

“Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act”  created specifically to aid foster children during the Covid pandemic expires on September 30, 2021. Apparently, the Annie E. Casey Foundation is pushing for legislation that will support foster youth between the ages of 18 to 27-years-old.

Some CASA advocates as well as US Senators Sherrod Brown from Ohio, and  Shelly Moore Capito from West Virginia are taking notice and working on legislation that will provide support for foster youth that are aging out.

West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito stated, “Throughout my time representing West Virginians in Congress, I’ve consistently worked to deliver needed resources and support to our state’s foster children, and help improve West Virginia’s foster care system as a whole. As legislation is introduced, I’ll prioritize the well-being of those in foster care, regardless of their age, who were particularly hard hit by the pandemic”.

Senator Brown from Ohio said, “It’s critical that Congress act now and extend the moratorium on ‘aging out’ of foster care. Now more than ever – as we continue to recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot afford to cut young Ohioans off from critical housing and support services. Every young person deserves a safe and stable place to call home”.

Other senators from other states do not seem to be concerned about foster youth until they realize that there is something in it for them, and there is now about $100 Billion ASFA 1997 dollars and the Trillions of dollars put out into communities through the American Rescue Plan, The Family First Act, the American Family Plan, and countless other Acts that have been made to increase access to quality healthcare and services. Hopefully lawmakers will get on the ball and help desperate, vulnerable foster youth that have no ties to family that can support them.

As Lane Ball develops his story, I hope he does he research well and reports the facts about how badly the state has failed our most vulnerable children that are now becoming young adults and being set free in this messed up world. Our prayers go out to them that God will clear the path and work with everyone’s Hearts and Minds to make each foster youth a successful member of society, hopefully by beginning before they age out not knowing what to do. We pray for people that care to make a powerful difference in their lives each and every day so that they can become the people that God created them to be.

I offer two solutions; (1) place children will family or someone that they already know and trusts so that their lives are not disrupted any more than it has to be, and (2) localize foster care so that youth do not end up in strange places with strange people far from where they no their way around. This will prevent children from being trafficked and provide more stability.

If you want to offer any solutions, please do so in the comment section. Thanks for reading. We look forward to hearing from you.  

Alaska state worker arrested on child pornography charges one day after adopting 4 kids

A white balding man's mugshot

A malware alert on a company computer led IT to report an Eagle River man with four adopted foster children to the FBI. Now he is facing child pornography charges. Agents arrested John Daniel Brooks, 51.

State records show Brooks is an analyst-programmer for the Department of Environmental Conservation, and a registered foster parent with whom the state Office of Children’s Services had placed four children, ages 1 to 13.

Brooks and his wife had officially adopted the children just one day earlier. Casey Grove, from Alaska Public Media in Anchorage says, “Agents searched Brooks’ home and devices and found hundreds of digital images of child pornography hidden in various computer folders, and when they asked him, Brooks said he was sexually attracted to children. He admitted that he had agreed to become an assistant with one of his daughter’s scouting group, in part because of his attraction to children, according to the charges”.

Brooks has worked for the Department of Environmental Conservation since 2010, and he was placed on unpaid leave this week, so taxpayers are still paying him. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking anyone with further information about Brooks’ activities to call the FBI at (907) 276-4441.

Borderline Personality Disorder or Adoptee? — Finding Joy…….

I came across a video on youtube where Dr Ramani was talking about borderline personality disorder (bpd) and how to recognise it from the 9 traits of it. Watching it I thought wow! This sounds so much like the traits of an adopted person. There are the 9 traits according to Dr Ramani. You can […]

Borderline Personality Disorder or Adoptee? — Finding Joy…….

Case #8300

Reblogged from another platform ….This month of National Adoptee Appreciation Month means more to me than some of my non adopted people could ever start to comprehend. I was left on the steps of an orphanage, without a name. I was taken in and eventually given a case number thru Holt International as they proceeded to prepare me for adoption.

I am case #8300 and became Choi, Kyung-ae/ai. I am an international transracial adoptee. I am one of over 220,000 South Korean babies adopted out. Korea was the largest child exporter for years generating an estimated 3.3 billions of dollars between adoption agencies and Korea.

Not all cases were legitimately done. I became a survivor of domestic violence in the form of child abuse of near 15yrs as a young adoptee. I tried to commit suicide at age 8 and no one knew about this attempt until my late adult life, including my adopted family of which some still don’t know, until now. I am also an aged out foster child.

I am indebted to Honorable Judge Robert Foster, my attorneys, the late John Torreano and then prosecuting attorney, Michael Kusz, and finally, social worker, Susan Cox who’d been part of my case since a child. I did not choose my life, my parents or have a say who could adopt me. However, I love my adopted family and they mean everything to me and they love me.

