The Foster Care System

Faith Webb, Podcast Team/Photographer/Reporter

Foster care: a system that is designed to protect children and give them a place to stay. But it may not be as good as you think. As far as my knowledge of the foster care system, I understood that it was really just removing children from a bad situation and moving them into a sort of safe place. I personally never looked into, and hardly knew anything about, or anyone in the system. With what I know now, the system needs to change.

According to, foster care is “the raising or supervision of foster children, as orphans or delinquents, in an institution, group home, or private home, usually arranged through a government or social-service agency that provides remuneration for expenses.”

Foster care is designed to watch and take care of children with some form of guardian that was assigned by the government. The foster parents are funded by the government to watch, and take care of said child. With being in the care of a foster parent, there are risks, like abuse.

In the article “Mental Health and Foster Care” by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), official statistics show that 28% of children are abused in foster homes, and that doesn’t account for the children who aren’t able to say they are in danger, or say they are being abused.

Along with the chance of potential abuse, the NCSL also reported that 80% of children in the foster system have significant mental issues. Children are put into the system because of abuse, neglect, or lack of safety. Such negative experiences lead most children to have trauma or severe mental health concerns. 

In the article,“What are the Negatives of Foster Care?” published by, most foster parents are not given enough support to the child, or to help with getting proper treatment. If foster parent is unable to provide the proper and best care for the child, it could lead to more dangerous outcomes, such as suicide. This is especially concerning since a good amount of foster kids come from broken homes, or abusive family life.

How do we solve this problem, or help the issue at least? To begin, we need help supporting the children with their mental and physical health issues. This type of support means making sure kids are receiving proper prescriptions and treatment, or if needed, rehabilitation. Other supports can include seeing a therapist, or even getting inpatient treatment in a licensed mental health facility. 

 Another issue with the foster care system is the abuse rates, or how often abuse happens to children in the system. Even though we can’t completely erase abuse, we can cut it down significantly, and maybe even stop much of it by making sure their social workers and home and wellness check environments are more reliable. Foster parents are a big contribution to safer environments .

There is a standard procedure to become a foster parent, like taking a class for 10 weeks, and providing a good environment for said child. There’s a good amount of procedures and basic protocol which is standard. Even though most of the workers for child care need to make sure they report on issues, and help allow a child to tell the truth. Because some social workers just don’t report abuse or severely overlook it, abuse in foster homes still happens in the modern day.

Even recently in Des Moines, Iowa in 2017, a teenager in the foster care system was starved to death in her foster home. The caretakers may be in jail now, but agents were told by the child and even went in the home multiple times, but still reported nothing, according to a report by KETV, Omaha. 

 It goes on note that many children have said that a CPS or just an agent in general did not report or help the situation, which leads to being failed by the foster system, making life so much harder for the children in the system. So what we could do is standardize safety steps the system could possibly take, which could help a lot of children in the foster care system.

With all that it doesn’t solve everything, but it can help toward a better future or life for a child who is struggling. By making changes to make environments and the system better and safer, it could stop the rate of abuse. With how things are currently set up, there’s always room for change. The foster care system needs to be changed for the better of the children in it.