The future of children in foster homes is not too bright! Why?

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Study after study shows that children in foster care do not grow up to live the most successful and well-adjusted lives. Actually, Instead report after report form the Department of Corrections, the Children’s Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and many other agencies show that foster care is a failed experiment.

Foster care is meant to help vulnerable children and prevent abuse. Instead, reports continue to come in that show that children in foster care are more likely to be abused, 8% more likely to be abused in a foster home, 28% more likely to be abused in a group home. Statistics are staggering, but let’s look at what is happening to children around the world and how it affects their lives. Just one child being destroyed by foster care is too many.

There is no definition for “family”. HHS workers are just now since the passage of the Family First Preventative Services Act in 2018 beginning to see a definition for family in their own handbooks, and most often the definition does not pertain to biological family but rather adoptive and foster families. As of the beginning of 2020, Arkansas had one paragraph at the end of the handbook that pertained to biological family. The rest of the book instructed workers to place children in foster and adoptive placements and gave tips for how foster and adoptive “parents” should deal with situations with the children passing through their homes.

Not only are the HHS handbooks a joke as far as meeting the needs of children, but courts do not have a definition of “the best interest of the child”. This means that it is up to the court actors to decide what is in a child’s best interest based upon their own opinions. There is no scientific evidence to show that the courts are doing what is best for the children.

Instead, court’s often remove children from biological family and place them with complete strangers. Even when children are placed in the same state, they are often placed hours from family members or anyone that they know. Sometimes children are moved out of state. The result is unhappy children being prescribed psychotropic drugs “to help them cope” with their new life and new “family”. The children often end up running away.

Children that runaway brings me to another point. Runaways, especially runaway youth are sometimes found living in uninhabitable dwellings and even though the Department of State says year after year that foster care is a problem, City Reports continue to show that most 60% at the least number, and sometimes as many as 99%) children rescued through trafficking stings were in state custody when they were trafficked.

Foster children lose everyone and everything they know. 80% of foster children are prescribed drugs to help them cope. They runaway. They end up being homeless or trafficked. And for those that do age out, the Department of Corrections shows that about 75% of them will be incarcerated within two years!

Their futures are not that bright! What are some solutions? (1) Localize foster care so that children do not lose everyone and everything they know, (2) place children with family members and even friends of the family so that they remain in familiar areas, (3) shift the funding to pay for family placements so that children do not have to live with strangers where they have to take prescribed drugs to cope, (4) create programs that teach youth how to apply for college (foster children are eligible for free college tuition though only about 2% will ever apply) (5) create programs that help foster children learn life and job skills, (6) get involved with local churches, legislators, and community organization to create peer support groups where foster children can relate with each other. Let them know that they are not alone.

If anyone else has ideas about how we can improve future generations, please let us know in the comments or send and email through the contact page. Thanks. I hope this helps.

Mental health experts can’t agree on a diagnosis. Jordan could have been Jeremiah.

Jordan Nuñez is slated for a November trial on more than a dozen felony charges, including child abuse resulting in the death of 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia. Nuñez faces life in prison if convicted. Luis Sánchez Saturno/New Mexican file photo

“State District Judge Matthew Wilson sentenced Jordan Nuñez to 21 years in prison Friday for failing to intervene while his father beat and tortured 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia to death in the family’s Nambé home in the fall of 2017,” said Phaedra Haywood, The Santa Fe New Mexican. “Judge Wilson rejected arguments made by Nuñez’s defense attorneys that his sentence should be significantly mitigated due to his traumatic childhood and fear of his father, who officials said told his family if he ever saw the police coming to their home, he would kill them all before officers reached the door”.

“I’m truly sorry for my failure to call 911, that was one of my biggest mistakes,” he said through tears. “That’s something I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life. Lord knows if I could go back and change everything, I would in a heartbeat.”, Jordan told the judge.

“Tommy was the bad guy in all of this while Jordan watched, but that’s the problem. Jordan watched and occasionally participated. He got the benefit of a plea bargain because of his lesser involvement, but even though it was lesser, it was not less. It still resulted in Jeremiah’s death.” First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies told the court.

Tommy was a “bad guy” according to witnesses. He beat Jordan. He beat his ex-wife. Jeremiah’s sister said the abuse “was especially for Jeremiah….It was hard. It was not fun. He (meaning Tommy Ferguson) was always angry and was always being mean to everyone in the house. He would take his anger out on all of us. He would hit us or hit the dogs.”

