Day: January 17, 2013

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Forgotten Children

I saw filthy living conditions

"Pee wall" next to sleeping quarters at therapeutic foster camp.
“Pee wall” next to sleeping quarters at therapeutic foster camp.

make-shift outhouses

4a (Large)
“playhouse” at a therapeutic foster camp

unsanitary food storage in so-called outdoor camps

Sleeping facilities outside at therapeutic foster camp.
Sleeping facilities outside at therapeutic foster camp.

 

where children must sleep in sleeping bags – no walls, no fans, no heat – for months and months and in many cases, year after year.

Water hole where children at therapeutic foster camp are forced to shower year round.
Water hole where children at therapeutic foster camp are forced to shower year round.

That’s not care.

Isolation area to punish foster children in attic with lock on outside of door.
Isolation area to punish foster children in attic with lock on outside of door.

That’s cruelty.

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Worker at therapeutic foster camp demonstrating a technique in restraint of foster child.

That’s not educating.

Foster Child in Army Fatigues
Are foster children being forced to wear army clothes? Why?

That’s endangering”

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Carol Strayhorn on Texas Foster Care System in 2004

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Forgotten Children

I saw filthy living conditions

"Pee wall" next to sleeping quarters at therapeutic foster camp.
“Pee wall” next to sleeping quarters at therapeutic foster camp.

make-shift outhouses

4a (Large)
“playhouse” at a therapeutic foster camp

unsanitary food storage in so-called outdoor camps

Sleeping facilities outside at therapeutic foster camp.
Sleeping facilities outside at therapeutic foster camp.

 

where children must sleep in sleeping bags – no walls, no fans, no heat – for months and months and in many cases, year after year.

Water hole where children at therapeutic foster camp are forced to shower year round.
Water hole where children at therapeutic foster camp are forced to shower year round.

That’s not care.

Isolation area to punish foster children in attic with lock on outside of door.
Isolation area to punish foster children in attic with lock on outside of door.

That’s cruelty.

image_71290
Worker at therapeutic foster camp demonstrating a technique in restraint of foster child.

That’s not educating.

Foster Child in Army Fatigues
Are foster children being forced to wear army clothes? Why?

That’s endangering”

cover

Carol Strayhorn on Texas Foster Care System in 2004

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Quotes From Foster Children

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Mother meant the whole world to me and there wasn’t anything I could do to get her back. It was like I had lost everything. Lucie, Age 19

I felt so bad for my mom and I constantly felt like it was my fault because I couldn’t do anything to stop it.

PoemGirl, Age 17

I felt so disappointed and heartbroken. I hated my life. Brittany, Age 13

How does it feel to be a Foster Child? It’s like being in a great world of your own. Mark, Age 12

I felt very sad and I knew I could not do anything about it. I had to get over it. I know how it feels to be pushed around. I have been there.Einstein, Age 11
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The placements did not work because in my heart I felt alone but in my mind I felt grown….The only problem in the home was me. There I was almost thirteen and hated the world. I could not trust anyone. I didn’t want to trust anyone. How could I trust someone? I had to protect myself from hurt. The only way I could do that was to guard my heart….I messed up four homes because of this. Flower Girl, Age 18

I think that when you become an adult it’s just like a toddler you’re a caterpillar, and when you’re a kid you’re a cocoon and finally you become an adult which would be a butterfly. Jesse, Age 9

We should all make our foster care family a possibility.MeMe, Age 17

 

The best advice I have from one foster child to another is that you never give up….Never think that you are worthless. Jane, Age 10

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Kids who stayed with their families were:
LESS likely to become juvenile delinquents

or teen mothers

and more likely to hold jobs as young adults than kids who were removed into foster care.

14% OF KIDS WHO STAYED WITH FAMILY WERE arrested at least once rather than

44% of kids who went to foster care!

33 % OF KIDS WHO STAYED WITH THEIR FAMILY BECAME teen mothers but more than half (56%) of Kids WHO WENT TO FOSTER CARE BECAME TEEN MOTHERS!

33% OF KIDS WHO STAYED WITH THEIR FAMILY held a job at least 3 months:as opposed to merely 20 % of the Kids Who Went to foster care!

Out of 500,000 children in U.S. foster care STATISTICS SHOW that foster children are more likely than other kids to drop out of school commit crimes, abuse drugs and become teen parents!
Teens aging out of foster care have spent nearly five years there. That’s twice the average length of time for all kids  in the system.

Fewer than 3% of foster kids earn college degrees.

Teens in foster care are less likely to finish high school & more likely to go to prison or become homeless.

