FOSTERING COMMUNITY BLOG
Foster care is a temporary service provided by the state for children who are removed from their homes due to child abuse or neglect.
According to the Department of Family and Protective Services, there were 14,137 children across the Greater Houston Area that were removed from their homes and put into foster care in 2019. Let's break this down further:
Children Served Per Texas Region:
Children Served Per Houston County:
Children Served in Greater Houston By:
So how do these statistics impact our work?
1) Race/Ethnicity: We know that Houston is one of the most populated, diverse cities in the entire country, and these numbers certainly reflect that diversity as well. As a chapter, we acknowledge and celebrate the fact that the people and children we serve through our mission come from different races and ethnicities. As the Black Lives Matter movement spread across the country, we couldn't help but think of the many kids in foster care who are people of color, who have grown up in systems that have failed and are still failing them. We know that so many of the children in foster care will become homeless, poor, or incarcerated. Kids who grow up in the foster care system are starting 10 steps behind... add additional steps if they are of color and face the challenges of systemic racism as well. Our organization is dedicated to ensuring these kids do not continue to be held back by a broken foster care system, racism, or other forms of oppression. Houston Angels will always support action that enables our children to be heard and have equal opportunities to thrive, and our team will to continue learning more about what the people we serve actually need, from a variety of angles: socioeconomic, cultural, physical and mental health, and more. The solution is complex, and ALL of these things affect the outcome.
2) Age: These numbers also tell us that almost 40% of kids are pre-teens and teenagers, which is a crucial time in a child's life. Youth who age out of the foster care system at 18 are often expected to be just as self-sufficient as their peers, but have not received nearly as much (if any at all) parental guidance and emotional support. A constant lack of support and resources, combined with the multiple traumas these youth have experienced, greatly affects their success and well-being in life upon aging out. And youth in foster care are more likely than their peers to struggle with mental health, drop out of high school, not attend college, become homeless or incarcerated. This is why our Dare to Dream and Dare to Dream Jr programs match pre-teens and teens with healthy adults who will help them navigate life's challenges and prepare them for adulthood. Our mentors are advocates, teachers, guides, role models, valued friends, and available resources for these kids to count on during such an important time of their lives.
3) Gender: Lastly, we know from these numbers that half of all children in foster care are female. Studies have shown that a variety of factors put foster youth at risk of becoming pregnant, including a lack of supportive and loving relationships, constant instability, and stressful or traumatic situations such as child abuse or neglect. Studies have shown the following to be true:
While the above statistics may feel overwhelming, supporting foster care is not all-or-nothing. Start with one child, or one family, in your community. Our organization has seen that through consistent intentional giving, healthy relationships, and mentorship, it IS possible to change the trajectories of these children's lives. The reality is that we ALL can play some sort of role in changing a child's life forever, and the ripple effects will change our community.
“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” - Josh Shipp
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