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The Business Of Child Abuse: The Good, The Bad, The Corruption

On the High Rates of Abuse in Foster Care: “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.” *

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More Than a Statistic

On The High Rate of Abuse in Foster Care: “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics *

By Joshua Allen

The Business of Child Abuse

Article first published as <a href=’‘>On the High Rates of Abuse in Foster Care: “Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics.” on Technorati.

Foster Care is full of statistics – statistics which are used to prove just about anything.  Unfortunately, many programs and ideas the author supports are backed by statistical methods and ‘facts,’ which are flawed and manipulative.

This is a tricky issue.  For example, what happens when flawed statistics are used towards a greater good?  Means justifying the end and all that…

The author is in favor of providing tax money so foster care, or more accurately, transitional living will be extended to abused and neglected teens until the age of 21 so they are “not thrown out in the street.” As the new laws supporters like to point out.

Yet supporters fail to note there was always an option for the teens in California to stay in foster care up to 21 if their social worker requested an exemption, and importantly, if the teen cooperated by not using drugs, going to college or trade school and/or held a job.  And this outcome is not especially rare.

Many teens refuse to do this, or don’t want to live under the restrictions present in a foster home and chose instead to leave the system.  Many teens that are homeless have run away from numerous foster homes.  Do not MISUNDERSTAND, this new law for additional funds for transitional housing is a wonderful thing! Those teens who want fewer restrictions while continuing to be aided by the system now have more options. It is a very good thing.

Another manipulated statistic is when we discuss the dubious rate of child abuse in foster care.  Often this is done with the legitimate goal of encouraging greater supervision and regulation of foster parents, discouraging the government from placing abused children into foster care to begin with, or to be the catalyst towards the creation of further regulations to protect children.

Under these circumstances, the only loser may be truth or clarity, as opposed to the usual victim, the abused and neglected child.

Is this so bad?  Hasn’t a ‘greater good’ been served? Or are we beginning to slip down the slope?

Accepted as fact by many, the statistic that children in foster care are abused at a much higher rate than the regular population is repeated so often as to be a cliché.  Some even contend foster children are abused at a much higher rate than had these children remained in their abusive home. I don’t believe it.

So let us examine this “high rate” of abuse within foster care.  We won’t quote statistics here because we contend that currently used stats and methodology are flawed, but conveniently so.  And here is why.

Many agency foster homes in Los Angeles are visited, scrutinized, and examined almost weekly by a bevy of individuals that includes agency social workers, investigators, CSW’s, and other mandated reporters. All these monthly visits and examinations by mandated reporters will certainly drive up the number of allegations and statistics that we read about.

Think about it.  How many allegations would be found if every home in Los Angeles was scrutinized weekly?  I’d imagine mandated reporters would find a lot of stuff worth reporting. (It is important to note that not all foster homes are scrutinized weekly, especially county homes)

And it doesn’t end here.  Let’s add birth parents.  Birth parents make allegations against foster homes so often it is hard for a thoughtful investigator to separate the vindictive falsehood from the truth.

As witnessed by the author, a substantiated allegation which counts towards foster care abuse statistics, can include leaving a 16-year-old in the house alone for a couple of hours, driving a foster child without auto insurance, tying a scarf across the arms of a high-chair like a seat belt,(to protect the toddler from jumping out) and swatting an unruly foster child a single time on the rear.  Uhh, by the way, don’t do these things – bad, very bad…

Do NOT MISUNDERSTAND my point and I cannot qualify this enough.

No apology for abuse in foster homes. Abuses occur, sometimes horrible abuses.  But when you add the fatuous with the legitimate you get an inflated number that is not a true indication, and it is a number frequently manipulated.

Often, the agenda but not the methodology is one I agree with!

The same holds true for the Family Preservation program.  There are stats on both sides of the issue.  Rather then detaining children in foster care, Family Preservation seeks to keep the family intact through counseling and other beneficial case management options.  But how does one measure outcomes? This is one way. A selective glance shows a bevy of stats demonstrating superior outcomes.

