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Change the culture of foster care

Vivek S. Sankaran hits the nail on the head with her article, “Change the culture of the foster care system,” posted today in The Detroit News. She said in part:

Change foster care

Wayne County recently joined cities across the country and celebrated the first national Reunification Day to recognize the accomplishments of those who help parents regain custody of children lost to the foster care system.

For years, the goal of reunifying children in foster care with their families has received short shrift. Even though most children come to the attention of child protective services for allegations of neglect, far too many are removed abruptly from their homes and placed with strangers.

Once in foster care, they see their parents and siblings infrequently, change placements too often and receive inadequate medical and mental health treatment. Their parents rarely receive the help they need and they lack a meaningful voice in court.

All of this does enormous harm to the children. Foster care is a toxic intervention that must be used sparingly. An MIT study revealed that outcomes for children in foster care were far worse than similarly maltreated children who remained at home.

There it is in black and white. From MIT, a study that shows outcomes for children in foster care are far worse than similarly maltreated children who remained at home.

Most courts up until this point have been filled with parents, pleading, crying and demanding their children be returned. It won’t be long until the courts are filled with angry, former foster children bringing lawsuits against the state for wrongful removal. The lives that have been destroyed are in the millions. Sankaran goes on to point out some other very interesting facts:

No state system passed recent federal audits evaluating the treatment of foster children in state custody.

These problems are particularly troublesome in Michigan. In 2008, only a third of children who exited foster care were returned to their parents, nearly 20 percentage points below the national average. And the time it takes for Michigan to reunify those families is double the national average.

In contrast, Michigan is swift and efficient at separating children from their parents forever. Our state has the seventh highest rate of terminating parental rights in the country. Michigan has the second largest population of “legal orphans” — children whose only parent is the state.

I haven’t checked but if I had to wager a bet. My money would be on California having the largest population of legal orphans. We remove more children from their parents than any other state in the country.

This is simply unacceptable.

Did you know that in most states a child has five years after his or her 18th birthday to bring legal action against the state? You can bet that most foster children have no idea they have a legal cause of action for their treatment while in foster care, more so, if they were wrongly removed.

The only way I believe we are going to get the attention of our government is to make it too expensive for them to steal our children. Money talks and it’s time they pay up for all the lives who have been destroyed by their evil deeds. Yes, folks, I said it. There is no other way around it. These people are just plain evil.


  1. Michele Bridge

    The biggest problem with that is that the 18 year olds are not told that when they are dropped to the street with no foundation to work from or money to start out with.
    Why is the state allowed to set a certain number of years? Why do parents not have this option open to them when a child is removed?
    Where does the money come from to help these 18 – 23 year olds sue? or the poor parents? Money is one of the main reasons for removal. Its just another smoke screen to make people think the money spent for this system is not a waste.
    It would be better spent for more welfare payments as far as I am concerned. And no I am not on welfare.


  2. Granny

    Vivek S. Sankaran is a MALE professor at University of Michigan.

    This is an excellent article. However, I believe it was stated in the legislature by a top director of DHS/CPS that Michigan was number one in the nation for terminating parental rights.

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