The use of psychotropic medication on children in foster care is a widely debated topic. Some feel that foster children are medicated simply to make it easier for their foster parents, school officials and caseworkers to handle their behavior. Others feel that these vulnerable young people, having been victims of abuse and neglect at the hands of the people they love the most, need medication to help them cope with what they’ve experienced. No matter what your opinion is on the matter, there is little argument that the long-term effects of these drugs on young people needs to be carefully studied and the benefits and drawbacks carefully assessed. Continue reading
Imagine being 18 and on your own, with no family and no support system. That’s the fate that faces many youth aging out of foster care. Many states, including New Jersey, have upped the age to 21. Here’s why:
Transitional youth, youth in transition or youth aging out of foster care are all terms for a group of young adults in the United States who need special attention. After being in the foster care system due to neglect or abuse, these individuals now face another major challenge. Ms. Claudia Rowe of Crosscut.com wrote about a young woman named Lane, “She spent the three years from 18 to 21 trying, and failing, to find a foothold. She worked as a day laborer, dabbled with selling drugs then went back to couch-surfing. At 21, Lane won admittance to community college with a GED and full-ride scholarship, but soon dropped out, overwhelmed by the pressures of living on her own as an adult when she was, by most measures, still just a kid.” What if Lane had the opportunity for three additional years of support? Continue reading
Cultural Diversity in Foster Care: What It Means To Families
Foster care, by its nature, is culturally diverse. Abused and neglected children are placed in strangers’ homes, where expectations and communication styles are very different from where they came from. No matter how welcoming their foster parents are, foster children have to adjust to rules and traditions that are not their own. Some have never had a birthday party or a bedtime. Others have never been taught not to curse at the dinner table or to bathe daily. Learning to deal with these differences can be challenging for both foster parents and foster children. Continue reading
Children are placed into foster care due to abuse and neglect. Child abuse prevention is everyone’s responsibility.
If we told you that every day of the year, over 1,800 children are neglected or abused in United States, would you be inclined to believe it? Unfortunately, you should because there were more than 678,000 confirmed cases of child abuse in our country last year. Continue reading
Across the United States, a number of states have enacted a Foster Parent Bill of Rights: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington.
Other states have various codes or policies that are somewhat similar in nature. Here are some general provisions gleaned from reviewing several states’ regulations pertaining to foster parents:
- Resource parents must be treated with dignity, respect and trust
- Prohibition on discrimination
- Respect for family values and beliefs
Children in foster care face so many challenges. One of the most recurring is maintaining quality education. Many of you are aware that New Jersey passed the Education Stability Law in 2010 to assist children in foster care.
The law recognizes how chaotic a foster child’s life can be. School should be a foundation for the child’s socialization skills, providing balance against tragic experiences such as neglect or abuse.
New Jersey seeks to assure that there is little if any disruption in the education of the child. Children in foster care should be able to participate in school related activities. Location and transportation are addressed in the New Jersey statute. Continue reading