BY LINDA JO MARTIN
A documentary about three former foster children highlights numerous problems with the child welfare system. These teenagers were frequently moved from place to place, medicated irresponsibly, and treated as if they did not matter to anyone.
Now they try to put their young lives back together. They need to learn to be adults, but that’s so hard for an eighteen-year-old who had no stable family life for so long.
The young people in this video documentary are from Montana. They were all in foster home placements for apparently good reasons, in true need of help, but while there, nobody embraced them with love like a true parent would. This has left a lasting mark on their souls.
This twenty-minute segment is part of a longer documentary that can be seen on Hulu.com: From Place to Place
Statistics from the film:
There are 423,000 foster children in the USA.
The USA spends about $8,000,000,000 (eight BILLION) dollars annually on foster “care.”
Twelve million Americans have been in foster “care.” (myself included)
Thirty thousand young people age out of foster “care” each year in the USA.
1 in 7 former foster children (aged out) are homeless at some point before age 21.
Half of all former foster children will be unemployed at some point before age 21.
71 percent of all female former foster children will become pregnant before they are 21.
77 percent of all male former foster children will be arrested prior to their 21st birthday.
A few quotes from the film:
“[If] you set out to design, intentionally, the worst possible child welfare system, it would look like the system we have.” — From Place to Place, anon.
“We move them from a situation of risk, to one of danger, when we place them into these temporary systems…” — From Place to Place, anon.
“The system can never provide real love: real heart-bonded love like a mother has.” – Codie, in From Place to Place
“I needed somebody who gave a damn, and not because they were getting paid to give a damn.” – , in From Place to Place
“How we care for young people in this country really defines the strength of us as a country, and it matters.” – From Place to Place, anon.
“It breaks you down, makes you hurt, tears your heart, kills your belief, and your vigor for life. Rejection hurts. It’s absolutely hell to grow up switching place to place.” – Kirsten, in From Place to Place
“Human beings are very deeply geared towards attachment. We cannot tolerate loneliness. We cannot tolerate being by ourselves. We cannot tolerate being just flecks of dust traveling through the universe. We need to be connected. And of course, our most natural connection system, are our families.” – Bessel Van Der Kolk, founder of The Trauma Center, (Credited with diagnosis of PTSD)