The results of a recent study of children who graduated from the foster care system, conducted by Westat, Inc., a Rockville, Maryland research corporation, illustrate the extremely harmful and lasting effects of long-term foster care. The study concluded “percent had not completed high school, 38 percent had not held a job for more than one year, 25 percent had been homeless for at least one night and 60 percent of young women had given birth to a child. Forty percent had been on public assistance, incarcerated or a cost to the community in some other way.” (Sells, 2000, 6th Section 1)
“According to the most reliable studies of the incidence of incest and child sexual abuse in the United States, at least one out of three girls and one out of five boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18.” (Vanderbilt, 1992, 70) Does that not show us right there how immediate the danger is? How necessary has it become to make certain that social services are better equipped and staffed to handle such cases when they occur and to make sure that there is awareness out there to recognize signs of abuse before the child is damaged any further and irrevocably?
Another reason for reform is that many of these abused children do end up back in their abuser’s hands:
In 1995, only five percent….
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