 I HAVE ONE QUESTION:

WITH THESE STATISTICS – HOW CAN THE GOVERNMENT CALL  CPS  CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES?? 

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Quotes From Foster Children

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Mother meant the whole world to me and there wasn’t anything I could do to get her back. It was like I had lost everything. Lucie, Age 19

I felt so bad for my mom and I constantly felt like it was my fault because I couldn’t do anything to stop it.

PoemGirl, Age 17

I felt so disappointed and heartbroken. I hated my life. Brittany, Age 13

How does it feel to be a Foster Child? It’s like being in a great world of your own. Mark, Age 12

I felt very sad and I knew I could not do anything about it. I had to get over it. I know how it feels to be pushed around. I have been there.Einstein, Age 11
FogelsonHarkova


The placements did not work because in my heart I felt alone but in my mind I felt grown….The only problem in the home was me. There I was almost thirteen and hated the world. I could not trust anyone. I didn’t want to trust anyone. How could I trust someone? I had to protect myself from hurt. The only way I could do that was to guard my heart….I messed up four homes because of this. Flower Girl, Age 18

I think that when you become an adult it’s just like a toddler you’re a caterpillar, and when you’re a kid you’re a cocoon and finally you become an adult which would be a butterfly. Jesse, Age 9

We should all make our foster care family a possibility.MeMe, Age 17

 

The best advice I have from one foster child to another is that you never give up….Never think that you are worthless. Jane, Age 10

Picture_1-1

Kids who stayed with their families were:
LESS likely to become juvenile delinquents

or teen mothers

and more likely to hold jobs as young adults than kids who were removed into foster care.

14% OF KIDS WHO STAYED WITH FAMILY WERE arrested at least once rather than

44% of kids who went to foster care!

33 % OF KIDS WHO STAYED WITH THEIR FAMILY BECAME teen mothers but more than half (56%) of Kids WHO WENT TO FOSTER CARE BECAME TEEN MOTHERS!

33% OF KIDS WHO STAYED WITH THEIR FAMILY held a job at least 3 months:as opposed to merely 20 % of the Kids Who Went to foster care!

Out of 500,000 children in U.S. foster care STATISTICS SHOW that foster children are more likely than other kids to drop out of school commit crimes, abuse drugs and become teen parents!
Teens aging out of foster care have spent nearly five years there. That’s twice the average length of time for all kids  in the system.

Fewer than 3% of foster kids earn college degrees.

Teens in foster care are less likely to finish high school & more likely to go to prison or become homeless.

 I HAVE ONE QUESTION:

WITH THESE STATISTICS – HOW CAN THE GOVERNMENT CALL  CPS  CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES?? 

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Every Child Deserves to Know They Are Divine

deserves

Because the swing of every pendulum brings with it potential adverse consequences, it is important to emphasize that in the area of child abuse, as with the investigation and prosecution of all crimes, the state is constrained by the substantive and procedural guarantees of the Constitution.<br />The fact that the suspected crime may be heinous – whether it involves children or adults – does not provide cause for the state to ignore the rights of the accused or any other parties.

Otherwise, serious injustices may result.

“Syl.Pt.3,WALLIS v. SPENCER, 202 F.3d 1126(9th Cir. 2000)

A Child advocate in Chicago said:

“an infant in a paper bag on the freeway at rush hour is safer than a child in protective custody there.”

Children are FOUR TIMES more likely to die in State’s Care than in the natural home.

The ones that are alive, are traumatized, abused, and damaged for life.

What is our government doing to our children?

Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the United States. _______________________________________________
PARENTS v. CPS/
PERPETRATORS OF MALTREATMENT STATISTICS:

Physical Abuse: <em>CPS= 160 </em>- Parents = 59
___________________________________________
Sexual Abuse :<em> CPS = 112 </em>- Parents = 13
____________________________________________
Neglect:<em> CPS = 410 </em>- Parents = 241
_____________________________________________
Medical Neglect:<em> CPS = 14 </em>- Parents = 12
_____________________________________________
Fatalities: <em>CPS = 6,4</em> – Parents = 1,5

(source):<em> The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) in Washington.</em>

What are we allowing the  government to do to our children???

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TWO YEARS following her 2004 Forgotten Children Report, Carole Strayhone issues a statement that shows us exactly how children are regarded in foster care by the state:

She states,

“The state is supposed to be protecting our forgotten children, but in all too many cases these children are taken from one abusive situation and placed in another abusive situation. Many children are in more abusive situations now than they were before the state intervened. Children are being neglected and abused and are dying.

