Carlos Morales is a former Child Protective Services Investigator, a child rights advocate, and the host of the Truth Over Comfort Podcast. He’s spoken at a host of liberty and family oriented events regarding the dangers of the State, Child Protective Services, and Dogma. 

When we try and contemplate the horrendous truth that there are hundreds of thousands of children in America that are regularly abused, we begin to seek answers for how to fix the issues – do we need more education? Do we need to push out more infomercials in the media? Do we need to just start removing kids from their homes?
Though I can empathize with the later, the government’s attempt at this has not been without severe repercussions that are truly catastrophic, and it is necessary that those who wish to postulate on the positive effects of removal to face the truth: the history of foster homes has been a history of abuse & death.

The History of Foster Homes

The first state backed foster homes in the US weren’t created until the Children’s Aid Society in 1853, where children were removed from homes and became indentured servants for family farms. Then in in 1909,Theodore Roosevelt created a publicly funded volunteer organization that would “establish and publicize standards of child care.”
This is the commonly held history of foster homes, but this is only one aspect of the history – the darker side is one steeped in a eugenics plan created by British and American Aristocrats to prevent the “scourge of savages” which were beginning  to bloom in the United States due to the creation of prosperity through the industrial revolution. This led to Hispanic, Black, and Native American families having their children removed from their home and dumped into white foster homes for re-education. They double downed on efforts to prevent the “scourge of savages” coming to the United States by forcibly sterilizing over 100,000 people in the United States. See the “true history of eugenics” interview with James Corbett to get a more thorough history of this.

Current Foster Homes

Though the current foster home system does not emphasize these drastic measures to reduce population size, the current practices have been disastrous to say the least. Before we delve into the grim statistics of foster homes, it must understood that over 85% of removals are not for physical or sexual abuse, and this must be kept in mind when looking at the comparison between how a child was cared for before and after being placed in a foster home.
When looking at these statistics and studies, an individual may bring up the fact that correlation and causation is not the same thing; as in, the harmful effects of these foster homes were simply a result of what the child had experience before being placed and not because of the foster homes.  Now again, the abuse that was occurring in their home is not what most would consider abuse, and there was a fascinating MIT study that worked to separate these variables that came up with some startling facts.

The study entitled “Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care” by Joseph J. Doyle, Jr. discovered that after removing variables which could have deviated or confused the data, Doyle finds that an abused child placed in foster care is 10%-20% more likely to be arrested, 10-20% more likely to become pregnant as a teenager, and 10% less likely to be working when they become an adult than the abused child who was not placed in foster care. That kind of outlines what I’m discussing here.

Abuse in Foster Homes

So let’s take a look at how much abuse actually occurs in these foster homes: first, there are approximately 400,000 children in out-of-home care, in the United States. Almost 10% of children in foster care have stayed in foster care for five or more years. Nearly half of all children in foster care have chronic medical problems. Children in foster care experience high rates of child abuse, emotional deprivation, and physical neglect.
In one study in the United Kingdom “foster children were 7–8 times, and children in residential care 6 times more likely to be abused than a child in the general population”. Let me reiterate that, children are 7-8 times more likely to be abused in foster care than children in the general public.
A study of foster children in Oregon and Washington State found that nearly one third reported being abused by a foster parent or another adult in a foster home

Mental Health & Foster Children

Keeping in mind that only 15% of removals are for physical or sexual abuse, it is startling how much actual abuse is occurring in these foster homes.
Let’s take a look at the mental health of these children. In the Casey Family Programs Harvard study, “More than half the study participants reported clinical levels of mental illness after being in a foster home, compared to less than a quarter of the general population”.
Post-traumatic stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder – known as “Shell Shock” during WWI- is also an incredibly common result of foster homes; for those who’ve not studied the subject, Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is an anxiety disorder that may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, serious injury, or the threat of death. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and (high levels of anxiety) continue for more than a month after the traumatic event. PTSD causes biochemical changes in the brain and body that differ from other psychiatric disorders such as major depression. There are actual detriment physical issues that occur in the brain, namely alterations in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus of these individuals, in some cases these changes are permanent, and have a slew of side effects as a result.

In one study, 60% of children who had experienced sexual abuse in foster homes had PTSD, and 42% of those who had been physically abused while in foster homes fulfilled the PTSD criteria. PTSD occurring to people who’ve been abused may not seem rare, but they’re not the only ones who are dealing with it in these homes. PTSD was also found in 18% of the children who were not abused. These children may have developed PTSD due to witnessing violence in the home. I must reiterated, 18% of children who were not physically or sexually abused in foster homes had PTSD just from things they witnessed in these foster homes, and keeping in mind the fact that children are 7-8 times more likely to be abused in these foster homes, kids who aren’t abused are quite rare.  In a study conducted in Oregon and Washington state, the rate of PTSD in adults who were in foster care for one year between the ages of 14–18 was found to be higher than that of combat veterans, with 25% of those in the study meeting the diagnostic criteria as compared to 12–13% of Iraq war veterans and 15 percent of Vietnam war veterans, and a rate of 4% in the general population.
The recovery rate for foster home alumni was 28.2% as opposed to 47% in the general population. Keep in mind, these are just the individuals who were in foster care for one year.
Now this is in no way to speak badly about soldiers, but in the cases in the modern era – i.e. post draft – these troops chose to throw themselves in harms way. Now whether they did that to “fight for freedom” or “fight for a pay check” there was still a choice. These children had no choice whatsoever.

