April 24th, 2008
I wish there were a better solution than to split up all these children and scatter them throughout Texas.
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
“The hundreds of children from a polygamist compound taken into state custody are on their way to group homes, shelters and residences, but experts and lawyers fear their transition may be much harder than it is for other foster children.”
I know that the allegations of what happened to these kids at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Ranch is awful, but right now, they are allegations, and from many news reports, it sounds as if the children and their mothers are suffering terribly in the aftermath. Meanwhile, where’s the due process?
“Buses have already shipped 138 children to group homes or boys’ and girls’ ranches, but most of the remaining children will be separated from their mothers for the first time when they are sent out of San Angelo in the coming days.”
“Children under 12 months will be placed in foster homes with siblings who are under 5, she said, and every attempt will be made to place [other] siblings together.”
When I read stories like these, I wonder: If the purpose is to remove these children from a negative environment, why place them in a similarly upsetting situation? From many accounts, Texas’ (like many states) foster care system is hurting and surely not all these homes can be personally evaluated for safety, or the provision of a good upbringing. Are these children being removed from one allegedly abusive situation only to be placed in another?
From a 2006 Texas Comptroller statement:
“Data shows that while the number of foster children in our state’s care increased 24 percent from 26,133 in Fiscal 2003 to 32,474 in Fiscal 2005, the number of deaths increased 60 percent.”
“If you compare the number of deaths of children in our state’s population to the number of deaths in our state’s foster care system, a child is four times more likely to die in our state’s foster care system.”
“Based on Fiscal 2004 data provided by the Health and Human Services Commission, about 100 children received treatment for poisoning from medications; 63 foster children received medical treatment for rape that occurred while in the foster care system; and 142 children gave birth while in the state foster care system.”
Do the judges associated with this case feel satisfied? As if maybe their part in this is done? Have any of the lawyers, CPS employees, and so on thought through this solution to its end? The response seems so impersonal: allegations of abuse? remove kids from parents. separate siblings. truck all to different parts of the state.
I’m absolutely all for taking children out of an abusive environment. But, how about continuing responsibility from the people who put these kids in the foster care system? Who’s going to ensure they’re not being abused in that new environment? Who’s going to work to keep siblings together? Who’s going to pay follow-up visits to these group and foster homes and keep tabs on the new caregivers? Or, is it just enough to ship these kids somewhere else and hope for the best?
This is when I wish I had a million-sq.-ft. home, staffed with loving caregivers, to house these children until something is proved one way or the other in this case.
Something in the system is broken. When are we going to put as much energy into fixing it as we do in speaking out against it (myself included)?
What do you think should happen?