There is an urgent, and when I say urgent, I truly mean urgent situation before us.
Have you ever wondered why social ills like homelessness or, say, sex trafficking garner so much national and international attention? — as they should, because these are insidious problems that need to be addressed.
But have you ever wondered why foster care, a term that you’ve heard before, doesn’t garner the same interest?
The fact is, there are half a million children in the foster care system and so many more right now that, because of COVID-19, and because many of these children are locked up with their abusers, with no mandates reporters to help get them into a safe place — this COVID-19 pandemic is directly affecting these children in ways our country has never seen before.
COVID-19 is having a dramatic effect on so many of us. But I can tell you a child is different. A child is different because a chlld is not developed, emotionally, not developed in terms of their brains, their neurology.
They are the most vulnerable of all people.
But children in foster care? They are different than the “normal” child. They have been neglected. They have been abused sexually, physically, and on top of that, they have been abandoned.
They have been taken away from their biological parents.
And, and guess what? Courts are closed; these kids cannot be reunified with their parents. The guidelines in place for these biological parents to get their children back are not in effect anymore.
Many of these children are hurting in ways they have never been hurt before.
I have a specific call to action. RFK works in 44 states. In hundreds of counties we have chapters, we work alongside government agencies with these children. We have close to 20,000 volunteers.
What we are doing right now is we are finding creative, innovative ways to mobilize our volunteers, to help social workers to meet these children in different ways.
Reports of child abuse have dropped dramatically. Reports have dropped, and that is because there are no mandated reporters today. The teachers, the coaches, the pediatricians — the eyes, the eagle eyes that have looked out for these children for decades — aren’t seeing them anymore.
So what we have is a true epidemic.
Just one quick statistic. Incidents of sexual abuse, visitors to the national sexual assault hotline, over half of them in the last 60 days, were minors. And of those who called, 79% of the minors who called said they were living with their perpetrator. And there are no mandated reporters to help them.
There is hope. We’re mobilized across the nation and in 12 countries to meet the needs of these vulnerable children who are experiencing neglect, abuse, and abandonment, in so many cases.
Do this. Go to RFK.org right now, if you would. Register for our email list. We are not going to spam you and we won’t sell your information. But we will give you information because you want to know about this — because I’m sure that you care.
The second thing is follow us on Instagram. Follow us on Facebook.
I thank you so much, thank you and do stay safe.