However, as practiced in Los Angeles, Family Preservation consists of contract “para professionals,” visiting at ‘risk homes,’ a couple times a month, counseling the family and providing referrals that are often ineffective.  As suggested by one writer, it is indeed a “meager effort.”  And since many of these at risk children wouldn’t have been detained in the first place, how does one begin to measure outcomes in a non biased way?

The question therefore is not if Family Preservation is a good idea, but rather, is it being properly implemented here in Los Angeles County? Is this money well spent? A wise program needs more than good intentions, especially with non-profits-for- profit circling like sharks to a wounded child.

Foster care is a lonely and a horrible experience despite good work and nurturing from workers and loving foster parents who really get very little credit but do some of the most important work we can think of.

So just a request; don’t lie to us.  Please.

*Autobiography of Mark Twain

Written by joshuaallenonline

November 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Whoever wrote this is a fucking moron. Let me guess you feel smart by saying statistics are mis-leading but really you have never even lived a day of your life in foster care and if you have you probably had some lucky homes. Not all foster homes are bad but the amount of abuse is far too high. I’ve been in about 25-30 foster homes and talked with foster kids every day about the things they’ve seen/experienced. Sure, kids make shit up from time to time but I have seen it all. The fact is, guess what? Foster parents get paid a shit ton. And kids hardly ever see that money. Many of my foster parents drove nice cars and many Christmas’ I didnt see shit. Maybe a 20$ sweatshirt, at most. The other day I read in the newspaper under the help wanted ads; “WANT A KID? 1500$ a month and we offer on-the-job training. No experience needed!” Dont take that as a direct quote but it was something along those lines. How sad is that?? Please, ask yourself how many people REALLY want to take in and sacrifice their lives and time for troubled kids??? I dont believe all foster parents have the intentions of being abusive but they get driven to points because they were NEVER meant for the job in the first place, that they do things to hurt kids. Foster care is a 24/7 job and only a select few are REALLY capable for the job. Many foster parents offer no help for future success in the child and children are often thrown around like rag dolls from home to home due to DHS’ piss poor system. Kids are often not heard or gotten back to in proper time because case workers have 35453 cases to deal with. And, LOL! You killed me with the whole “at risk homes” being visited monthly thing HAHA thats a joke and a half. And even if they did do that, guess what? Foster parents put on a show and if kids speak out guess what? “THEYRE JUST KIDS WITH BEHAVORIAL PROBLEMS. THEYRE LYING AND NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS” Fuck outta here. If I had a dime for everytime I got shut down or not believed I’d be a millionaire . The foster care system is a joke. Kids dont get love & support, they get handed a number and told to be a robot for some systematic illogical bullshit made by a bunch of cocksuckers who think kids need to be treated like zoo animals so everything can run fluently and effecient. Just admit it, the foster care system is in wayyyyyy over its head and is desperate. Desperate for homes and everything. I gotten taken away from a home my sophomore year of high school and put into a group home for half a year that offered no schooling, making me fall so far behind I would have had to take my sophomore year over LOL due to “lack of homes” Almost makes sense. Thanks for thinkin about my future, dickheads.


    November 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    • You make a lot of good points! Many foster parents are indeed not equipped for the 24/7 thing. Foster parents and kids do indeed “put on a show,” when social workers and other county people come to the house. And there is indeed too much abuse that goes on in foster home. The authors point was with the statistics which the believe are skewed in relation to the non-foster care population. If every home were visited weekly or monthly, there would be a whole lot of abuse discovered that remains hidden. Your other point about education being delayed, especially in group homes, is often also true. And I wouldn’t wish the “group home experience” on anyone.

      We hope you continue to write about your experiences as this is the only way to get the message out. And although you may believe this, the authors really don’t have much disagreement between what you write, and what is on the page here. We also believe everything you have written, and feel free to comment on anything else you disagree with. You have a lot to say! Please take care… Joshua Allen


      November 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm

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