Monday, January 01, 2007

Letter to editor regarding 'caged kids'

My letter to Toledo Blade re:
Behavioral problems of caged kids debated
Sielicki, Jim. Toledo Blade, Dec. 13, 2006, pg. B1.

I am concerned by the Gravelle’s defense attorney’s attempts to pathologize the children in order to shift blame away from the Gravelles. Whether or not children were harmed by prenatal experiences does not excuse placing those children in an unsafe environment.

The Gravelles were unequipped to keep the eleven children in their care from danger than caging them. They should never have been entrusted with that many children – particularly special needs children.

Social worker Elaine Thompson used poor judgment. When she contacted by the Gravelles in 2000, she did not recognize their cry for help.

As a former foster child and current child advocate, I state here and now that foster children are like any other children. We want to be in an environment that is safe and nurturing. To have caregivers who are attentive to our individual needs.

If you had a child with Down syndrome, would you push her head into a toilet or put a sock into her mouth? If you adopted a child who had trouble emotionally bonding to you, would you lock him into a cage?

How can a child learn trust from violence, or learn to bond through solitary confinement?

Moreover, foster children are not cattle, to be herded into any placement that is available. There is a disturbing trend to place children into any bed available, regardless of developmental needs or safety. Not only were the children unsafe with the Gravelles, by all accounts they were unsafe with one another.

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Hi nice to meet you! We are in Canada and are in the process of setting up a similar org. Foster care Council for children and adults affected by child welfare.
There are so many people bravely stepping forward and speaking out against inhumane practices. It's good to see more and more voices being heard and I hope in the near future we will have something ready to start initiating real change.
Well said Lisa! I do hope it gets printed. My heart just breaks for those poor children.
Thanks for leaving a post on my blog. I am not sure if you know I was a foster parent. The children were joy upon joy, it was by far my most wonderful time in my life. Dealing with the system was not. I only ever allowed myself to have two at a time, they needed soooo much and their needs had to come first. Because they had so much time and attention they thrived. All of my kids came to me at least 2 years behind in school, within 3 months they were all working at grade level. They grew into emotionally healthy, stable, resilient children because I was able to concentrate on the two I had. I was amazed though at people fitting in as many children as they possibly could....very sad, and not the way it should be because they were unable to meet their needs at all.
Well done for speaking out for childrens rights!
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