NBC 7: Voices for Children Gives Foster Kids a Future
By Mark Mullen
A 13-year-old San Diego boy named Sean already had enough challenges, suffering from an intellectual disability compounded by years of neglect, but when he was removed from his home for his own safety, he entered a well-intentioned foster-care system that can still be daunting for any young person to navigate.
“When I first entered, I was scared,” Sean told NBC 7. “I didn’t know anyone and didn’t know if someone would be there to protect me.”
To be sure, there are some wonderful foster families. The problem is there are not nearly enough to accommodate the thousands of children who are removed from abusive and neglectful homes and placed into the foster-care system. That typically leaves group homes run by paid staff and without a single, consistent, caring adult to guide children.
What’s the result? It doesn’t always have a happy ending. For children who stay in the system and then age-out at 18, more than a third experience homelessness. Others end up in trouble with the police. Maybe 3% will graduate from a four-year college.
Sean caught a break, thought. There is a remarkable organization in San Diego called Voices for Children that helps foster children like him beat the odds, so that they not only survive, they thrive.