The Throw Away Kids - Help stop this
Have you ever had a conversation like this?
“Were you nervous about your kids coming home, the first time they were in foster care?” was the question posed from a 16 year old boy to a Mom and foster care worker. Her response “Well, my kids were never in Foster care, they’ve always lived with me.” His response to this; “No, that isn’t right, all kids go to Foster Care.”……”Don’t they?”
When my friends son brought her McDonalds one evening around 11 pm, one of the boys in the home said “Oooo, he’s in trouble! He’s out past curfew”. When my friend explained that “No, he’s never gotten in trouble, he has no curfew.” It was met with much confusion.
Do you know a Throw Away Child?
This is the common misconception of so many children who are in Foster Care. They are being cast away from their families and consider themselves ‘The Throw Away kids’. Thrown away by their families, thrown away by society to be forgotten. To be raised in an institution of any kind. Reality gets confused with what is happening in their world.
My friend and her family are trying to undo years of institutionalization. They have a home that for all intents and purposes is to resemble a ‘normal’ home setting. Two boys to a room, they have to attend school and are assigned chores.
Some of the boys have committed crimes and are monitored by the court system. They are also on probation and must be seen at any time the probation officer see fit to do so. Because they are also ’Ward’s of the State’ they have also been assigned case workers. Some are better than others at their jobs.
As in every family there are rules that must be followed. To help them adapt in this setting the use of levels along with a reward system has been enacted. It is a non-profit organization that they belong to, that helps them survive and keep the bills paid. Rent, utilities, food etc...
They try to Help them in the short time they have them.
By the time this home gets these kids, it’s because they’ve been in the system so long and there is no other place that they can be placed. The ages range from 16 to 18. When they turn 18 the State wants to cut ties with them and just ‘let them go’. The directors of the home generally have to fight to keep them until they at least graduate high school. If they don’t win the fight, then the boy (new man) is out on his own. No high school diploma, no job and generally no survival skills.
Part of the Program
The time that they are at this home is pretty fast paced, in the sense that many things need to be taught in a short amount of time. Some of the things they are taught in this home are;
1. You are worthwhile! No matter what the world says, you are someone special.
2. Schooling, most of them have been lacking in school by the time they arrive.
3. How to volunteer - Volunteering is a very important part of the process, to show them there are others in need as well.
4. Acceptance of others and their differences.
5. Proper behavior in the world. Ie; abiding by the law.
6. How to prepare their own food. Since most of their food has been prepared for them, they need to learn food does not come handed to them.
7. How to behave in public, since most of them have rarely been out even to the store, this is very important to learn.
8. How to talk properly to adults. Since most of them have had no parents, the only rules they’ve had are what is in place at the institutions, cussing and calling names have not been issues addressed. The view in these places are “They are just expressing themselves”.
9. Relaxing on schedules. Being in an institution for most of their lives they have lived on schedules. Life does not always have a ‘set’ schedule. They need to learn how to become flexible.
10. Do normal household chores such as laundry.
11. One at a time they are taken out to grocery shop.
12. They learn how to balance a checkbook, keeping track of their money is very important.
13. Proper hygiene - showers, brushing their teeth.
To us who have lived ‘normal’ lives, these things may seem simple. But these are the Throw away kids, the kids who have never had any normalcy of any sort. In a short time my friend and her family are attempting to prepare these kids for the world.
Do your part! If at all possible!
There are programs in your area that are in need of volunteers, if you found this as heart wrenching as I have, take some time out of your busy schedule to spend some time with these Throw Away Kids. Help make it so they do not feel thrown away.
Where are the parents, you ask?
The parents of these kids? Some are abusers, some are alcoholics, some are drug users, and some are in prison. So before you take that hit, drink that drink or raise your hand to your child, remember The Throw Away Kids…. Do you want yours to become one?
Let's get the word out!
Keep in mind when having children or if you know someone who is about to give birth, these are PEOPLE, CHILDREN, HUMAN BEINGS…. They are NOT throw away kids, raise them, love them, care for them. Don’t throw them away, don’t make them think that being in Foster care is ‘normal‘. Don’t make someone else attempt to raise your children, do it yourself! You had them it is your responsibility to raise them to the best of your ability.
When times get hard and the ‘bad’ teenage behavior sets in, don’t give up! Dig in your heels and work harder, cry yourself to sleep if you have to. Ask for help when you need to! If you need a break away from the child, this is normal, ask someone to take them for a night or two. Whatever you do, DON’T give up on them. In the long run, all your efforts will pay off.
DON’T MAKE YOUR CHILD A ‘THROW AWAY CHILD’!!