The other day I happened across a broadcast of a presentation by Dee Wilson, one of the field’s best minds. During the Q&A, an audience member asked the question as to why would the system continue to place children in foster care when the research shows that kids coming out of foster care fare so much worse later on than those kids who stayed at home. Mr. Wilson answered very carefully and diplomatically by pointing out that almost by definition, the kids who do get sent to foster care typically have more serious problems than those who stay in their homes. Consequently, these children would likely have more problems and maybe worse problems if they were kept in an unsafe home. The audience member asking the question was guilty of the common mistake of drawing a conclusion about apples and oranges possibly to justify a conviction held previously.
It has become popular to criticize out-of-home placement as unhelpful or destructive despite the overwhelming evidence that Foster Parents provide a necessary, important and valuable service to the children and community. Foster Parents are inadequately compensated, supported and unappreciated by the system as a whole. From what I have seen, this is especially true in the State of Washington.
It would be helpful if State elected and appointed officials would listen more carefully to Mr. Wilson than to their own prejudices.
Lee Grogg, MSW, MBA
Executive Director / CEO