Valencia’s mother Tracy Pena, 39 (pictured right) told investigators she was forced to help Thomas Ferguson (pictured left) move the boy’s remains but kept quiet about it because she was afraid of Ferguson. Pena was sentenced to 12 years for failing to prevent her son’s abuse and killing in September

Thomas Wayne Ferguson killed himself in the Santa Fe County jail in 2018 while awaiting trial. Prosecutors then turned their focus to Jordan Nuñez accusing him of being a “willing accomplice”. Jeremiah was tortured for weeks before his death. Evidence showed that Jeremiah was punched, speared, shocked,  and confined to a 26×39-inch dog crate.

Jordan is accused of “violently flipping the dog crate” that resulted in the blow that killed Jeremiah.  Jordan said he flipped the to determine if Jeremiah was conscious. In 2020, at the age of 23 years old Jordan Nuñez pleaded guilty to child abuse and two counts of tampering with evidence for his role in the crime.

Jordan’s defense team wanted a lesser sentence for him based on his age and lack of criminal history arguing that he should not do more time than Jeremiah’s mother, Tracy Ann Peña. Peña received a 12-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2018 to one count of child abuse resulting in death and three counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine.

Because Jordan Nunez was a child at the time that Jeremiah was killed, attorney Theresa Duncan showed a court presentation that depicting the size of each person in the household; Tommy Ferguson, Peña, Nuñez, Jeremiah and his sister . It appeared to represent a family of two adults and three children. “It’s clear from this graphic that Tracy Peña and Thomas Ferguson were the real adults in this household,” Duncan said, adding Nuñez and Jeremiah where both victims of their violent father.

“Jordan could have been Jeremiah. Jeremiah could have been Jordan.”, Duncan stated in court. Jeremiah’s family criticized the argument. Family members stated that “The kids in the household were Jeremiah and his sister. Jordan was a grown man. Trying to put him as a child, that’s incorrect. He was capable of doing adult things in the world. Why wouldn’t he be considered an adult?”

13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia was beaten and killed by his mother’s boyfriend, Thomas Ferguson, who killed himself in Santa Fe County jail in 2018.

Jordan’s had just moved to New Mexico from Texas to reunite with his father. His childhood is marked by severe abuse and neglect. Jordan was bounced through more than a dozen homes. Jordan Nunez said a few a things about Jeremiah, “I remember so many things about Jeremiah from just a little bit of time. His NFL team was the Panthers. Logic was his favorite rapper. He loved playing video games. … There was so much more to him, so much more that I wish I got to know.”

A child psychiatrist hired by Jordan Nunez’s attorneys, Dr. Jeffrey Rowe testified that he interviewed babysitters who reported that they often found Jordan and his sister hungry, filthy and with severe diaper rash. “The children really had a rough time that first six years of life”. The children were removed from their biological parents and by age 11 the state of Texas had bounced Jordan through 11 foster homes, shelter, and psychiatric facilities. “He was getting shifted all over the place,” Rowe said. Mental health experts agree that six or more placements causes severe mental health issues that make it difficult to form secure relationships.

Thomas Ferguson broke Jeremiah’s jaw so bad that the bone broke through his gums. Then, Thomas Ferguson confined Jeremiah to the dog crate. That is where psychiatrist disagree about Jordan’s diagnoses. Rowe believes that Jordan seeing Ferguson beat and torture Jeremiah evoked painful memories from Jordan’s own childhood suffered by the same man.

As all children do, after being adopted by his grandparents in2008, once Jordan became old enough, he searched for his parents. He first moved to New Mexico to be with his mother, and then to Nambé to find his father. “Jordan has been looking for somebody who is going to be a father figure, and a mother figure, for many years,” Rowe testified.

But life with Ferguson was worse than most of us can imagine. Prosecutors said the abuse Jeremiah suffered “included beatings, attaching a shock collar around the boy’s thigh, dropping a heavy hammer on his hands and throwing a homemade spear that injured the Jeremiah in several places”.

Jordan’s attorneys argued that he was too afraid of Ferguson to stand up for Jeremiah. But prosecutors disagree and think that Jordan “had opportunities to alert authorities to the abuse, but that he did nothing, and even helped bury the body”. Dr. David Salsberg testified for the prosecution stating that Jordan “had access to a phone, used Facebook frequently and could leave the house”.

How did church leaders go unnoticed for so long? “Their word was golden”.

Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham said, “It was a different time. You didn’t remonstrate with the guy who’s giving you absolution.” (JOSEPH KACZMAREK / AP)

“The abuse scarred every diocese. The cover-up was sophisticated. The church protected the institution at all costs.” Attorney General Josh Shapiro says that two groups are at fault for allowing abuse to continue; “the Catholic Church hierarchy and law enforcement,  for sometimes working in tandem to keep the accusations from the public”.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro presented a grand jury report that shows decades of child sex abuse by priests in Pennsylvania and identifies 301 predator priests, and said that not only did church leaders fail, but that law enforcement failed as well.

