Preventing Abuse and Neglect in Foster Care
The Imprint is highlighting each of the policy recommendations made this summer by the participants of the Foster Youth Internship Program, a group of 12 former foster youth who have completed congressional internships.
The annual program is overseen by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that raises awareness about the needs of children without families. Each of the participants crafted a policy recommendation during their time in Washington, D.C.
Today we highlight the recommendation from Kayleen Shapiro, a recent graduate of Illinois State University.
Shapiro makes three recommendations aimed at preventing the maltreatment of children while they are in foster care. She would have Congress require the provision of an attorney to all children in the system, fund an ombudsman’s office in every state that foster youth could contact about abuse and neglect experienced while in state custody, and a GAO report on the frequency of abuse and neglect in foster care.
Shapiro notes a recent study by John Hopkins University showing that “foster youth in Maryland were four times as likely to be sexually abused than their non-foster peers, and children in group homes were 28 times more likely to be abused.” A report from the New Jersey Office of Child Advocacy, she notes, found that workers at institutional care facilities and foster parents account for nearly three quarters of confirmed perpetrators.
In Their Own Words
“Children should be focused on learning their multiplication tables, building warm friendships, and laughing with loved ones. Children should not be concerned with protecting themselves when they go to sleep.”