Friday, November 14, 2008

Economic Crisis' Impact on Foster Care System Part 2

Poverty, homelessness and unemployment are some of the main contributing factors to children being placed in foster care. Considering the current economic recession, it is possible that more children than ever will be placed in foster care in the coming months. The American foster care system is already facing challenges due to a lack of funding and workers. It is difficult to recruit and hold on to trained social workers who might improve the experiences of children in foster homes, which have gained a reputation as being unsafe in recent years. According to a 2004 report in The Future of Children, “30% to 80% of children in foster care exhibit emotional and/or behavioral problems, either from their experiences before entering foster care or from the foster care experience itself.”

This makes the job of a current or prospective foster parent harder than ever. Not only are they expected to deal with a variety of developmental disorders in their children, but the networks available to assist them are becoming increasingly dysfunctional. Without the proper funding, fewer parents will consider adoption and those who do will find it harder to raise their children successfully. It is easy to forget children who are still in foster care when so many families on both ends of the adoption process are already facing problems that seem insurmountable. Consider the following statistics: 37% of foster youth aged 17–20 had not completed high school and 12% reported being homeless at least once. With poverty and homelessness as two of the main contributors to placement in foster care, the resulting statistics seem neither promising nor surprising.

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