There are entire government agencies devoted to protecting children against their own parents. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there were 408,452 children in foster care as of September 30, 2010. Just less than half a million kids live with care givers who are not their parents. Numbers are improving. In 2006 there were 510,000 children in the foster care system. Regardless the numbers are astounding.
The reasons for placement vary. Neglect, physical and sexual abuse, drug use and abuse, jail are some of the reasons children end up in the foster care system. In 2009 48% lived in nonrelative foster homes, 24% lived in relative foster homes, 10 % were in institutions, 6% group homes, 5% were allowed home for trial visits in hopes of discharge from the foster care system, 4% lived with preadoptive families, 2% ran away, 1% lived independently under supervision. More than half had goals to return home.
More than a third of runaways had been in the foster care system at some point. In a study done byContraCostaCountyfound that of foster children end up homeless and 35% get arrested while in the foster care system.
According to Childhelp.org, children who are sexually abused are 2.5 times more likely to abuse alcohol and 3.8 times more likely to develop some sort of drug addiction. Two thirds of people in treatment for drug abuse say they were abused as a child. Children who are abused are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit a violent crime.
30% of these children will likely abuse their own kids. 80% of 21 years olds who have been abused meet the criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
The annual cost of child abuse in 2007 was estimated at 104 Billion dollars. These fees include hospitalization for serious injuries of mistreated children, mental health care for victims of abuse, child welfare services to protect neglected and abused children, law enforcement costs for interventions, special education, juvenile delinquency costs, mental and physical health care, and criminal justice costs for adults who were abused as children. The numbers are staggering and the statistics disheartening.
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