Imagine a World...

 ...where an American citizen goes to a U.S. hospital with a broken arm. In this world, sometimes they cast it and she returns home, but sometimes they break one or both of her legs instead. When she reaches out to tell someone about what happened to her, they send her to another hospital where she is given hazardous illegal drugs on a daily basis. When the medical staff get caught treating her this way, they send the patient to another hospital where the hospital staff chooses not to feed her like the other patients in the hospital.  Just before the woman starves to death, she is rescued from the hospital. The supervising authorities send her to another hospital where is she is forced to watch one of the physicians violently beat a nurse consistently because the doctor is intoxicated most the time and he yells at the patient, “shut up or your next!”.  The patient runs away from that hospital in the middle of the night because she is terrified and eventually police officers find her and take her in.  First, the authorities arrest her for running away and then they send her to yet another medical center where she just sits in the hospital bed day after day without any acknowledgment that she exists or maybe one of the other patients sneaks into her room night after night and forces her to do things sexually that she does not want to do, but the girl is so broken by now that she doesn’t do anything to protect herself and she doesn’t think anyone else in the world cares enough about her to help. By now, the patient just feels like she deserves to be treated like this anyway.  After many years of this type of human services assistance with her broken arm, the hospital administration discharges her from the hospital and simply sends her on her way.  I wonder how long we would accept that type of human services for us or one of our loved ones?

       What if we called the fire department because we had a small fire in our kitchen, when the firefighters arrived sometimes they extinguished the fire, but just as often they sometimes burned down our house and two of our neighbor’s houses as well and just left?  I wonder how long that fire chief would continue to have his job and how long it would take for us to make sure there were significant changes to all of the policies and procedures of that fire department that failed in order to make sure that type of action would never happen to us or anyone else ever again?

       What if we called the police department because our house was broken into, when the officers showed up sometimes they took the report and tracked down the burglars and arrested them, but sometimes they kidnapped our kids?

       What if we sent our military forces to a foreign country to provide food and protective resources to the victims of a horrible natural disaster and sometimes our soldiers did just that, but they were just as likely to bomb the country and incite a war?

       Welcome to the daily standards and practices of our traditional foster care system in our United States of America.  Certainly these examples sound unrealistic. I am equally certain that if we replaced all the trained and experienced professionals in those vital positions, charged with keeping us safe during a crisis with unqualified and ill-equipped volunteers, those unthinkable actions would become part of our realities. The United States government has been providing this type of quality service and lack of professionalism for more than a century, while being asked to provide safe and loving homes for our abused foster children in all of our communities. Statistics overwhelmingly prove the current strategies do not work and in many cases do more harm than good.  "Foster care is like Russian Roulette," explained a former New York City child protective caseworker, adding that any given foster home could well be "100 percent worse" than the home from which a child had been removed.”