Reporting by the Washington Post confirms what the public has long known. Our foster care system is failing, nationwide.
One major flaw involves the use of detention centers and similar facilities to house children who have committed no infraction whatsoever [1A].
“…in an era when a surging number of biological parents are falling into the grips of drug addiction, and child welfare systems are struggling with a shortage of foster parents…case workers and courts have been funneling children into crowded emergency shelters, hotels, out-of-state institutions and youth prisons — cold, isolating and often dangerous facilities not built to house innocent children for years [1B].”
Both literally and figuratively, children taken into foster care for their own protection are instead being warehoused with rapists and murderers. Some are forced to sleep on cement floors with harsh fluorescent lights on during lockdowns.
Scope of the Failure
Because foster care is decentralized, accurate figures are difficult to come by.
As of 2013, approximately 56,000 of the 400,000 children in foster care across the country (14% of the foster care population) were living in what is known as “congregate” care – group homes, detention centers, residential drug treatment facilities, and the like . In West Virginia, fully 71% of 6800 foster children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been relegated to such institutions [1C].
The Opioid Crisis is greatly increasing those numbers. Continue reading