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Helping Children? Too Often Foster Children Suffer When the State Tries, But Fails

Eight-year old Dontay Davis suffered from emotional and behavioral problems after the state removed his siblings and him from his parents in 2005 and placed his siblings and him in foster homes, presumably for their benefit.

In his first foster home, Dontay often acted violently against his younger brothers, behavior which caused him to be placed in a psychiatric hospital. After a short stay, he was placed in a therapeutic foster home for children with severe behavioral problems. He had a short reunion with his aunt and siblings that ended when a caseworker made a surprise visit and found the children alone with their mother – from whose custody they had been removed - and again, the children were removed from their family. His siblings were adopted by family in Minnesota. A distraught Dontay attempted suicide while in a therapeutic foster home.

By the time he was 16, Dontay had been fraternizing with gangs, engaging in dangerous situations and flirting with a life of crime. A few years later, he was arrested for robbery. While in in prison, he expressed his hope to be reunited with his siblings and that he search for them when he was released. Tragically, his siblings were killed by their adoptive parents just when Dontay was to be released. Reportedly, his siblings’ adoptive parents had also been abusing and malnourishing his siblings for many years!

This tragic story is unfortunately not that uncommon. It is also common for children who are separated from their parents and siblings to act out emotionally and behaviorally and to go down a path of instability, emotional and behavioral problems and crime. It is incredibly traumatic for children to be removed from their homes and families. Far more tragically, foster children are often forgotten by the state, ending up in dangerous situations of abuse in their new foster homes - situations according to a federal judge in Texas that leave children "more damaged than when they entered" state care.

Last year, Congress passed the Family First Prevention Services Act to reduce the use of group care settings, improve standards for residential treatment centers, and increase funding for prevention services to keep children with their biological families. While Dontay being removed from an unstable, and unhealthy home situation may have been the right decision, he suffered an even worse fate, as well as even more severe trauma, by being separated from his family and siblings, placed in foster care and homes that failed properly to rehabilitate or treat him. Adding to his suffering, Dontay lost his siblings due to a corrupt foster care system. One of the deeper, central problems with the foster care system is that its focus is too limited by only helping children meet basic, immediate needs while failing to consider the importance of familial bonds and relational permanency, which help ensure children are placed in situations in which they can form lasting, trusting bonds.

What does this story mean to parents and their rights? While social workers belong to unions in which they can lobby and advocate for their interests in ways that can and do misalign with parents' rights and interests and with children's rights and interests, parents have not, until now, had an organized associations to protect their rights.

Had there been a parents’ association that could have acted in the interest of preserving Dontay's family, Dontay's life and the lives of other children could have been protected and their outcomes improved. Dontay's story is reflective of a larger, systemic issue in which parents' rights are ignored and violated and family dynamics destroyed . That social workers have organized and their union battles for them means parents are or, more accurately, were defenseless. As you read about Dontay, note the union that works for social workers, not for the children or the families they impact so profoundly. ParentsUSATM works for parents and their children, protecting the children by preserving the parent-child relationship within the bounds of the US Supreme Court’s positions on parents’ rights.

To learn more visit the Washington Post article at the here>

Are you in against government deciding whether your child can get and doctors can provide certain healthcare without your knowledge or consent? If so, then become a member of ParentsUSATM so that we can keep healthcare decisions and authority in your hands and not be taken from you.

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