Though my story is deep, complex, full of trauma and intricate sadness, not sure if I would trade it in. I became the fierce woman I am today, because of my circumstances. Understand this, not all adoption stories are wonderful and fairy tale like.

I share my story for raw and pure awareness of how complicated adoptions are, human trafficking is real, and when there’s suffering, it’s the adoptee who does the most suffering along with birth parent(s).

My fellow adoptees, it is our time to be heard…across the globe. This is my story, these are my truths, this is my pain. #truthislouder, #naam2020 ~ Tabby Tab

Do the best you can until you know better.

Day 6 #notmynaam#naam2020“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” -Maya Angelou

Most adoption happens when a child is removed from their own family in order to “grow” or “complete” another, non-related family. This is what happened to me. I grew up as an only child. This was both a blessing and a curse.

It was a curse in that I missed out on knowing that I have at least 4 siblings. I missed out on knowing what it was like to have a sibling relationship. I missed out knowing them, as human beings, as my siblings, until I found them more than 36 years after being separated from them. (I was the only one of the 5 of us who was adopted.)

It was a blessing in that I didn’t have to grow up in a family that had any biological children of their own. I don’t think I could have handled that on a psychological or emotional level. I didn’t look like anyone in our household, but neither did anyone else, and I dealt with that pain alone.

But my mom and dad both have siblings. And their siblings have children (and, by now, grandchildren). Back when I was growing up, I either traveled with my mother or father (they divorced when I was 2 years old) on vacation. Either way, we almost always went to visit their respective siblings’ families – my aunts & uncles & cousins.

Being in those spaces, sitting around the dinner table with their families, watching tv on the sofa with their families, was incredibly sad for me because they all looked alike. Between my mom’s and dad’s side, there were 3 sets of aunts/uncles, and they each had 2 children. Each set of cousins looked like their sibling. And each set looked like their parents. And they all looked like the photos of their grandparents and great aunts and uncles. And then there was me.

To lose your own family – without a trace – is horrific. But then to be placed in situations in which you are subjected to small, nuclear family groups who have and take for granted the very core familial relationships you lost…and who are also the only family you have ever known…and who are also very kind and loving to you (except in that they don’t recognize the re-traumatization you are living through each and every time you are A Part of their daily lives while also being Apart)… it’s an undescribable pain and feeling of separateness and otherness.

Like I said, I don’t think I could have handled growing up as an adoptee in a household in which there were biological children. It may sound weird, but I am grateful I didn’t have to.

Without recognition and validation of the deep and nuanced impacts the loss of their entire family has on an adopted person, especially when they are children and absolutely need guidance to manage their grief and trauma in a healthy way, then even well-meaning adoptive parents are inevitably going to continue to re-traumatize their child through seemingly mundane, everyday (family) activities.

Without experiencing that loss, it simply wouldn’t occur to most people that some of the things they consider normal and joyful may actually be very hurtful to an adopted person.

Adult adoptees are speaking up about the various ways their initial trauma was multiplied during their childhood by the uninformed acts of “adoption professionals” (like non-adoptee, non-adoptee-trauma informed social workers) and adoptive parents alike. Now that we know better, I expect today’s adoptive parents to do better. There are no excuses. ~Abby Forero Hilty

You have adopted children in your classrooms.

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Janet Carter The Free Press

Reblogged from anpther site: …….Please share & tag your teacher friends ❤️You have adopted children in your classrooms. I was one of them! Now I’m almost 30 and able to express some of ways I was hurt during my school-age years by well-meaning educators. My intention isn’t to shame anyone, but to hopefully open your eyes to some of the situations I was put in. Some were just awkward, some were harmful. I know you love your students & want to do right by them, which is why you’re reading these words.

1. There may be adoptees in your class and you don’t even know it. I had a pretty uncommon last name growing up and attended a small community school corporation. I dreaded the first day of school because, like clockwork, this conversation took place, sometimes multiple times a day once I was old enough to switch classes…Teacher taking attendance: “Morgan ____ – oh, are you ___’s sister? I should have known – you look so much like her/your mom!” Me: Instant cringe! I am not genetically related to my sister! Or my mom! I know that I cannot look like them because we are not actually related.

Now I’m in an awkward position – do I say something and potentially make the teacher feel bad? But moreover…this teacher *seems like a liar to me and someone I can’t trust* because they’re saying something that isn’t true. I don’t look like people who aren’t related to me, but you’re saying I do, and now I remember that I’ve never actually seen anyone who looks like me and I’m spiraling for the rest of the class time.

