Imagine the following scenario: John, a single father of two, has been arrested. He is charged with theft and his bail is set at $2,000. Because John cannot meet this requirement, he is held in jail until his trial. His sons cannot remain on their own, and John has no immediate family who can care for them, so they are placed in foster care, in separate homes. After six weeks, John goes to trial and is found not guilty and released from jail.
John and his family’s lives have been drastically impacted by this experience. Because John was unable to Read more
The American criminal justice system has created a culture of mass incarceration.
As of 2015, the U.S. incarceration rate (698 per 100,000 people) was the second highest in the world, topped only by that of Seychelles (799 per 100,000), an East African island nation (click here).
For black and Latino males, the likelihood of incarceration is significantly higher. Due to their circumstances before imprisonment and its aftereffects, these individuals are also less likely to own property or a car or have access to the means of economic stability. This tends to trap them in poverty, which Read more
The children in America’s foster care system face a tremendous amount of psychological stress.
Many have been removed from traumatic home situations because of neglect or physical or sexual abuse. Their life in foster care often includes uncertainty, frequent moves, and other difficulties that cause psychological stress. Data collected by the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) estimates that “approximately half of youths aged 2 to 14 years with completed child welfare investigations had clinically significant emotional or behavioral problems” (GAO-12-270T).
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) states Read more
If you are a foster child getting medications for emotional and mental health issues in the United States you may be getting more than you need. A 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that foster children in five surveyed states “were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates 2.7 to 4.5 higher than were nonfoster children in Medicare in 2008” (GAO-12-270T). This was true for all three age ranges examined, from birth to age 17. In a follow-up 2012 GAO nationwide survey, 18 percent of foster children were taking at least one psychotropic medication (GAO-14-651T). Many were taking multiple medications concurrently.
One major reason for this problem is polypharmacy, or the use of multiple medications by a single patient, often to treat the same condition. Approximately 13 percent of foster children Read more
Since the inception of child welfare programs in America, people have raised alarms about their shortcomings. Missed signs that lead to tragic outcomes become headline news stories and rallying cries for reform. But in Texas concerns about Child Protection Services (CPS) have taken on a more urgent tone.
The deficiencies of the Texas CPS system are staggering. The Dallas News reported in May of last year that tens of thousands of endangered children were not being visited by investigators as often as regulations required. Thousands of children had not been seen by CPS at all. In Harris County, children remained unseen 13 percent of cases labeled “Priority One,” the ones most in need of urgent investigation. Read more