“As reported by the media, a 12-year-old boy died in December 2005, while in our state’s care at a facility that treats children with learning disabilities and emotional problems. The boy suffocated while being restrained from behind by an employee of the facility.

“Another boy in our state’s care at the same facility died May 30, after drowning in a creek during a May 6 bicycle outing.

“A three-year old was treated for poisoning from an atypical, mind-altering antipsychotic drug. These drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children under the age of 18 years old.

“Gov. Perry’s failure to create a Crisis Management Team is unconscionable. The crisis is minute-by-minute and child-by-child. I renew my call. He must act now to save children’s lives.

“I discovered the alarming number of deaths, poisonings, rapes and pregnancies while conducting my investigation into potential prescription drug fraud and abuse in the state’s foster care system.

“I launched my investigation in November 2004, after my report, Forgotten Children, uncovered the fact that large numbers of psychotropic drugs are being prescribed to children in the foster care system, even though, according to the FDA, many of these drugs are not approved for children and have serious side effects such as suicidal tendencies, diabetes, and cardiac arrhythmia.

“Since that time, repeated and continuing roadblocks and stonewalling have been encountered by me and my staff in attempting to secure basic and necessary data from the Health and Human Services Commission to complete my investigation.

“It has been 19 months and 25 letters, emails, meetings and phone calls since I first requested foster care and corresponding Medicaid data from HHSC. ..”

source: http://www.cpa.state.tx.us/news/60623statement.html

What message does that send to the people that children are so easily disregarded by the agencies implemented to supposedly protect them? It does not give a lot of incentive to care, that is certain.

Children are taught by the actions of the people in the environment, role models, influences, mentors. If the people raising them don’t care, and they complain and nothing is done, how are they going to learn to care about themselves and their futures?

How will they stay away from drugs? Or not commit crimes?

They won’t.

They will only learn from their peers who are just as angry, hurt, and lost.

So when its their house broken into, or their car stolen, I bet they’d care then,

and try to put them in jail.

Then they care about the costs to house them in jail, and the overcrowding issues when their taxes go up and they lose part of their paycheck.

Or when the ghettos and slums nearby affect the housing value of their neighborhoods, because of the crime rate when these kids age out and have no place to go.

Or the stray bullet of a drive by that hits their wife or kid…they’d care then.

They complain that the beggars are coming up to their car at a gas station or a red light.

Or they complain that they can’t go anywhere without locking their doors, or worrying about their kids walking to the store alone.

Why not start to care before innocent children wind up this way.

Eventually, it’ll hit home.

The following conversation actually occurred:

Caseworker: We know your husband is guilty, you’ve got  to force him into admitting it.

Mother: How do you know he’s guilty?

Caseworker: We know he’s guilty because he says he’s  innocent. Guilty people always say they’re innocent.

Mother: What do innocent people say? 

 Caseworker: We’re not in the business of guilty or innocent. We’re in the business of putting families  together.

Mother: So why not do that with us?
Caseworker: Because he won’t admit his guilt.

(Source:) Wounded Innocents: The Real Victims of the War on Child Abuse (Paperback) by Richard Wexler

May 2004
One Heartbroken Grandma
My recent investigation into the state’s foster care system turned this One Tough Grandma into One Heartbroken Grandma.
I am calling for a massive overhaul of the foster care system in a special report, Forgotten Children, which details a widespread crisis in the Texas foster care system.
They are everybody’s children and nobody’s children. They are the forgotten children. Some of them find homes with caring foster parents, or in treatment centers with experienced and caring providers, and some do not.
Some have been sexually, physically and emotionally abused while in the system; some have run away and joined the ranks of the missing. A few have even died at the hands of those entrusted with their care.
I am appalled at the conditions too many of our foster children must endure.
I challenge any defender of the status quo to put their child or grandchild in some of the places I’ve seen for one day, much less for a lifetime.
We must raise the bar on quality, make the foster care system more accountable, ensure the health and safety of all foster care children, and provide a brighter future for foster children.
Fortunately, I did find facilities that treat children well.
In each and every instance where children were getting the best care, the caregivers are working closely and openly with the community. Each facility needs that close relationship and support from the communities they serve. Otherwise, the children suffer.
Any society can be judged by how it treats its weakest members. My investigation shows that Texas can and must be judged harshly.
I will monitor changes made–or not made–as a result of this special report, and for the sake of our forgotten children, I will report back to the people of Texas in six weeks and six months and as long as it takes to fix this broken system and save all of our children.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn
Texas Comptroller

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