Police allowed offending priests to walk away free for decades. Though the modest number of 1,000 victims the grand jury recounted suffer emotional, mental, and physical complications caused by the abuse throughout their lifetimes. When abuse happens there is a ripple effect that not only influences that abused person’s life.

Abuse is generational. Abused victims carry the memories of what happened to them every where they go. It affects their decision making, their perspectives, their parenting skills, their jobs, and their relationships with family and friends. They develop trust issues that never go away.

Former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham says that Pennsylvania police departments are stocked with Catholic police officers  that “knew the priests, but more importantly, she said, the priests knew them”. She said, “It was a different time. You didn’t remonstrate with the guy who’s giving you absolution.”

The Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli says that he thinks the public and law enforcement likely “didn’t want to believe priests would sexually abuse children. These cases in that time period probably would have been very difficult prosecutions, word against word”.

Morganelli was criticized after Stephen T. Forish was acquitted on charges of soliciting sex in 1998 when Monsignor prosecuted the case. “I was criticized big-time for bringing that case”. Eight years later, Forish was again charged with soliciting sex from strangers. He died awaiting trial in that case.

Shapiro, through a spokesman, declined to discuss law enforcement’s role in allowing abusive priests to get away without charges.

One of the most egregious missed opportunities by law enforcement involved the

Rev. Thomas Bender, who served at St. Francis Orphanage in Orwigsburg in 1972 said “the case where a state trooper found Bender with a high school-age boy, both with no pants on, in a car was reported by another trooper, who also was a deacon in the church”.

Monsignor Anthony Muntone’s report to Bishop Thomas J. Welsh of the Allentown Diocese stated that “the first trooper gave Bender a lecture and sent him on his way”. Welsh received another complaint about Bender in 1984.

One victim that Bender repeatedly raped years had to be hospitalized for a drug overdose and psychiatric problems. The church had to pay the civil and criminal complaints. Bender was convicted in 1988 and again in 2006. He is now 84 and lives in the Lower Macungie Township.

Robert Masters  who in 1964 was the Beaver County district attorney took it on himself to block Rev. Ernest Paone’s arrest. Paone molested young boys and illegally used guns with “even younger parishioners,” as early as 1962. Masters wrote in an Aug. 4, 1964, letter to Pittsburgh Diocese Bishop Vincent Leonard, “I have, in order to prevent unfavorable publicity, halted all investigations into similar incidents with other young boys”. Paone was allowed to transfer to dioceses in Nevada and in California even though more complaints were coming in at the time.

Forty-one years later the grand jury found other accusations. The grand jury asked Masters why he deferred to the bishop’s request to keep Paone’s misconduct under wraps. Masters stated, “Probably, respect for the bishop. I really have no proper answer”.

Paone supported Masters political career. In 1989, Masters who is now 87, was hired as solicitor for Beaver County’s Children and Youth Services. He was fired in 2018 when county commissioners learned of his record through the grand jury’s report.

Richard Long, the executive director of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association says, “It’s not acceptable for a district attorney or anyone in law enforcement to be overly deferential to any institution or any group,”

Carbon County District Attorney Richard Webb, who died in 2016, refused to prosecute Rev. David Soderlund who was instead assigned to posts outside of Carbon County. While serving at St. Joseph’s in Summit Hill during the 1980s, the Allentown Diocese received three complaints about Soderlund. One investigation revealed findings of child pornography, “including an image of Soderlund masturbating a 12-year-old boy”. Master “had assured him if the parents would not make an issue of the matter, he would not prosecute”.

Soderlund was sent to Our Lady of Hungary in Northampton, which has an elementary school. In 1987 he was accused of soliciting sex from young boys again. Soderland was removed from ministry in 1989 and the priesthood in 2005He moved to Wyoming where he was arrested for possession of child pornography in 2009. He was sentenced to two to five years in prison.

In 1978 the prosecutor allowed a diocesan attorney to intimidate a mother and her two children that were sexually molested by Rev. Anthony Cipolla of the Pittsburgh Diocese. The woman said, “They’re pushing the district attorney around or this guy is ignoring the district attorney, and the district attorney is not sticking up for us. He isn’t telling them, you know, Hey, don’t talk to them kids like that or Don’t talk to that woman like that. He just let him say whatever he wanted to do, and he did. And he intimidated us really bad.” Out of fear because of the intimidation the woman dropped the charges against Cipolla.

