Foster children dream of being adopted and having a home. Unfortunately, as they get older, they are less likely to be adopted. This is heartbreaking because many children are left in the system. Children enter the foster system for different reasons which include being abandoned, abused, or neglected. They range from infants to teenagers to adults. There are currently over 400,000 children in foster care in the US. Many of them are passed around to different foster homes creating instability in their lives. In addition to this, about more than 100,000 foster children are waiting to be adopted. A lot of children need stable homes because when they grow up, they have no home.
Black Foster Children
African-American children are thirty-three percent of foster children although Black children make up only fifteen percent of the child population. It is important to note, poor Black families are most likely to be disrupted by the foster care system. There is still an ideology that Black parents are not capable of caring for their children. Their behaviors are still seen as more neglectful than white parents. This reduces the chances of Black children being reunited with their families. As a result, Black children stay in foster care for longer periods than they should.
Moreover, Black children are less likely to be adopted because of the color of their skin. White children and children with light skin have a higher rate of adoption than black children. Some foster parents prefer to adopt children with lighter skins. Also, social workers give some foster parents the children they prefer. It is wrong to promote adoptions based on such biases. This prevents Black children from being adopted and decreases their chances of having a family.
Getting older can be difficult when you grow up in foster care. Older children from nine and above have a harder time being adopted. After all, a lot of foster parents dream of raising an infant in order to experience their different milestones. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. The only problem is, many older children have no home when they leave foster care. In 2015, more than 20,000 youth left the system without a permanent family. When older children leave the system, they are homeless, poor, have limited access to education, etc. They are left all on their own with no one to count on.
Furthermore, children with disabilities make up about thirteen percent of children in foster care. They either have a mental health issue or a developmental disability. Foster youth can experience depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. By the same token, there is foster youth who have autism or are on the autism spectrum. These children are also most likely to spend more time in foster care. It is important to recognize the trauma that a lot of foster youth experience in foster care. Having a family would give them another chance to start a new life and to heal.
If foster children want to go to college, they encounter lack of support from an adult. They have to either go through college on their own or leave it. Universities should invest in more programs and resources that support foster children and provide them with trained mentors who can guide them throughout college. Foster youth should be able to access college resources easily.
Without the support of parents, navigating through adulthood and college is tough. If you can, please adopt. However, if you cannot, you can become a mentor to a foster child. Whatever you can do to help a foster child will make a difference in their lives.