Have you heard the wonderful news?! The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services announced that "new state figures show more children are leaving foster care for safe, permanent homes than are entering the child welfare system, as adoptions surged past 6,000 for the first time."
As Gladney’s staff reviews a case file for a child who has been in the Foster Care System we see that the average child in foster care has moved on average about 8 times before they find permanency through adoption.
Sometimes life is out of our control. When you are a child in Foster Care, that "sometimes" is most of the time. If you came into foster care with a suitcase or bag, it's gone after your first home. The majority of the time, the substitute is black garbage bags to carry your belongings in when you are moved to another home. Close your eyes and visualize your meager belongings stuffed into trash bags.
With the majority of children entering the Foster Care System before the age of 2 years old there is a great need for foster parents, adoptive parents, teachers, clinicians and medical providers to have tools and resources. Recently I read a harrowing statistic that in the state of Texas there were 4,310 children removed from their parents before or at the age of one years old. Helping the tiniest of our people understand their story, hurt and incorporate emotional and physical wellness should be all of our priority. Recently Sesame Street announced that they were releasing a new resource connection for children who are or have been in foster care and the adults in their lives.
Like most people I love to peruse social media for news of the day or for interesting insights on subjects I care about. Recently I read a very compelling and honest article titled, “Pipeline to Homelessness: Aging out of the Foster Care System.” The article details the challenges teens face as they age out of the foster care system.
Because of my work at Gladney, I was familiar with the very bleak outcomes associated with teens aging of foster care. Outcomes including, homelessness, trauma and mental illness, unplanned pregnancy and criminal activity, but what I liked about the article was the call to action for hope. And this is where I see Gladney. We can work together and be the hope for these kids. Because there is a surprisingly simple answer. Find homes for children who need them. Gladney believes every child deserves a loving and caring home. I am very proud and excited about the focus Gladney is giving this issue. New initiatives include:
Last week I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the Christian Alliance for Children (CAFO) Summit in Frisco, Texas. While I was there, it was great to see the Christian churches’ response to the problem of child welfare around the world.
This May is National Foster Care Month, in celebration we are sharing some strategies you can use to show support for foster children and families in the Fort Worth Area.