I wonder why — you hear sex trafficking or homelessness, and people listen. As they should.
But foster care, many turn away.
Foster care has little sizzle.
For the children.
Because the sad fact is that nearly half a million children in the United States live in this system — a system where the severity of neglect and abuse rose to such a pitch that the government had to intervene — take the child away from its parent, or parents. In so many cases, to save the child’s life.
These children live in the shadows today. You don’t see them. You don’t really even hear about them.
Those we serve at RFK have been thrown against walls, beaten with bicycle chains, locked in closets.
Recently, I learned about two children in Illinois, brother and sister, 8 and 9 years of age, that were locked in plastic containers every night. In a cargo van — so the mother could earn money as a prostitute. We learned of their story at one of our intervention camps.
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. Each day of this month, For The Children, I will say something about “The New Epidemic.”
Why “new?” — because with COVID-19 reports of child abuse has dropped. Why has it dropped? — because mandated reporters (teachers, pediatricians, coaches) with their eagle-eyes, aren’t able to see the kids. They can’t see the bruises or the dissociation or the trembling.
On average, 5 children die every day from child abuse. Because of COVID-19, that average is on the rise.
Incidents of sexual abuse are also on the rise. For the first time ever, over half of the visitors to the National Sexual Assault Hotline were minors. Of those who called with concerns related to the COVID-19, 79% said they were living with their perpetrator.
I’m writing today to raise awareness. I will write every day this month.
For the children.
They need me. They need you. They need all of us.
Not everyone could adopt a child. But everyone can make a difference.
Let’s do this.
For the children,