Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Prepare for dismay. A study of foster care in Texas reveals the following facts. Nearly 32,500 children experienced foster care in Texas last year. Pick a day and there will be around 20,000 Texas children in foster care. Half of these will spend 2 years in the system. 20 percent will fait over 5 years for a home.

Foster children also move a lot. The average child has at least 3 different foster family placements. Can you imagine trying to adjust to that?

As to adoption, there are 118,000 foster children right now waiting to be adopted. Unfortunately, however, 19,000 of them will "age out" before they get adopted. Due to the moves, abuse and problems, they are often no where near ready to be out on their own. Many have not graduated from high school. About a third of them have significant emotional\mental problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and depression.

How do they fare? Not well. One fourth will land in jail within 2 years. One fifth will come homeless at some point. Let's do the calculations. If 19,000 age out this year and one fourth end up in jail, that is 4750 young people in jail or prison. If one fifth become homeless at some point, that is 3,800 young people living on the street. This happens year after year. Yikes.

Texas courts are trying to deal with this situation to help, but it is overwhelming. It sounds to me like a place the church could step in and help.
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