Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Why doesn't the press cover foster care?
by David Sharp
There is always rhetoric in the press about so many things, for now it is guns!! I wish the children living in our nation's foster care system could get this kind of press. There are no "sides" to take and no big disagreement on how to fix the problem ... no, this issue's only enemy is awareness. If all these pro- and anti-guns folks were asked if we should help innocent and helpless orphans and abused children, they would all say "yes."
However, this issue is not interesting enough to the press because most people believe they are unaffected by it.
Ben Franklin once said, "For change to occur the unaffected must be as outraged as the affected." That statement is true as demonstrated by most of the comments we've seen lately.
The sad fact is that more (many more) people are affected by the plight of dependent children than are unfortunate acts committed by irresponsible people wielding guns. I am afraid the reality is that these two subjects go hand in hand. First, a child's hand held out with nobody to hold it -- until he grows up and decides to put a gun in it and find the folks that ignored him in his childhood filled with grief and sadness. These children don't care if you own a gun or not, they have much bigger problems to deal with.
If the media wanted to report the real problem with gun ownership, they would write about the plight of the children who find themselves, through no fault of their own, in our nations foster care system or children living with birth families who were just too busy for them. "Mental illness" and "emotional instability" are the adopted parents of many of these vulnerable children and youth.
This is the real tragedy of gun violence, but we don't like to read articles that put the blame on us. There are no conservatives or liberal parents at a child's funeral; only the picture of a parent holding out her empty hand, now with no one to hold it.
By the way, 70 percent of the folks in our prison system today have spent time in foster care. That statistic tells us that more needs to be done for foster parents and their children now to prevent all the overcrowding and lost lives in our prisons.
We better believe we are all affected by the way we treat our children -- they are our hope for the future.
David Sharp is the Public Policy chair for NFPA.