I normally don’t discuss Christian issues on this site because I want it to be for all residential childcare workers regardless of their faith, however I believe this issue illustrates a general issue in America.
Last night I went to a Christian concert and like many of the ones I have attended the band was promoting a ministry to benefit disadvantaged children overseas. (usually in Africa or Asia). The band member spoke about how this ministry was doing great things overseas and works very hard to find adoptive families in the U.S. for these children that are orphaned and are having to live in orphanages where they receive little or no affection. To date they have arranged 50,000 adoptions and they need our financial support to continue.
Additionally, in Hollywood there are many stars that have decided to adopt children from overseas and are very public about it. I think it is great that America is the most benevolent country in the world and that we think it is important to help children and people all over the world and do. I do however wonder about the children within our own borders.
According to the AFCARS (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System) website for 2003 the last year statistics are available there were over 119,000 children available for adoption out of the foster care system. Of that number only about 50,000 were adopted. And out of that 50,000 about 85% were adopted by either their foster parents (About 62%) or family members (about 23%). For more than half of the children available for adoption in the U.S., THERE WAS NO HOME FOR THEM TO GO TO.
This is almost 70,000 children right here in America that need a permanent family but don’t have one available to them.
There are about 523,000 children in the foster care system and this don’t include all the children that are placed privately with facilities that never get reported as foster care statistics.
Every county and state that I know of is in dire need of additional foster parents.
There is a funding and staffing crisis in children’s welfare through out the country. Social worker case loads are in many cases more than anyone should be expected to handle. Residential care facilities have to compete for what seems a limited number of residential childcare workers/houseparents and many are in a perpetual state of being understaffed.
The children in this country in many cases are not able to receive the care that they need because there is not enough people available to provide it.
Somebody needs to make a case for our very own children. Should we not make sure our own house is in order, before we start going out and fixing up others? Is it possible to do both?
Finally, I wonder how many of these children that are being adopted from overseas, eventually end up in our already overwhelmed foster care system? This might be a good research subject for some college thesis.