My anxiety takes over and I have a stomach ache. I wonder if and when I should tell this teacher the truth. When I tell them I’m adopted, it’s always such a big deal and they say a lot more awkward things and it doesn’t seem worth it.

2. Please get rid of family tree assignments! Because…which family?! I feel like a big fat phony faker writing down my adoptive family, because I know it’s not actually where I came from. But I also don’t know where I came from, so I can’t write that down either. And please don’t just make an adjusted lesson for adopted students – because, as previously mentioned, you might not even know who the adoptees are!

Students might also be the children of adoptees! I imagine my own daughter would struggle with such an assignment because she knows my adoption story. If state standards/curriculum require a family tree project, can it be about characters of a novel the class had read, or a historical figure instead?

3. Same goes for genetic traits! Oh, biology class. Please don’t ask me to figure out my parents’ possible blood types based on my own. Or eye color. Reminder after reminder after reminder that I don’t know where I came from, I don’t look the same as my family, and it feels like everyone else here does. These type of assignments can still be done in a more generic way, not with our own personal situations.

4. Baby/childhood photos Depending on the time of their adoption, many kids might not have access to pictures of themselves as a baby or as a child. And please don’t do something stupid like “Well, just draw a picture of yourself instead!” Adoptees already struggle with identity. We don’t know who we are. Now you want me to draw it for you? BIG YIKES, teach.

5. Don’t tell adopted kids they are “chosen” or “special” This is like, the chief complaint of adoptees I know. We don’t want to be special, we want to be normal. Special is pressure. Special is a high standard to live up to. Special is the nightmare for adolescents who just want to fit in with their peers. We also were not chosen – no one lined up 100 potential babies in front of our parents and asked them to choose the one the liked best. I know it comes from a good, well-meaning place. But we’re adopted not because we are special or chosen, but because we are no longer with our biological families. That’s it. We know this. We wish everyone knew this and would be okay with it, instead of trying to put a positive spin on it.

It makes me feel like I’m not allowed to be sad. It makes me feel like my loss doesn’t matter.——————-Teachers, I know it’s already just *so much*. This year has been an entire cluster and dumpster fire and you’ve been pushed to the limits of your professional capabilities and sanity. I admire you all.

Thank you for wanting to love your students well. Thank you for caring enough to keep learning about them. Adopted children grow up and you are a formative part of their upbringing. Thank you for doing the work to be a positive part of their story.#nam2020#naam2020#nationaladoptionmonth#adoptee#adopteevoices#teacherlife#notyourorphan#teachersoftiktok#teachergoals#teachersrock#listentoadoptees#adoption#fostercare#ffy#RedforEdAdoptive FamiliesFoster Care & Adoption#truthislouder ~Morgan Shea Massey

Pastor of Texas church and board member of a foster parent association, a father of adopted children himself, arrested for producing and transporting child pornography

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Texas announced in a statement that a grand jury indicted David Pettigrew, 48, and Chad Michael Rider, 46, on charges of conspiring to sexually exploit children. Pettigrew was also charged with transporting child pornography.

Pettigrew was the head pastor of Denison Church of the Nazarene, a board member of a foster parent association, a father of adopted children, a crossing guard, and a substitute teacher at Neblett Elementary. Pettigrew is also married to an unnamed school teacher who is a mandated reporter!

88% of children rescued in sex trafficking operations were trafficked from state custody!

The FBI compiled data that shows that of the nearly 25,000 runaways reported to NCMEC in 2017, one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those children, 88 percent were in the care of social services when they went missing. In 2017 alone, NCMEC’s Cyber Tip line, a national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers to report instances of suspected child sexual exploitation, received over 10 million reports.

Matt Agorist from the Freedom Thought Project explored further and wrote a chilling Report that shows that 88% of missing sex trafficked children come from US foster care system (Matt Agorist 2018) and that other governmental organizations have corroborated this horrifying trend. In a 2013 FBI 70-city nationwide raid, 60 percent of the victims came from foster care or group homes. In 2014, New York authorities estimated that 85 percent of sex trafficking victims were previously in the child welfare system. In 2012, Connecticut police rescued 88 children from sex trafficking; 86 were from the child welfare system. 

Whitney Manning, a grandmother in Virginia that advocates for foster children and raises awareness to mental health issues recently visited Washington D.C. where she met the “Grandmother of all advocacy for foster children”, Kathlee Arthur and many other advocates and family members that came together to ask for child welfare reform and to defund ASFA which is the 1997 adoption and safe families act. Kathlee Arthur explains how ASFA targets poor children and does not offer services to other children that may need them. She goes onto explain how this has created the fostercare to prison pipeline.

