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

Let’s talk about adoption

The picture is of a letter from an adopted child to his biological mother.

Let’s talk about adoption. How does adoption affect a child? Do they really feel like their new family “saved them”? Do they want to go home? Do they want to run away?

I watched as the Department of Human Services Division of Children and Families made an attempt to celebrate “Reunification Month” last month and honestly the feedback they received from the families they have “helped” was not so good. Parents and grandparents spoke out on the Arkansas Department of Children and Family Services Facebook post saying, “Yes, Let’s talk about reunification” and sharing their experiences with the department with each other. Whoever moderates that page deleted the post most likely because the feedback from family members told the stories of separation rather than reunification. Throughout the whole month of June only one post remains on their page and it celebrates foster parents at the time of reunification and describes how a foster parent feels when a child goes home.

Why did the department not have any stories from children and their families to share? I looked at the reviews on the Arkansas Division Of Children Services Facebook page. Once again family after family has shared their experiences with the department. There are heartbreaking stories posted by family members that say they were overlooked and that the department did not try to place the children with family members. Their review rating is 2.4 out of 5 stars. What does this say about the services offered by the department? Have services been offered? It appears that the department could be discriminating against biological family members by choosing to place children with complete strangers instead.

The families speaking out are obviously devastated. Some parents have even spiraled further down hill since the removal of their children. Were services offered? Did anyone really try to pick the parents up and get them on the right path? I see some post are from disabled parents. Are disabled parents offered services? Or are they discriminated against? Let’s talk about adoption because that seems to be the goal of the Department of Human Services. How does a child feel about being adopted? Are they okay with living with strangers? Do they wish in their hearts that they were back home?

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

A little bit about me. I am a grandmother, mother, and a daughter. I was raised in a small town where everyone knew everyone during the 1970s and 1980s. The beginning of my career revolved around helping small businesses thrive. Later, as the world begin to change, I began to sometimes wonder if I still live in the same country that I grew up in. I watched things happen to others in my community and most often I was always fighting my own battles when it happened. “Hearts and Minds” a little voice inside my head would say and then go away. Years went by and I continued to see things changing and people suffering and sometimes that little voice would come back and say “Hearts and Minds”. Finally something happened that was so unbelievable and so indescribable that I felt like I had to do something to make a difference in this world for the people I care about, and for the people that don’t know that these things can happen to them too. Life changed and that little voice became stronger. I decided that I had to do something. I went back to school to improve my education and skillset and to learn how to effectively advocate for my own family and other families. I have seen some things that happened to people that just didn’t make any sense, and it certainly didn’t do anyone any good. If anything, most of what I saw happening hurt people. And it did not just hurt the individuals that were intended to be hurt or punished. Other people were also affected. Children and family members feel the ripple effects of other’s actions. Anytime someone sets out to hurt someone that is what happens. The end result will always be hurt and so few people will take a stand against anyone or anything when it doesn’t affect them personally. But it can happen to them. Their lives can change in an instant just like other lives have changed in an instance. Sometimes overnight. I am still learning. I will always be learning new things about people and life. I am using this blog to write about some of the experiences I have had, both my own and others and some of the things I research to learn more about. I hope I receive feedback and meet a lot of people like me that want to make a difference. People that connect the dots and intersections in life’s circumstances and look for solutions. The world needs more problem solvers.

“First they came . . .”

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 — Martin Niemöller

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Have you ever seen something happen to someone that just made you want to change the way the world works?