The cruel ironies of it….

In a country (and a world) where systems like “foster care” help to destroy the hopes of so many children, the state of California is now, in the face of a financial crisis, seeking to slash funding for those aging out of foster care…. See

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/01/ED0N19GU13.DTL

We do hear from time to time about these “aging out” children–but often in legal conferences where only the tip of the iceberg is being considered. Why do we continue to subject children to prolonged foster care? Why is the United Nations, with our contributions, continuing to promote foster care (of all things) around the world–instead of systems capable of ensuring real permanency and close, enduring bonds for children?

The California article mentions what we already know well–that there is in unmistakable link between foster care and many poor, indeed terrible, life outcomes–such as incarceration….I believe (and hope) that the brilliant film maker Libby Spears wants to examine the link between foster care and prostitution….

Looking around at the evidence half buried in many articles and snippets from the world press, I can’t help but wonder at the end of this Labor Day weekend–how hard would it be to have a better system of providing real permanency for children?  Not to mention better and clearer information about these children….Small children actually require permanency and security–and the source of our “news” on child welfare remains completely piecemeal and haphazard.

On the one hand, UNICEF is telling us what a great job they are doing in preventing the situations that put children in danger–that is, preventing family breakup. (Is this true? Can UNICEF stop patting itself on the back long enough to give us “just the facts”??) Then there are the anti-adoption zealots–telling us all about the evil adoption “industry.” Then there are the seemingly unrelated stories about street children, disabled children lying in orphanages waiting to die, the institutions in Eastern Europe and elsewhere that do not in fact disappear.

And the US prisons, teeming with “graduates” of US foster care…

Happy Labor Day….