Fault Line

Fault LineThe perpetrator that spent 13 years raping me in my own home, spent time in foster care between 1964 and 1974 and from what I understand, was abused (sexual and otherwise) the entire time. He did to me what he was taught, what had been done to him. He started raping me when he was only 8 years old and I am just one of many that he has abused.

 

My mother failed to put a stop to my abuse but who is responsible for failing him? Why wasn’t he protected as a child? Why, in a place where he was put to be kept safe, was he abused?

 

Children are our greatest asset so as far as the foster care system goes and in support of this article written by Anna Waldherr, we need more resources all around. We need to be a stronger voice for these children. We are who they count on and they are the future of our society. Check out other articles on Ann’s site: A Voice Reclaimed. She does so much to raise awareness and help.

 

Currently, I live in the state of Alabama where there are over six thousand children in foster care. Some simply need foster care for a matter of days. Others may need foster care until they are reunited with their biological family or a plan is made for them to be adopted. All of these children share the need for a caring and committed family that can bring them the future they deserve.

 

Fault Line by Anna Waldherr:

A 7 y.o. Philadelphia girl is reported to have been sexually assaulted by her 59 y.o. foster-father.

 

A first assault had been reported. However, the child’s natural mother and the child, herself, were not initially believed. The girl was placed in foster care after her natural father accused the mother of abuse she adamantly denies.

 

The story is much like thousands of others across the country. A governmental entity charged with the protection of at risk children removes them from one perilous setting only to place them in another.

 

Often this is not the result of neglect and callousness, so much as overwork. Caseloads can be overwhelmingly high, even for the most dedicated social workers.

 

Funds for human services departments are chronically inadequate and foster parents few, trustworthy or not. Other governmental (or political) obligations are routinely viewed as more pressing, and given priority in budgets. There are not many well-heeled lobbyists for at risk children.

 

The arithmetic is simple, with fewer social workers, caseload’s rise. Arizona in 2013 acknowledged that 6000 child abuse hotline complaints had simply gone uninvestigated [1]. Rep. Debbie McCune Davis (D-Phoenix) had this to say:

“The CPS system [Child Protective Services] is broken and it is failing children…Director Carter’s assertion that he is managing an agency with limited resources fails to address the fact that CPS has a statutory obligation to investigate all reports of child abuse. Ultimately, he is responsible for the agency’s failure, and he should be honest about the fact that a strategy was employed to reduce the number of cases referred to investigators…”

 

The funding deficiency extends, also, to oversight. Children can be “lost” in the system meant to save them. Computer equipment to track children and the complaints associated with particular foster parents may be absent or outdated. Background checks on foster parents and others in their households may be rudimentary at best. The auditing of case files can be effectively non-existent.

 

The urgent trumps the important.

 

The fault line underlying all this damage is a breakdown of the family [2]. No governmental entity can take the place of a healthy, child-oriented family. Children are more often today left alone with virtual strangers, for instance, neighbors or boyfriends temporarily within the family sphere. In these situations, the risk of abuse increases astronomically [3].

 

Until such time as that fault line and the funding issue to which it has given rise are addressed, reports will be made of abuse in foster care.

 

[1] KPHO Broadcasting (CBS 5 News), “Six Thousand Child Abuse Reports Not Investigated” by Jason Barry and Rebecca Thomas, posted by Breann Bierman and Phil Benson, 11/21/13, updated 12/6/13, http://www.kpho.com/story/24035182/6000-arizona-child-abuse-reports-not-investigated.

 

[2] Drugs have contributed significantly toward the breakdown of the family. Sex with children may actually be bartered for drugs.

 

[3] Certainly, neglect and sexual violation can exist in intact families. These are not, however, healthy families.

 

Read about Kerri’s first memory of abuse HERE.

2 thoughts on “Fault Line

  1. You give me too much credit, Kerri. You are the one who is amazing. Some days are so difficult for victims, God alone holds us upright. But you have a valiant spirit. That is an inspiration to all. It certainly is to me. I second your suggestion that Christian families prayerfully consider getting involved in foster care. The process is a difficult yet rewarding one. May God bless you and your readers.

    1. Thank you, Anna. Your post truly touched me and I hope I helped to connect you to many. It only takes one to make a difference and you are doing just that. Giving the glory to God from where we stand today shines a light for so many and I want so much for others that have suffered or are today suffering, to have a voice.

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