Jacob’s case tragically illustrates. At 4 years old, he was removed from his mother’s care because she was living with a sex offender.

Jacob’s father was given custody of his children, but within days he returned them to the state because he was headed to prison.

State workers shuttled Jacob through 45 different foster homes in 13 years. Not provided adequate therapy to deal with his likely sexual abuse and the chaos of being a child without a family, Jacob’s behavior grew increasingly dangerous until nobody wanted him.

Now he is within months of his 18th birthday, being held in a secure mental health treatment facility and being given psychotropic drugs to control his behavior, even though Gievers says he has never been diagnosed with a mental illness.

Tampa Tribune, February 2, 2008

This story from Tampa, FL is just one of several stories about the horrors of foster care that show up in the worlds newspapers EVERY DAY. Don’t just take my word for it though, just go to news.google.com and search for “foster care.” I post some of these articles here on the Forever Homes website because I want to make sure that people understand that Foster Care is not the long term solution for abused and neglected children.

I think that as American that we assume that our kids are ok since we don’t have sweat shops, homeless kids running the streets or orphanages (although some could rightly argue that many of the group homes and residential care facilities are pretty much orphanages). Although there are many shortcomings in the foster care system, there are many wonderful people who serve as case managers, supervisors and foster parents. The fault is not with the people, but with the system as a whole. In foster care we have given control of the child’s life to the government of the state. Here are some examples of the things the state does pretty well.

  • State governments are great for making rules. Thousands of rules, some of which make sense, govern every aspect of the child’s life.
  • State governments are great at receiving and investigating allegations of abuse and neglect.
  • State governments are great at pulling at risk kids from their homes. Lets face it, those are the times you really want the police around.
  • State governments are great at collecting taxes from the public to pay for the child’s care.

But the state government was not designed, nor was will it ever be good at parenting. Governments can not nurture, love, or care with their whole heart about the welfare of one child. That is what parents do.

The people cry for reforms to foster care and sue the government for mistreating kids, but in my opinion the fault does not lay with our state agencies. They are honestly doing just about the best job they can at something the are not designed to do. If we are going to complain, lets complain about why there are not more people doing something about the problem.

Our State agencies are working to place about 200,000 kids a year into adoptive homes. 120,000 of those kids are going to keep waiting, many until they age out of the system. Lets motivate churches to step up and recruit parents

Lynn Owens
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Lynn Owens

Lynn is the co-founder of Forever Homes, and Owner of Canyon Lakes Family Counseling Center, a Mental Health Clinic, where he specializes in treating adopted and foster children. He has over 20 years experience in Residential Care, Foster Care and adoption. Combined he and his wife have parented about 100 kids.
Lynn Owens
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