New legislation needed for foster care, adoptions


Art by Marion Krowczyk

The love of a parent is a gift that is taken for granted far too often. For many, the ability to come home from school and hug their parents is a simple everyday gesture, but to the 100,000 children in foster care in the U.S. that are waiting to be adopted, that gesture is no more than a dream. Those foster children not only deserve the joy of being part of a family who loves and cares for them also deserve to be protected from abuse and malnutrition while in the foster care system.

The very foster care system that was created to gift orphans or children who come from troubled homes is failing parentless children. A study of foster children from Oregon and Washington found that one third of foster children in those states reported being abused by either a foster parent or someone else in the household. Likewise in New Jersey, a study declared that it could not be concluded that any foster child in that state was safe from abuse or neglect.

Marcia Lowry, a specialist who works with the group Children’s Rights and No Friend of Family Preservation, expressed her experience with the issue in an interview with Youth Today.

“I’ve been doing this work for a long time and represented thousands of foster children, and I have almost never seen a child, boy or girl, who has been in foster care for any length of time who has not been sexually abused,” Lowry said.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, only 13.1% of children in the foster system were adopted in 2012. More groups should work to promote adoption, while officials should consider a quicker adoption process since an adoption can take up to seven years.

Foster care children deserve a chance at having a stable home life, and that begins with legislation to protect them and encourage able adults to adopt them. While background checks are currently in place to vet candidates who want to foster, new legislation must be created to protect foster children since the current legislation is obviously not working when comparing the success rates to abuse and neglect rates.