the ISSUES, broadly:
The foster care system is stretched too thin and relies too heavily on separating children from their families despite evidence that many families can safely remain together with well-resourced services and supports.
Foster children and youth are often thrust into realities so starkly different from their own with little to no support. This burden is not equitably distributed, as low-income families of color disproportionately face the specter of a child protective services investigation and removal
The pandemic and the national reckoning related to systemic racism provide clarity that current federal child welfare policy is insufficient to meet the challenges of the current moment.
When stories are told of the foster care experience, the narrative tends to be oversimplified, putting biological parents under scrutiny and leaving little room for understanding the complexity and nuances of the situation.
For too many in the community, the foster experience is out of sight and out of mind. For those who may not be interfacing with foster families or directly connected to them, the realities these families face may not always be acknowledged, appreciated or understood.
Foster care is a patchwork of policies, programs and people with noble goals. It is an insufficient attempt at providing continuous and holistic care.
But, we know better and we can do better.
the ISSUES, specifically:
The needs of foster children and youth are no different than those of any other child’s – consistent care for mind and body; a safe space to call their own, no matter how small; a reliable means to get to places; an environment where they can live, learn and play; and a community they can turn to and trust.
Unfortunately for this group of children and youth who have already been exposed to more trauma and drama than their fair share, having these needs met may sometimes feel like a pipe dream.
Experience and data have shown us the consequences of our being unable to meet these needs in the higher rates of substance abuse, mental illness, high school drop outs, incarceration, the list is long.
Experience and data have also shown us that when you match the right intentions with real solutions, the possibilities for success are limitless.
This is where underdog DREAMS comes in.
We are health care professionals coming together determined and committed to improving the lives of foster children and youth.