I had a long conversation with a colleague (with new found foster care knowledge) about why the foster care system fails so many youth. I explained that the foster care system is a lousy parent because a system is not a parent. Entry into the system is warranted by imminent danger, trauma or crisis. The foster care system is meant to be a temporary arrangement to ensure a child’s safety. I acknowledge that many lives have been saved by the foster care system, however, the system was not created as a long-term solution to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
My sentiment was echoed from the stage at ‘Foster The City’ on November 2, as a national foster care expert proclaimed “the government does not make a good parent”.
System = a coordinated body of methods or a scheme or plan of procedure
REMEMBER – November is National Adoption Month
All human beings need love, support, and stability in order to thrive yet a system provides protocol not human interaction. No two children are exactly alike so a successful parent doesn’t implement a one size fits all approach. A system is made up of an array of human beings with different ideas, values, experiences, training, and opportunities but with a finite number of roles and responsibilities. A human parent can change their mind freely or admit mistakes when they occur. A system must follow a specific process before change can take place. Loved ones teach and serve. The numerous moving parts of the foster care system coupled with the uncertainty of the job market open the door for brief and impersonal interactions, miscommunication, and low quality service delivery.
I could go on and on but I won’t. I would, however, love to hear from YOU. Feel free to leave a comment below about why you feel the foster care system is a lousy parent. In fact, let me know if you disagree with me.
You Might Also Want To Read: Reflections Of a Foster Child
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox utilizes youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic empowerment strategies to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs. We are committed to supporting and raising awareness about the needs and potential of teenagers in the foster care system.
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