Editor’s note: This story was written by a high school student in Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation’s Summer Youth Leadership Program. This story is part of a special back-to-school issue.
By Amie Tabiando
As the smiles grew wider and the laughter became louder, I knew that the foster children in front of me have bright futures ahead. The love and care that many nonprofit organizations provide for foster children is awe-inspiring.
Sadly, not all foster children are fortunate enough to receive such care. A majority of foster kids have experienced neglect or abuse during and before foster care. Harsh experiences such as abuse often results in mental and physical stress or damage to many children. Though foster care is meant to protect and heal the children from abuse and neglect, I know that a plethora of foster kids is being abused and neglected by their foster parents.
They are also harmed by their environment or living conditions. I believe the state should require criminal background checks and health inspections every month for foster families.
In addition, each foster child should have some sort of resource available to them, whether it’s counseling or a support system. Having these extra security checks can protect or save a foster child’s life.
There is a huge number of foster parents out there who are very supportive and want to create a positive experience.
However, there are still conflicts that even good foster parents cannot overcome. When the foster kids are constantly moving from house to house, their school attendance is disrupted and their health care needs are often not met. The instability in their homes is also frequently reflected in their school life, opening up opportunities for them to be bullied by other children.
In addition, life after foster care can be difficult. Once foster children reach the age of 18, they are considered adults. An average 18-year-old has family members, teachers, mentors, and a community for support. However, when foster children turn 18, many do not have a support system because of their frequent change in homes.
Thankfully, there are organizations like Olive Crest that provide safe homes, counseling, and education to the children and parents. With the help of such organizations, foster children are able to make friends and new connections with people. ♦