To the editor:
I’ve always been of the opinion that many children who go through our judicial system for various reasons have been considered as “throwaway” children.
This implication has been formulated after serving as a teacher for almost 30 years. I’ve witnessed many instances of children who have been removed from negligent homes, only to be placed right back into them.
I have been told repeatedly that the reason for this is to try to keep families together. That’s a great reason, except for one thing. Upon my observation, many children are thrown back into these settings with little or no support services. Sure, they say, services are there; but for most, services are very limited.
Children are placed back into dysfunctional environments, and the saga continues once more. Who loses in this situation?
We all do. The citizens in the community end up with higher instances of crime, due to young people who are unsupervised with little or no guidance.
Jails continue to fill with youth who run the streets and participate in vandalism, drugs and other crimes. We, as a community, pay for adults who don’t work to support their families and continue to bring more offspring into the world.
In my opinion, we are in the midst of a crisis situation in our city and country. Our youth need help, and we must open our hearts to try to hear their cries.
You may ask why I am now addressing this concern?
One of my past students was recently placed into a similar situation, and I became directly involved. I once more witnessed how our court system threw this child into a deprived environment, instead of trying to find a placement where he could have possibly thrived and been successful.
I was told there was nowhere else to send him but back to the home, so he returned to a setting with no heat or food to eat. Can you imagine how I felt when I received a text from the child saying he was cold and starving?
I have vowed to try to address these children’s needs and to be their voice. They need foster families that will work with them to provide loving and nurturing environments.
Where are these families?
They are all around us. Our churches need to look closely within themselves to find and support members who may want to take in a struggling child. The need is great. I just ask you to consider our young people in need. Their future, and ours, is at stake.