Student loan debt is a rising reality all across the country. Debt now totals more than $1 trillion for American students and, according to a newly released report, it’s being caused by low-income students at two-year community colleges and for-profit schools. For foster youth looking to pursue post-secondary education, the reality of student loans cannot be ignored.
To anyone attending a post-secondary institution, the cost of college is no surprise. The ever-escalating price tag is difficult to manage for any prospective student, and it’s especially hard if you don’t have an adult to help you through an undeniably complicated process.
This is the situation many foster youth find themselves dealing with as they apply for financial aid. And given the recently released report from The Brookings Institute, it’s critically important foster youth understand what they’re signing up for.
According to the report: “By 2011…borrowers at for-profit and 2-year institutions represented almost half of student-loan borrowers leaving school and starting to repay loans, and accounted for 70 percent of student loan defaults.” Continue reading
Social media is just about everywhere. It’s in most ads, the products you buy, your TV screen, your computer – it’s even in your pocket. For those looking to link up with friends, relatives and peers, this is fantastic news. Connections are made easier than ever and long distance bonds aren’t as fragile as they were in the past. But for foster parents, who are first and foremost in charge of protecting their children from harm and providing for their basic needs, social media can present a difficult challenge.
On the one hand we can see that anonymity protects foster children from harm and that social media compromises anonymity. On the other, we understand that socializing is a basic need and that social media has become an integral part of how children and teens socialize. So how’s a foster parent to walk this fine line? With delicate, well-informed steps and with the child’s safety always in mind.
Foster Teens and Social Media: What Are the Upsides?
Socializing is indeed a basic need, and social media is a powerful tool that addresses this need. It can help a foster youth maintain connections to the friends and role models she makes as she moves through placements or returns to her biological parents’ care. It can lessen the pain of separation from siblings who may have been placed elsewhere.
Foster children and the parents who support them are our neighbors and friends. It’s interesting, then, that some of us think of foster children as delinquents and foster parents as people who care less about children and more about the check that comes with them every month. Many of us also mistakenly feel that the state agencies that pair vulnerable children with their forever families are, for one reason or another, not as reliable as private domestic adoption agencies. If you’re considering adoption, it’s important to put these and other misconceptions behind you so you can make an informed decision that meets the needs of your family and your community.
According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System (AFCARS), there are more than 100,000 foster children across the US who are currently waiting to be adopted. More than 1,000 of those children are waiting to be adopted right here in New Jersey. Each one has a face, a name and a history of abuse and neglect. Each one deserves a chance at a promising future and a welcoming home just like any other child. Foster care adoption is often their best chance.
Adoption from Foster Care and Private Domestic Adoption: Why Don’t More People Adopt From Foster Care?
Regrettably, many of these children’s stories go untold, and many of the stories that are told go unheard. These children’s lack of exposure to the public eye leaves about 60 percent of people underestimating the number of foster children awaiting adoption and another 50 percent assuming incorrectly that these children landed in foster care because of delinquency. These misconceptions correlate with another set of numbers: in 2013, 92,000 of the more than 400,000 children in foster care had case plans that aimed at adoption. Yet only about 50,000 of those children exited foster care after being adopted.
The New York City child welfare system, which has been tasked with placing abused and neglected children in safe homes, is accused in a lawsuit of failing the very people it’s supposed to protect.
New York City’s Public Advocate, Leticia James and private lawyers are filing a class-action complaint against the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), an agency that represents most of the children in foster care in the city, alleging the organization is operating below standards.
The lawsuit names 10 children who have been in foster care for most or all of their lives as plaintiffs. Many report neglect, physical and sexual abuse while in care and are claiming these abuses have contributed to illnesses like depression and Bipolar Disorder.
New York has reduced the number of children in care from 45,000 in the 1990s to 11,000 today, but according to the lawsuit, New York City’s foster care system has one of the worst records of mistreatment of children in care. Continue reading
Thousands of elderly in the United States who have retired from full-time jobs become parents all over again. Without assistance from local child welfare agencies, more and more kinship caregivers, especially senior citizens, don’t have enough money to make ends meet.
Many grandparents are living on fixed incomes like retirement or disability. Since that only scratches the surface of their basic needs, it’s not nearly enough to cover the cost of kinship care.
The Cost of Kinship Care: Nationwide Trend
Kinship care is one of the most common forms of foster care, and grandparents are usually the providers. However, in Idaho, there are about 11,000 grandparents who are raising grandchildren on their own without state help. Unfortunately, about 14 percent of them are also living in poor conditions. To take care of the needs of the kids, a lot of grandparents are overlooking their own necessities. And it’s not just in Idaho – this trend is nationwide. Continue reading
Facebook is everywhere and has been since it opened to everyone in 2006. You have an account, your mom probably has an account, and the local coffee shop you frequent has an account. It’s a place where people share opinions, pictures and stories with their friends and family. But for prospective and current foster, adoptive and kinship parents, Facebook is much more.
Foster, adoptive and kinship parents across the country face a unique set of challenges that most of the general public wouldn’t understand. Whether it’s the complicated licensing process, the myriad of policy issues or the foster care placement procedure, foster parents are confronted with an intricate government system that often varies state by state.
While helpful resources are available, many prospective and current foster parents are turning to each other on Facebook for guidance, understanding and acceptance through their fostering journey. Nationally, foster parents turn to the Facebook pages of organizations like The National Foster Parent Association for information on foster care specific topics such as aging out and multigenerational care. This page, like many other organizational Facebook pages, is a place where previously published information is gathered from across the internet and published in one convenient place. Continue reading