History of Forster Care and Its Effects on Children Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1328 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

Foster Children

History of Foster Care and Effects on Children

During the 1600's, with no social welfare program established, children in the American colonies were typically viewed as assets who could help with the household income, while orphaned, poor, or illegitimate children were usually farmed out as indentured apprentices to learn a working trade (History). In the 18th and 19th centuries, abandoned and orphaned children were sent to publicly funded shelters, called almshouses, and from there, they were typically claimed by relatives or strangers for use as household servants (History). During this era, these 'foster parents' received public funding, however there were no checks and balances to ensure the children were being cared for properly (History). In 1874, the plight of a 10-year-old girl was brought to the attention of a charity worker in New York City. The girl, who had been abandoned by her mother, had been severely beaten by her caretaker (History). Because there were no laws established during this time that protected children from abuse, the charity worker persuaded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to legally intervene on the girl's behalf (History). Less than a year later, the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was founded. Following New York's example, other states soon created child protection agencies (History).

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In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt, who had several years earlier convened the First White House Conference on Children, created the United States Children's Bureau, which was "responsible for all issues pertaining to the welfare of children, including legislation, oversight of children's institutions and statistics on birth rates and infant mortality" (History). In 1935, the passage of the Social Security Act created the framework for funding that is still used by child-welfare agencies today. It allocated money for children in low-income families and directs funds to care for abused, neglected or abandoned children (History).

TOPIC: Term Paper on History of Forster Care and Its Effects on Children Assignment

1950 marked the first year that children in foster care outnumbered children in institutions, and by 1960, children in foster care was more than twice the number of institutionalized children (Fostering). By the late 1970's, the number of children in foster care was more than 500,000, approximately the same number today (Fostering).

When Aid to Families With Dependent Children, originally established under the Social Security Act, was expanded in the 1960's, federal funding for foster care was added, which resulted in numerous foster placements (Fostering). Today, foster care is the primary source of assistance for neglected or abused children, and foster parents are expected to provide safety and love for at-risk children and are responsible for keeping children in contact with relative and agency workers (Fostering).

During the last few decades, the foster care system has been forced to confront substance abuse, AIDS, and other adult epidemics that have been passed down to children (Fostering). As more Americans seek healthy infants through new reproductive technologies, open adoptions, and international adoptions, foster children tend to be moved from one placement to the next, and roughly 20,000 'age out' of the system each year (Fostering). This had led to discussions about permanency planning, hearings concerning obstacles to adoption, and legislation, such as the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, which commits new resources to adoption (Fostering). Another alternative is 'kinship care,' in which birth relatives, such as aunts and grandmothers, become certified foster parents or legal guardians (Fostering).

In the April 2005 issue of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Philip Fisher reported that from the 1980's through the 1990's, children under 6 years of age were the fastest growing segment of the foster care population, with numbers increasing at twice the rate of the general foster care population. While this increase appears to have leveled off in recent years, children under 6 years of age represent roughly one third of all foster placements, the majority of which are between the ages of 2 and 5 years (Fisher 2005). Yet, according to surveys, older foster children consume more social and mental health services.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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