Foster Care Children at Higher Risk for Physical, Mental Problems
The University of California at Irvine (UCI) has released a study showing how dangerous foster care can be for children.
UCI sociologists found that after surveying over 900,000 children, those in foster care were:
• 7 times more likely to become depressed
• 5 times more likely to be anxious
• 6 times more prone to behavioral problems
• 3 times more likely to have an attention deficit disorder
• 3 times more likely to develop hearing and vision problems
• Twice as likely to develop asthma, obesity, speech problems, learning disabilities
This study is the first of its kind to consider “the mental and physical well-being of children who have spent time in foster care compares to that of children in the general population.”
With 400,000 children currently in foster care, this is a serious problem.
One of the justifications Child Protective Services (CPS) uses to take children from their home is their physical and emotional well-being. However CPS has been known to place children in foster homes where their safety is compromised more than with their parents.
In 2015, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) revealed that 2 little girls under 24 months old and in foster care were removed from the home via an ambulance – one child has died and the other is still being hospitalized.
The reportedly 30-something foster mother was described by neighbors as having “6 children living with her in the state-subsidized duplex apartment, three of them hers and three of them foster children.”
Jim Bishop, a neighbor, said that he could not imagine how this woman had “6 kids in one of these little tiny places”; referencing the size of the apartments.
Bishop said this complex was “low-income housing” and rhetorically asked: “Why would you put foster children in here?”
Roland Zullo, researcher into foster care privatization at the University of Michigan, said that “financial incentives of the industry” are the cause behind abuses and deaths of children in foster care.
Zullo said: “This is just the kind of service where the market approach doesn’t work.”
Earlier that year, a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 10 children was filed in a US District Court which alleges that those children, who are currently in the Arizona foster care, have been subject to abuse at the hands of neglectful state officials.
The ages of the children in question range from 3 to 14.
The suit states that specific members of the directors of the state departments of Health Services and Child Safety:
- Neglects its duty to provide adequate health care for children in state custody.
- Has a severe shortage of foster homes.
- Fails to promptly investigate reports of neglect and abuse involving children in foster care.
- Hampers efforts to maintain family relationships by separating siblings in foster care and not providing required parental visits.
Petitioners revealed that “the state is aware of these conditions”, using statistical data produced by the state to prove their point.
These allegations point to “a policy, pattern, custom and/or practice that shocks the conscience, is outside the exercise of any professional judgment, and amounts to deliberate indifference to the constitutionally-protected rights and liberty and privacy interests” of the children attached to the suit and all 17,000 children in Arizona state foster care.
Back in March, Heather Adams, a 24 year old foster mother, was charged with 1st degree murder after 2 foster boys (one 7 months old) died at her residence.
Adams had the boys for 5 months before their deaths. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) placed the children with Adams after allegations that their mother had physically abused the younger of the boys.
Andrea Lowell, the mother of the boys, was not told for 4 days that her children were dead.
Adams told the police she had hit Bryson, the elder boy, “with a closed fist”. The child was found in the home, unresponsive.
Lowell said: “They gave my child to somebody who killed him. He’s gone, all because the state said that she was suitable…and she’s not.”
Three years ago in Los Angeles Kiana Barker, a foster mother was convicted of 2nd degree murder for the death of Viola Vanclief, a 2 year old girl in her care.
Barker beat Vanclief to death with a belt, and waited until the next day, when the child was found not breathing, to call 911.
However, investigators and autopsy reports showed that Barker had hit the child with a hammer while she lay on bed until she died. Authorities said Vanclief died from blunt force trauma to her upper side which caused severe internal bleeding in her chest area.
That same year in New Mexico foster parents beat a boy in their charge so badly that he suffered permanent brain damage and blindness.
Although the parents of the child sued the foster parents and the New Mexico Department of Children, Youth and Families, a grand jury refused to indict both the department and the foster parents for any crimes.