I also did some further research on how states could be supplying 88% of sex trafficked minors and found that the United States Department of State even reported that the United States foster care system is a problem. The 2019 Trafficking In Persons Report from the Department of States (TIP) says,

“In the United States, traffickers prey upon children in the foster care system. Recent reports have consistently indicated that a large number of victims of child sex trafficking were at one time in the foster care system.”

The 2021 TIP Report states that individuals in the United States vulnerable to human trafficking include: children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, including foster care; runaway and homeless youth; unaccompanied children; individuals seeking asylum; American Indians and Alaska Natives, particularly women and girls; individuals with substance use issues; migrant laborers, including undocumented workers and participants in visa programs for temporary workers; foreign national domestic workers in diplomatic households; persons with limited English proficiency; persons with disabilities; LGBTQI+ persons; and victims of intimate partner violence or domestic violence and that some U.S. citizens engage in extraterritorial child sexual exploitation and abuse in foreign countries.

Foster and adopted children are dear to my heart and they are our most vulnerable citizens. Once children enter the foster care system and other juvenile facilities, their contact with their own family and the people they know is severed through court processes. Often times foster and adopted children are moved out of state where they are not familiar with their surroundings and can easily get lost and fall into the hands of sex traffickers if they run away, which they often do. One solution that could be considered legislatively is localizing foster care in a way that children never have to lose all of their family and friends and so that they remain in places that are familiar to them where they can get to someone that they trust and will confide in when things go wrong. Too often children that are severed from their families feel unwanted and lost in this world. We can do something to change that.

Child Sex Trafficking and the Child Welfare System

Family: The Original Child Welfare System

Federal legislators have taken an increased interest in confronting the sex trafficking of children now that more and more people are becoming aware of how prevalent that problem is, and talk about it. It is estimated that over 40 million US adults living now are survivors of sexual child abuse.

The national attention towards the issue of human trafficking has created opportunities to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for better childhood outcomes.

Homeless children, foster care system, refugees, and LGBTQ youth are the most likely victims of childhood sexual assault. It is estimated that 100,000 children are sexually exploited in the United States each year.

It is clear is that many of the minors who are trafficked interact with the child welfare system at some point in their lives. Child welfare workers are in the perfect seat to identify problems with the foster care system and advocate for much needed changes that will prevent future abuse. Children that are sexually assaulted in foster care and have no ties to family never fully heal from their wounds and will always carry the scars of the abuse.

It is also clear that between 75% to as many as 98% of the children taken into state custody were never abused. Study after study shows that children with biological family are the least likely to be abused.

Predators prey on children from broken homes, group homes, foster care, and runaways. The U.S. Department of State reports that foster care is a consistent problem. Live-in parents and step parents are 20 times more likely to abuse a child than a biological parent.

City reports show that between 60% to as many as 90% of the children rescued in sex trafficking stings were in foster care before they were trafficked. Often, when they are rescued, they are returned to state custody where they will likely run away again.

Studies show that children in foster homes are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than children that live with biological parents. Children that live in group homes are 28 times more likely to be abused.

How Foster Care Youth Become Trafficking Victims

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photo Huff Post

The CDC reports that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experienced sexual abuse as children. Most will never tell their stories out of shame and fear. Some children do not live to tell their stories.

Predators put themselves in situations where they have access to children. A predator can be a family member, school teacher, principal, police officer, fire fighter, doctor, therapist, counselor, and even Sunday school teachers and preachers.

Children with intact families are less likely to suffer abuse. Predators prey on children from broken homes, group homes, foster care, and runaways. The U.S. Department of State reports that foster care is a consistent problem. Live-in parents and step parents are 20 times more likely to abuse a child than a biological parent.

City reports show that between 60% to as many as 90% of the children rescued in sex trafficking stings were in foster care before they were trafficked. Often, when they are rescued, they are returned to state custody where they will likely run away again.

Studies show that children in foster homes are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than children that live with biological parents. Children that live in group homes are 28 times more likely to be abused.

Sometimes the predator is friends with the family or someone that the adults in the family think can be trusted, such as is the case often with teachers, preachers, and other children. Child sex abuse is most likely to happen when a child is between the ages of 6 to 11 years old.

One solution that will reduce child sex trafficking is to localize foster care so that children never have to run from place they are not familiar with. Many sex trafficked children ran away from a group home or a foster home when they landed in the hands of sex traffickers. Another solution to reduce both child sex trafficking and the need for foster care is to shift the ASFA funding in a way that allows states to be paid when they place a child in need with a family member.

#EndASFA #StopTitleIV #Stophumantrafficking #stopchildtrafficking #QuitShoppingForChildren #SaveYOURchildren