Cipolla went on to abuse more children. Current Beaver County District Attorney David J. Lozier said he believes the complaint came when the case was beyond the statute of limitations.

“Terry McKiernan, a director of Bishop-Accountability.org maintains a database of accused clergy. His notes show that from a 1967 phone call uncovered during the 2002 investigation into the Diocese of Manchester, N.H. a Catholic police chief leaving his job urged the church to remove a problem priest, Donald Osgood, who hadn’t been charged. The chief feared “the whole thing might blow sky high” if a non-Catholic chief succeeded him, the notes say.” Osgood was named in at least four civil lawsuits that later were settled.

“The bishops spend a lot of time schmoozing with the people in power who can help them or hurt them” McKiernan said. “Reports like these give a feel for the hand-washes-hand kind of thing that really was going on.” The 2016 grand jury report on the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese noted several instances in which law enforcement took the side of the church over priests’ victims.

“Jurors learned of a serial predator, Monsignor Francis McCaa, through a 985 meeting between then-Bishop James Hogan and the county district attorney’s office where Hogan agreed to send McCaa for treatment followed by a reassignment. McCaa, who died in 2007, was reassigned to serve as a hospital chaplain in Martinsville, W.Va. As the grand jury looked further into McCaa’s case, it learned that Cambria County Judge James T. Kiniry, then an assistant prosecutor in the district attorney’s office, carried out the deal with Hogan.” Says Tim Darragh of The Morning Call.

In 2016, Kiniry said “the church was given more authority over its members back then”. “You have to understand this is an extremely Catholic county. … Back then, the diocese moved the problem. That’s just how it was”.

Cardinal John Krol’s office managed to keep a police detective from reporting that Rev. Francis X. Trauger sexually assaulted Krol’s own 14-year-old son in 1982. The cardinal’s assistant said, “Convinced of our sincere resolve to take the necessary action regarding Fr. T., [the victim’s father] does not plan to press any charges, police or otherwise”.

“The asset these guys had was their word was golden,” Morganelli said. “They don’t have that anymore.”

Related Article: Church leaders protected the church for decades, not the children. Nebraska AG now releasing a report.

Judge says the Indian Child Welfare Act is racially discriminatory against white people.

The Lakota Peoples Law Project says that the American Association of Adoption  Attorneys filed six federal lawsuits in six different states and that Judge O’Conner struck down the Indian Child Welfare Act declaring that “it is an unconstitutional violation of the Equal Protection Act and stated that it racially discriminated against white people because they gave preference to Indian people or Indian children”.

“The issue has been appealed to the United States Supreme Court and it’s likely that they’re going to take up the case of the Indian Child Welfare Act, so this is part of an across-the-board assault that Trump and McConnell have packed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and they have upheld the anti-voting rules and regulations in Texas. They’ve upheld the ban on abortions. They’ve upheld the ban on gay marriages, and it’s now reached down even into going after a 47-year-old Indian Child Welfare Act that the white lawyers happen to have objected to because they’re making they’re making approximately $100,000 a piece for every one of the Indian children that they adopt out to a white couple”, stated Daniel Sheehan from the Lakota Peoples Law Project.

Here at Minding Hearts will never see us complain about the abortion ban because that prevents babies from being born and oftentimes causes the mother’s life to spiral out of control too, but to say that the Indian Child Welfare Act discriminates against white people brings up issues. Adoption is not the blessing that states make it out to be. Less than 3% of adopted children ever go to college. Many are placed on psychotropic drugs to “help them cope”. Sometimes before they are even a year old.

In 2018, while President, Trump passed the Family First Preventative Services Act that is supposed to be in place now and requires states to place children with family members first. The Indian Child Welfare Act states much of the same, but also requires that children removed from their biological parents and taken into states custody has to be placed with someone from their own tribe.

For Judge O’Connor to say that placing children with their own extended family where they are not denied the right to own heritage is absurd! More children are trafficked in the United States than anywhere else in the world. City reports show that between 60% to as many as 99% of the children rescued in sex trafficking stings were in state custody when they were trafficked. The Department of State every year in their Trafficking In Person Report reports that foster care is a problem and that trafficker’s prey on vulnerable children in foster care and children that run away. Children in foster care are more likely to run away, and when they are taken out of their neighborhoods and away from the people and places that they know, they are more likely to fall victims to traffickers. So what Judge O’Connor is doing is not “in the best interest of the children”.

Whether we agree on abortion or not I hope that we agree that keeping families intact whenever possible is the best thing that can happen for a child and for society as a whole. I plan to keep my eyes on this lawsuit and follow Judge O’Connor’s decisions and I hope that you will too. We cannot continue to destroy our own children. Let the tribes take care of their own and let the rest of the American families and families around the world take care of their own. Children are far better off with family than they are with complete strangers. Children are better off in their own communities with people they know and trust than they are when states take them off to far away places where they do not know anyone and cannot find their way back. Children just want to go home! States cannot even justify about 90% of removals!

