Point Hope believes all children deserve a safe, happy life. We have done a lot of work with refugee and impoverished children in West Africa, and we will continue to support that mission. Our goal, however, is to be the “Voice for Forgotten Children” and that includes the 463,000 American children in foster care here in the United States. Delilah, the founder of Point Hope, adopted three children out of the foster care system and they have a forever home, a forever family, with her.
We don’t anticipate that everyone will find adoption is the answer, but we are confident that time and caring is a response all can give!
There are a variety of reasons why the youth in foster care are no longer with their own families, but all of the reasons boil down to the fact that their own families are in crisis and are unable to care for them. These children especially need nurturing, mentoring adults to come alongside of them and show them a different reality, how to dream the possible dream, how we are going to change the world together, one child at a time!!
Foster Care and Mental Health
- A 2006 literature review by Casey Family Programs reveals that studies show between one-half and three-fourths of the children entering foster care exhibit behavior or social competency problems that warrant mental health care.
- A majority of foster care youth85% are estimated to have an emotional disorder and/or a substance abuse problem and 30% have severe behavioral, emotional, or developmental problems.
- Of adults surveyed who had been placed in foster care as children, more than half (54.4%) had experienced clinical levels of at least one mental health problem in the last 12 months. One quarter (25%) suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the past 12 months; a rate nearly double that of U.S. war veterans.
- A 2004 national study showed that 3 out of 4 youth in child welfare who meet a stringent criterion for need were not receiving specialty mental health services within 12 months after a child abuse and neglect investigation.
On September 30, 2006, there were an estimated 510,000 American children in foster care. Two years later, the situation had apparently improved for 47,000 children, as the estimated number of children in foster care had dropped to 463,000. There are a number of contributing factors which could lead to this change which won’t be discussed here, as Point Hope wants to focus on what we can do for those children who are still in the foster care system right now, as you are reading this.
Okay, let’s look at some numbers:
- How many American children entered foster care during FY 2008? 273,000
- How many American children exited foster care during FY 2008? 285,000
- How many children were still in foster care on September 30, 2008? 463,000
- What were the lengths of stay of children in foster care?
- Mean Months: 27.2
- Median Months: 15.8
- 5 Years or More: 12%- 53,763
- What was the gender of the children in foster care?
- Male: 53%- 243,740
- Female: 47%- 219,260
- How many children were waiting to be adopted on September 30, 2008? 123,000
- What is the gender distribution of the waiting children?
- Male: 53%- 64,725
- Female: 47%- 58,275
- How many months have the waiting children been in continuous foster care?
- Mean Months: 38.0
- Median Months: 28.7
- 36 – 59 Months: 21%- 26,268
- 60 or more Months: 17%- 20,430
- How old were the waiting children on September 30, 2008?
- Mean Age: 8.1
- Median Age: 7.5
FOREVER HOMES AND FOREVER FAMILIES ARE SOMETIMES POSSIBLE!
BUT THEY AREN’T GUARANTEED. EVEN THOSE CHILDREN WHO ARE CLEARED FOR ADOPTION DON’T ALWAYS FIND THE FOREVER HOME THEY HOPE FOR; IT CAN TAKE MONTHS, EVEN YEARS TO BE PLACED IN A FAMILY.
Point Hope is forming “Points of HopePoints of Hope
Landsverk, J.A., Burns, B.J., Stambaugh, L.F., & Rolls Reutz, J.A. (2006). Mental Health Care for Children and Adolescents in Foster Care: A review of the literature. Retrieved November 24, 2009
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2002). Policy Statements: AACAP/CWLA Foster Care Mental Health Values Subcommittee. Retrieved November 5, 2009, from
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2002). Facts for Families: Foster Care (no. 64). Retrieved November 10, 2009
Pecora, P.J., Kessler, R.C., Williams, J., O’Brien, K., Downs, A.C., English, D., White, J., Hiripi, E., White, C.R., Wiggins, T., and Holmes, K.E. (2005). Improving Family Foster Care: Findings from the Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study. Retrieved November 5, 2009
Burns, B.J., Phillips, S.D., Wagner, H.R., Barth, R.P., Kolko, D.J., Campbell, Y., & Landsverk, J. (2004). Mental health need and access to mental health services by youths involved with child welfare: A national survey. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 43(8), 960-970. Retrieved November 5, 2009, from http://journals.lww.com/jaacap/pages/default.aspx.