Foster Care in America
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 adoption is the answer for everyone, 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--be a Point of Hope!!
Foster care and mental health
- A majority of foster care youth, 85%, 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.
looking at the numbers in foster care
- On September 30, 2015, there were an estimated 427,910 children in foster care*
- These children had the following case plan goals set for them:*
- 55 percent had a goal of reunification with parent(s) or principal caretaker(s)
- 25 percent had a goal of adoption
- 19 percent had other goals set
- About half of the total (243,060) exited the system within an average of 14 months, but the other 50% stayed in care up to 5 years and more*
- Half (50%) of those who exited were placed back with parents or caregivers, but the statistics don't show how many times the children were removed again in the space of 10 years, as each child (no matter the number of times they are removed from their homes) is only counted once in the survey*
- 22% of children were adopted, leaving over 118,000 children available for adoption at the end of FY2015+
- Statistics say the average age of a child in foster care in the U.S. is 8 years old*
FOREVER HOMES AND FOREVER FAMILIES CAN BE 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 and adopted into a family--often the kids will age out of the foster care system before they are adopted, so they end up without the roots a Forever Family can offer.
You may not be able to adopt or be a foster family, but you can be an advocate for the children, you can be aware of opportunities to mentor, to build up a child's spirit, to be a Point of Hope.