Child Protection agencies failed to respond to multiple calls that would have prevented 4-year-old Charlie Garay from being killed in Rotterdam foster care.

The home where Dequan and Latrisha Greene fostered and killed Charlie Garay. 2734 Broadway in Rotterdam. Photo by Peter Barber. Dequan Greene faces second-degree murder charges.

A lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Albany County says that “The agencies ignored repeated red flags and bypassed established procedures, leaving Charlie in the care of at the home of Dequan and Latrisha Greene for months longer than he should have been and even bypassed procedure to initially place him there.

Charlie and his 5-year-old sibling were removed from their biological parents and placed in the Hellish placed in Schenectady County foster home by Albany County Department of Social Services in September 2020 where they were ignored and abused until Charlie was dead. Of course, none of the parties profiting from this child’s preventable death will comment. Lorraine Silverman is the attorney bringing the lawsuit.

The lawsuit names  multiple employees in both counties including case workers, supervisors and a CPS intake specialist, employees from the St. Anne Institute, a counselor, case manager and social worker.

Allegations include:

Employees did not interview and assess the two children’s needs.

Officials knew that Latrisha Greene was running an unlicensed day care out of her home.

Latrisha hurt children and placed them in a dog crate as punishment.

The state did not follow procedures and policies to certify the Green’s as a foster placement, nor did they ever check on the children in the home.

The state failed to respond to multiple calls that would have prevented Charlie from being killed.

The foster parent certification process was never properly completed even though Dequan Greene acknowledged fasting as a “self-care practice,” and stated that he had a short temper, and both Latrisha and Dequan Greene indicated their parenting styles were authoritative.

The state “failed to warn” (the murderous people that they paid to kill Charlie) the foster parents that Charlie was on complex medications and that he suffered from complex issues even though the killers said they did not want children with issues several times.

The Greens were never trained to manage, care for, and parent foster children who had the medical and other conditions.

The weekend the children were supposed to be in the Hellish foster placement turned into three agonizing months for the children.

Albany County called for an extension and advised lied saying that the Greenes wanted to keep the children in the home. Schenectady County agreed.

The children missed appointments.

“From the start of the foster care placement … the defendants did not make the required visits, assessments, evaluations, referrals, and checks to determine if they were properly and safely placed in the Greene foster home”.

In October, Latrisha Greene reported a behavioral issue but no one from the state would talk to her about it.

Latrisha Greene asked that the children be removed for a variety of reasons. One reason included that she did not have sleeping accommodations for the children.

“Rather than remove the children, Albany County asked Schenectady County whether one of the children could sleep in a walk-in closet. Albany County also recommended placing the other child in the basement”.

Schenectady County employee indicated that Charlie could not sleep there, and Albany County lied saying that it would remove the children the next day. They never showed up.

Albany County even sent an emergency removal 10-day letter Oct. 22, 2020. “Following that letter, Albany County DCYF and Schenectady County CFSO deliberately, willfully and intentionally chose to keep the infants in the Greene foster home”.

Albany County “bullied” Schenectady County and Latrisha Greene to keep the children. Schenectady County never visited the home again.

After missing several appointments and using Covid as a reason for not having the children in school, on Dec. 6, Latrisha Greene indicated the children were sick with the flu and she could not allow “in person” visits, but the counties did not require documentation.

Four days before Charlie was murdered, Albany County caseworkers showed up at the home to drop off a door alarm for a bedroom of one of the children.

“The children were beaten with sticks or switches, hands struck with pots and pans, made to do wall sits, force fed, had their mouths filled with food as punishment, food withheld, hit in their stomachs with jugs, sprayed with cold water, forced to take cold showers, pushed down, choked, confined to a dog cage as punishment and denied medical care and schooling”.

The lawsuit also alleges that Dequan Greene stomped on them.

“The surviving child suffered a torn frenulum, swollen lip, bruising to the torso and face, ear and bruising and scarring to the neck and bruising to the pelvis, among other injuries.

Charlie died from blunt force trauma that severed his liver.

“If the defendants had acted properly and had complied with their obligations and duties … the children would have never been placed with Latrisha Greene and Dequan Greene. The children even if wrongfully placed, would have been removed before they were beaten, abused, and murdered.”

Dequan Greene’s attorney says that Dequan claims that Charlie died by “choking”.

Latrisha Greene does not face charges in Charlie’s death.

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.

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