In the United States overall there are approximately 500,000 children in foster care. There are many serious issues surrounding foster care, not the least of which is there are not nearly enough potential foster care homes for the numbers of children who need this shelter and care.
Joining Dennis McCuistion to discuss the complexity of this issue is:
- E. Scott McCowan, JD: Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities
- Evy Kaye Ritzen: Program Director, TRAC
- Jan Tennyson: Founder, Dare to Dream Foundation
Jan Tennyson, who along with her three other sisters and brothers was in foster care for most of her childhood, talks about the issues of self-esteem, how not feeling wanted took most of her life to overcome, and led to her spending her adult life working with young people to help them with these same issues. She believes quality care and being encouraged by your foster parents to get an education, to finish high school and get a college education is critical.
Unfortunately, as the statistics show this is not always the case. In fact, studies cite that 40% of the homeless people in the United States were once in foster care and they comprise the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Yet as Scott McCowan summarizes, it does not necessarily mean that if you are in foster care one becomes part of that statistic, but there are often serious attachment disorders as a child may be moved from home to home. He says, “sometimes there are too many children in one home. This is a vulnerable population and they need extra care.”
A Baltimore study Evy Kaye Ritzen discussed, tracked foster care children for 12-18 months after they aged out of foster care and found:
- 27% of the males and 10% of the females were incarcerated
- 33% required public assistance
- 37% had not finished high school.
Yet, foster care solves a problem and our society needs more volunteers and parents willing to take care of children in a loving, nurturing home. Join in for more information on what is needed and how an individual can be a part of the solution.
And as always, thanks for watching as we talk about things that matter with people who care.
Niki Nicastro McCuistion
Executive producer/ producer