May 1st, 2011
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mothers day vintage graphic--graphicsfairy010I almost threw a rock at my television the other day.  A television actress was bragging to Ellen or someone about a group home she started in her home town in Mississippi.  She said she started the home to “fix the broken foster care system.”  Seriously???

There is so much that people do not understand about Foster Care.  They have the impression that (a) siblings are always separated, (b) that kids go to foster care and never get out, and (c) that all foster homes are negligent, dirty and uncaring.  By the way, this is the point of view that the actress was putting forth.

By contrast, my experience with foster parents is completely the opposite.   Maybe things are different elsewhere, but here in Texas, the state makes every effort to place siblings together.  Permenancy plans (the plan to get the child out of foster care and either back to their parents or into adoption) starts as soon as the first hearings are over and continues until that child is in a permanent home.  The foster parents I have met love the kids as if they are their own children;  they do their best to ensure the child has a place in the home and the family.

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I cannot imagine how warehousing kids in a group home benefits them.  What if, as a public figure, this actress used her considerable media leverage to ask people to open their hearts and homes to foster kids, especially to sibling groups.  What if kids got into foster homes with their siblings and — perhaps for the first time in their lives — they had a chance to experience being part of a safe, loving family?  What if, because they’d had this great experience of learning what it is like to have parents who are emotionally equipped to truly care for them, they were then more able to adjust to their future adoptive home and so had a chance at a truly amazing future?  What if more people could let go of their pre-conceived notions of what a “family” is and they were able to take a chance on an older child, a sibling group, or a child with special needs?

Is the foster care system perfect?  By no means.  Yet can it be improved simply by awareness; we can not only change the life of a child but also the future of our society by getting the word out about what is needed.  It all begins with you and me.

5 Responses to “Group Homes and Other Craziness”

  1. mommyof1 says:

    I think the actress you mean is Sela Ward and the group home is called Hope Village in Meridian MS. I checked out their website and I think that their mission is to provide temporary specialized care for children who are not doing well in the traditional foster care system- sort of a bridge that helps the kids that might otherwise fall through the cracks by providing services on-site while in residence to help them transition home or to a foster home. Her word choice sounds poor but I think the purpose of the group home is meant to do good. Hats off to all foster parents- it takes a special person to foster and love these little souls like they are your own even though they may only be with you for a short period of time.

    • Dreena T says:

      It was Sela Ward. I admit I was spouting off a bit; I know so many fantastic foster parents and so I got a bit defensive! So unfair of me not to check out their website first – I will. And I think you are right, it was probably poor word choice and even a lack of information. She’s an actress — not the director of the facility! What was I thinking??? SO appreciate your comments – thanks.

  2. tena says:

    Your presentation is a very rosy one, and not that accurate.

    Foster homes have a very large percentage of child molesters operating them… that is fact. The ‘system’ damages kids and in worst cases destroys them. If the ‘system’ truly cared for children it would put them up for adoption within the first year they are removed from their bio-home if the parents don’t get their acts together. This is what Ohio does. NO other state does… and most children over 12 age out of Foster Care shipwrecked and homeless.

    We speak from experience, having adopted Foster children from ‘safe’ Foster homes, only to find in truth they were being brutally molested daily. Our 3 would have been far better off in a group home, if no violent pedophiles were running it.

    • chrisrut74 says:

      I foster in the poorest county in Ohio, with alot of troubled parents and kids and ill tell you what,,, I cant beleve what I am reading from you. They do not throw kids in homes with child molesters.Group homes are in my opinion only good for troubled children that a non therapueutic foster parent cant care for. We are ALL finger printed and ran through the ringer to get liscensed and back gorund checked, and you are stereo typing. You are giving the impression that foster homes are bad. Well your statistics are wrong…There is not many documented cases of child molesting foster parents. maybe you should look it up before you post something…

  3. mommyof1 says:

    There are cases of documented abuse in foster care. Background checks for adoptive parents and foster parents only reveal the people who have been caught and unfortunately, tragically, that means many fall through the cracks and victimize children. My heart goes out to these children. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foster_home for some facts- and there are many internet sites that do note that some foster homes have been found to be abusive. Some children have even sued the state for compensation after being abused in homes and won! HOWEVER, it is NOT fair to suggest that the norm is for children to put into abusive homes. Especially when the author of the blog is quite obviously trying to do good and truly has the best interest of the children she adopts and fosters at heart. The foster care system needs more families like Dreena’s who seek to provide a safe loving home for children in need…Dreena, I, for one, really enjoy your blogs- thank you!

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