Data suggests that foster care does not benefit children


Kansas’ Department for Children and Families is being audited by the Kansas State Legislature on a range of issues, one of which concerns the privatization of the state’s foster care program, which critics contend has created a profit-motivated demand for the separation of families, in much the same fashion that private prisons create a demand for prisoners. State officials often state that children are only placed in foster care when it is in the child’s best interest.

DCF's slogan: "Strong families make a strong Kansas".
DCF’s slogan: “Strong families make a strong Kansas”.

According to the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, approximately 28,000 children age out of foster care every year. Aging out occurs when a child becomes 18 and is no longer eligible for placement in a foster home. Once they reach adulthood, unlike children living in their own homes, many of these young men and women are simply left to fend for themselves.

According to a study conducted by the Urban Institute, children in foster care are less likely to be employed than children living in the general population. The same study concludes that education rates for foster children are also lower, with foster children being less likely to graduate high school, and less likely to attend college.

According to experts, as many as 45% of former foster children will experience homelessness in their first year of adulthood. A survey conducted in Minneapolis and reported to Congress found that 39% of the long-term homeless population had been in state custody as children.

Research conducted by the General Accounting Office shows that children in the child welfare system are significantly more likely to be using doctor prescribed psychotropic pharmaceutical drugs. In 2008, 39% of children in foster care were receiving these powerful, mind-altering medications, compared with just 5-10% of children in the general population.

The Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness has found that former foster children are 30% more likely to be substance abusers in adulthood than those who were raised at home.

Children living in foster care, according to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, are four times more likely to sexually abused by foster parents than children living at home are by their biological parents.

Children who age of out of foster care are also highly likely to serve time in prison. According to expert Beth Azar, at one time, 80% of the prisoners in Illinois state prisons were former foster children. A similar survey conducted in Connecticut found that 75% of the inmates in state prison had been in foster care as children.

4 thoughts on “Data suggests that foster care does not benefit children

  1. Thank you for writing this article. Unfortunately it is not new information for those that lived in foster homes and aged out without any support system. Years later I did contact the State of KS Attorney Generals Office when I was finally diagnosed with Chronic PTSD (thank you former multiple abusive homes who lost licenses no less) Anyway, I could not afford therapy and basically asked if they had anything for someone like me since they were responsible for breaking me and placing me in horrific situations. I was given a name of an organization – in Missouri even though I am in Kansas. It was very VERY hard to get there but I did manage and felt awful when they threw a bunch of us in a room, you could tell who the ones were that were hurting and the ones that were looking for handouts. It was very humiliating and not in the least bit private or caring feeling. I was told since I lived in KS they had nothing therapy wise for me (this was after a couple of trips and hours of filling out papers). I was told they would place me on a list and I would hear from someone when they started up group therapy meetings in KS – as that was all KS offered. 7 years later, nothing, not a word, no email, no mail, nothing. Basically just another experience that makes you feel like a second class person – worthless. I struggle daily with my self worth. I am my worst enemy anymore and it angers me at times, because this all stems back to the crap I had to live through while in foster care. I know it wasnt my fault, I know they were crap people, but … it is so much easier to know what you should be doing like brushing it off – but doing it is so much harder in every day experiences. Sorry… your article opened up old wounds. Again, thanks for sharing the information.

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