In America, children typically get placed into Child Protective Custody or Foster Care for allegations of abuse or neglect, which are often confirmed. For most cases, the goal is to reunify the child with the birth family and keep the length of time the child spends in state custody minimum. Of course, this ideal arrangement does not get achieved nearly as often as it should and youth are burdened with spending excessive amounts of time away from their biological families, which often times results in young people “aging out” of the the foster care system without any real permanent connections to stable adults.
But what if there was a way to completely end foster care in America? Remember, kids are usually placed in the system due to abuse or neglect, which is most likely suffered at the hand of a parent or family member. So to seek a solution for the problem of foster care, means that one must take a closer look at the condition of families in America. How many times have you heard people say that they will never be like their parents? But once that person has children, they become just like their parents! People may not want to “become like their parents” because they were dissatisfied with some aspect of their parents’ skills, however they still inevitably reinforce those same actions with their own children.
The solution is simple, in a not-so-simple way: Teach parents how to be “good” parents and there will be no need for Foster Care in America! Of course, there is no real “rule book” or “how to guide”on becoming a perfect parent. But there are ways to support families so that they make healthier decisions with their children. It is true that in recent years, states have focused their effors on providing “preventaive” services to families accross the country to avoid reocurring placements of their children in care. But what about the families who haven’t had any incursions yet with child welfare, but are at risk? The reality is that every family, regardless of how rich or poor, is at risk of becoming neglectful to their children.
Many churches and community centers around the country offer weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly parenting skills classes and support groups. Their are tons of non-profit organizations that are devoted to strengthening families. Family counseling is always an option for improving relationships, and can be facilitated at a local church by a Pastor for free or one can pay for the service through an agency, depending on the families budget. In essence, Healthy Families will produce healthy children. It’s starts with mothers and fathers learning how to be “good” mothers and fathers.