When OneHope27 began there was an average of 200,000 kids in foster care across the country. Today there are more than 437,000 (growhope.net) and the numbers continue to climb in large part due to the heroin epidemic. From 2006 to 2016, there were increases in the percentages of children who left the system for adoption and guardianship and decreases in the percentages of children who left the system to reunite with their parents or primary caregivers or live with other relatives or who left with other outcomes. In fact, only 51% of the children exiting foster care were reunited with their birth families. Children that spend a significant amount of time in foster care exhibit troubles in their education, employment, and mental health and the process of reintegration into the family environment can be very difficult for both the parent and child.
“If a child is born to a woman who is addicted to drugs, the baby is often taken away from its mother… Helping these mothers is not only the right thing to do, it can help address the record numbers of children going into care. The most common reason why children are removed from parents into care is neglect. This is often related to the underlying needs of the parents, who may have mental health problems, alcohol or drug disorders, or be in an abusive relationship.” BBC, 2018
Among mothers who had a child taken into care, the number of mothers with depression, anxiety and substance abuse was much higher in the years after their children were placed. After being separated from their children, these mothers also had more physician visits, hospitalizations and prescribed-drug use.
When compared with mothers who raised their own children, mothers who had a child taken into foster care had worse mental health, more treatment use and more social instability — both before and after they lost custody. For most of the outcomes, the differences were much bigger in the years after the child was taken into care. Foster care has detrimental effects on a mother’s health and well-being.
Mothers with mental illness and those with cognitive disabilities have much higher rates of their children being removed from their care. Providing these mothers with parenting training and programs intended to improve social supports and psychological well-being often eliminates the requirement for children to be taken into foster care.
These are simply bullet points highlighting the need for a support home and network. The needs are complex and the solution will be as well. Please join us in praying for a property and giving of time and resources as you are available. Together we will bring hope where hope has been lost.