Approximately one in every 10 foster children has been the victim of physical abuse, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau. There’s the 10-year-old boy who thinks it’s normal to be beaten every day after school. And Baby B who has unexplained rib and leg fractures. And I’ll never forget Sweet L, the well-spoken and best mannered 3-year-old I’ve ever met, who thought potty training meant having her legs beaten after every potty accident. These children are real, and they desperately need our help.
They are scared, lonely, hurting. They are also precious, beautiful and smart. They need affection and positive attention from an adult who is capable of showing them what a healthy, loving relationship looks like. What it feels like. They need to understand that life can be different.
The remaining nine of every 10 foster children are victims of neglect. That includes L who is in 6th grade and gets teased by his classmates for poor hygiene. He has four younger siblings, and his mother was too distracted to make sure he showered and brushed his teeth every day. And Big G, the tallest three-and-a-half year old ever, who was charged with caring for his barely two-year-old brother for several hours. Outside.
Want another statistic? In the two minutes since you began reading this post, another child has entered foster care somewhere in the United States. EVERY TWO MINUTES. There are currently more than 4,700 kids in foster care in South Carolina. One of them is Little A, a precious three-year-old girl who could speak but was so traumatized by being removed from her home that she temporarily couldn’t find her words.
These kids deserve explanations and release from guilt. They need a safe home and a warm bed. They need patience and understanding when they are traumatized by being removed from the only home they know, torn from the parents they love despite the circumstances.Here are some shocking statistics from the National Foster Youth Institute specific to kids who age out of the foster care system: One in every five will end up homeless. Only half will be gainfully employed by the age of 24; less than 15% will attend college and less than 3% will earn a college degree at any point in their lives. One out of every four children who age out of the system still suffer from the direct effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Half will develop a substance dependence. About 70% of young women who age out of foster care will become pregnant by the age of 21 (70 percent!).
We need to do better for these kids who entered the system as innocent victims of their parents’ bad decisions. We need to help them break the cycle. As a society, we need to do everything we can to set them up for future success.
Here’s one final statistic you can do something about: 1,917 more foster families are needed in South Carolina. Read more about the need in your county.
Will you step up? Here’s how you can get started today.
Are you ready to step up for these kids and become a foster parent? Or do you at least want to learn more? It’s okay to still have questions. It’s okay to have doubts.
Reach out to Care2Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll walk you through the process, connect you to resources, and support you as you take next steps.