Food Maintenance Syndrome/Bulimia Nervosa

The effects of foster homes are not only effecting these children’s brain development, but also their body. Children in foster care are more likely to suffer from Food Maintenance Syndrome, which is characterized by a set of aberrant eating behaviors of children in foster care. It is “a pattern of excessive eating and food acquisition and maintenance behaviors without concurrent obesity”; it resembles “the behavioral correlates of Hyperphagic Short Stature”. It is hypothesized that this syndrome is triggered by the stress and maltreatment foster children are subjected to. This rare disorder is not the only issue, as  Bulimia nervosa is seven times, that’s seven times, more prevalent among former foster children than in the general population.

Pharmaceutical Drugs & Foster Children

Now we have to get into the discussion regarding pharmaceutical drugs in foster homes. For those who’ve not seen my other work regarding CPS, it’s important to note that there is an incentive for children to be labeled as mentally ill as soon as they get into a foster home – the more mental diagnose a child has the more money a foster home is given. A child who’s just been placed in a foster home is likely to have temperamental issues, issues with sleeping and concentration as they’ve just been stripped away from their community, family, school, etc. – in certain cases simply due to false allegations of abuse or a parent’s marijuana use. Now according to a state mental health practitioner, that means the child has a mental illness and not emotional issues that are a result of traumatic event.  Now let’s see that in practice.
Studies have revealed that youth in foster care covered by Medicaid insurance receive psychotropic medication at a rate that was 3 times higher than that of Medicaid-insured youth who qualify by low family income. Again, Children who are in foster care are 3 times more likely than poor children in the general public to receive psychotropic drugs.
In a review that took place from September 2003 to August 2004 of the medical records of 32,135 Texas children in foster care 0–19 years-old, 12,189 were prescribed psychotropic medication, resulting in an annual prevalence of 38% of all the children in these foster homes being prescribed psychotropic medication. Keep in mind that this review included children from 0-2 who are not very likely to receive these drugs. Removing those children would undoubtedly reveal a much higher percentage.
Now 41.3% of the 38% who received psychotropic medication received 3 different classes of these drugs during July 2004, and 15.9% received 4 different classes. The most frequently used medications were antidepressants (56.8%), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drugs (55.9%), and anti-psychotic agents (53.2%). The study also showed that youth in foster care are frequently treated with concomitant psychotropic medication – which means two or more psychotropic drugs at the same time – for which sufficient evidence regarding safety and effectiveness is not available.

In these cases, a new drug is given to a child to mitigate the side effects of another drug. For example a child is given Adderall, a stimulant, which then causes them to have temperamental issues and issues sleeping. Instead of taking the child off the medication, the child is then put on a mood stabilizer and another drug to put them to sleep. The drug interactions in these cases have not been tested in the clinic, so essentially these kids are becoming genie pigs.

The Economic Expense
Now the use of expensive, brand name, patent protected medication was prevalent in the studies regarding foster children. In the case of SSRIs the use of the most expensive medications was noted to be 74%; compared to the general market where only 28% are for brand name SSRI’s instead of generics. The average out-of-pocket expense per prescription was $34.75 for generics and $90.17 for branded products, which is a $55.42 difference. Now that’s the economic cost, which isn’t as important as the mental effects on the children.

The Physical Expense
These drugs are not without severe side effects, including more severe depression, lower IQ, a lack of brain growth in children, suicidal tendencies, emotional aggravation, anger outburst, and those are just the mental side effects; other physical side effects can include stunted growth of organs, weight gain for some, and weigh loss for others.

Homelessness & Foster Children

How do these kids do after getting out of foster care? Three out of 10 of the United States homeless are former foster children.  According to the results of the Casey Family Study of Foster Care Alumni, up to 80% are doing poorly—with a quarter to a third of former foster children at or below the poverty line, three times the national poverty rate. Very frequently, people who are homeless had multiple placements as children: some were in foster care, but others experienced “unofficial” placements in the homes of family or friends. Here’s the real kicker, nearly half of foster children in the U.S. become homeless when they turn 18.

Mortality & Foster Children

To finish up here, let’s take a look at mortality rate. Children are 6 times more likely to die in foster homes than if they stayed in an abusive household.

In Conclusion
So let’s do short review of the evidence regarding foster children: foster kids are 7-8 times more likely to be abused than normal children, nearly half will end up homeless, they are 3 times more likely to be put on psychotropic drugs, seven times more likely to develop an eating disorder, more likely to have PTSD than veterans of war and less likely to recover from that PTSD, more likely to become pregnant as a teenager,  20% more likely to be arrested, and are 6 times more likely to die than if they stayed in an abusive household.
Foster Homes are where good kids go to die, and it is time for individuals to acknowledge that when the State “fixes problems” it leads to the blood of the innocent flowing on the floor. We’re all standing in blood, and the majority are asking for more to be shed when they ask for more State intervention.
All Citations and References Can Be Found Here