By Jenna Hiller San ANTONIO - The number of children who age out of the foster care system in Texas has dropped by 41 percent in the last five years.
But last year, more than 1,000 foster youth still aged out of care without finding a forever home.
Child Protective Services wants that number to continue to drop.
The agency met with stakeholders including child advocates, child placement agencies, attorneys and judges to talk about the need for permanent homes.
"The primary thing I'm trying to impart is a sense of urgency. We just have a really small, brief window in childhood in which to get this right, and for a child, the time passes very quickly," she said.
In some cases, she said, a year without a permanent home could represent half of a child's memorable life.
Franck Meyer added the problems that often pop up among foster kids -- like aggression, anger and self-injury -- are just natural reactions, and the root cause of those behaviors is the need to connect. KSAT ABC Read More...
"The primary thing I'm trying to impart is a sense of urgency. We just have a really small, brief window in childhood in which to get this right, and for a child...
What a great stat 41% drop in kids aging out in the last 5 years, and they seem just as motivated to bring that number down another 59%... One of Team Backup's goals is to bring awareness to this huge problem that could be managed if more people would join in and make a HUGE difference in these kids lives!
Elaine Korry :By the time DeAngelo Cortijo was 14, he had been in more than a dozen foster homes. He had run away and lived on the streets for months, and he had been diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders, attachment disorder, intermittent explosive disorder or post traumatic stress disorder. He had been in and out of mental hospitals and heavily medicated.
After his later diagnoses, he was prescribed a combination of anti-psychotics, antidepressants and stimulants, and was told that taking them was his only hope of being normal. Instead, he said, medication made him feel "doped up and completely lost."
It was not until he spent several months developing a relationship with a horse — "and it was huge," said Cortijo with a smile.
Children in foster care are prescribed anti-psychotic drugs at double to quadruple the rate of that not in foster care, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Hundreds of children were found to be taking five or more psychotropic medications at a time, although there is no medical evidence to support such a drug regimen. Read More...
Team Backup knows first hand that finding a child's interest in a long term program, such as a sports team, music program or in this case equine-assisted therapy beats pills and 'sit & talk' therapy.
The author of this article is not ruling out the need for medication for some but rather, "making alternative interventions available at the same level at which medication is available."
Congress is moving toward an overhaul of the country's foster care system, one that reflects a shift in how policymakers and child welfare experts view the problem of keeping kids safe.
The federal government has long chipped in for foster care for children whose parents are abusing or neglecting them. But some advocates for children say the money would be better spent helping children's biological parents take care of them properly.
Hatch said at a hearing this month, "When you ask a child who has been in foster care, "How we can best improve the current foster care system?" Often their answer will be: "You could have helped my mom so that I did not have to go into foster care in the first place."
Team Backup also believes if possible kids should remain with their parents. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. Thank God for those people who step up to the plate and take care of these kids. Government was never intended to raise children. This is America right?
So, if you run into any of these people that have taken a child into their home, you have no idea how a simple "hey, anything I can do to help, let me know." can go a long way!