JUNE 2020: We were sitting on the couch, as my sister was rummaging through her purse for the double-edged blade.
Across from us sitting was a friend of a friend whom we never met until that evening, named Diane. We all had a couple of drinks that night and the boys had dispersed from us to go smoke cigarettes.
I grabbed the small mirror and placed it on my lap. Picked up the small white bag off the coffee table and poured the contents of it onto the mirror, then gave it to my sister to break up.
After each of us took our line, Diane became especially not so shy.
“So guys, guess where I work?” Diane said with a big smile.
My sister and I both shrugged and said we didn’t know.
“I work for the state, I’m a CPS worker,” Diane said. She proceeded to explain what she does exactly, not knowing that, in fact, my sister and I weren’t biological but met through being placed in the same foster home, with a family who had already adopted her.
Everything inside of me fell from hearing those words come out of her mouth. My sister just laughed and started telling her how we met, as I slipped out the room to go to the bathroom.
Beginning to feel tears pour down both cheeks, all I could think about was how I’m now four months homeless after aging out of foster care, and drinking heavily and using coke to cope with my situation. Then I thought about all the foster kids who are being mistreated in residential facilities and foster homes. All the children who are removed due to their parents using drugs, including the one I just did with Diane. The CPS worker.
It made me reevaluate what I was doing with my life, and regenerated the notion that I want to help be the reform foster kids need. I had just gotten a job a couple weeks prior, where I befriended one of the adult employees who had known about my situation a bit and offered me a room for rent until I got on my feet again. I had been questioning if I wanted to do it, but that moment allowed me to decide that I was going to go through with the offer.
This experience is only one of many memories that have scarred my membrane, that I use to drive my passion toward exposing a corrupt system and creating well-deserved reform for the lives of present day, future and past fosters.
I firmly believe that if the foster care system removes children from guardians because of the use of drugs, then that same system should employ people who do not use those same drugs. There needs to be a regular random drug testing policy implemented that is actually enforced. How is justice served when people in power are involved in the same actions that are grounds for child removal? It defeats the exact purpose of removal; it’s a manipulative use of power.
Random regular drug testing will ensure that employees aren’t endangering a child possibly due to being under the influence of a substance or drug as well. Expenses shouldn’t be an issue if that same system can pay for guardians’ tests that dictate their ability to care for that child. This would only strengthen the assurance of qualified care for the child’s needs.
Fast forward two years l and now I serve Diane lunch as a customer at my new job, as she walks back to the state office building, still with the same salaried job. I’m not necessarily saying I despise her as a person because I don’t know her truly, but the principle of the bigger picture is what I just can’t seem to move past. Regardless of my own faults or mistakes, the position I was put in during my time in care and discharge from the system makes it inexcusable that a county worker is given such leeway.