Saw a meme today about foster care, a quote from a foster kid that read: “Ive had 23 foster placements which is really a dressed up way to say Ive left everything and everyone 23 times” I was at 34 “placements” before I even reached adulthood. That is the rule not the exception. Nearly 30 years later Im still wrestling with the damage that caused.
I cant help but think there’s a whole generation of kids churned out by this same system all across North America. Now these are mostly US stats as they are easier to find than Canadian ones but either way something has got to change:
Up to 80% of those incarcerated spent some time in foster care. 25% of foster kids end up in prison within 2 years of emancipation. 65% of kids in care experience 7 or more school changes. Children in care are four times more likely to be abused and between 25% and 40% of all kids in foster care report abuse. Those are just the survivors.
In my province alone, Alberta, 741 kids died in care between 1999 and 2013. An additional 100 have died from 2017 to 2021. These kids were beaten, starved, neglected and abused TO DEATH in a system meant to keep them safe.
These same victims of a system that shuttles them around like cattle also disregards abuse reports. Foster kids arent believed. Instead they are removed to another home with potentially all new abuses and a different kid is put in their old placement to face the same stuff they tried to report.
Eventually you give up trying to change it, give up trying to save yourself and just accept that’s the way it is.
So you have a government system created to get these kids to adulthood however it can be done with little to no regard for the condition with which they arrive just so these same institutionalized beings can finish their adulthood in prison.
Whole generations of humans growing up believing they’re unlovable and flawed somehow. That no one cares, no one wants them and no one will save them and we wonder why these same kids end up in gangs as a surrogate family, abusive relationships or go on to abuse their own kids.
No one taught them differently. They have no idea what love is or what it feels like to be the recipient of it. They had no good examples and no one to convince them they had any value other than the body parts they could offer up, the work they could do or the cheque they brought in every month.
Im not even touching on the racial overtones. Natives in Canada and Blacks in the US are both far more likely to end up in and age out of this system.
This is not ok. It has got to change.