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Protecting the rights of foster children

With a shortage of foster parents and an overloaded welfare system, children in America’s foster care system are now being placed in juvenile detention centers.

There are nearly 443,000 children in foster care in the U.S.

As child welfare systems are overloaded due to a shortage of foster parents, children are being warehoused in institutions including juvenile detention centers.

“I think that if people knew what was happening to these kids, they would be outraged. A lot of people think, oh, these kids are all fine because they're all in new homes. Well, nobody knows that, this kid has been in 12 homes in the last year, nobody knows that this kid is now in an institution, nobody knows those things.”, Marcia Lowry explains to Brut.

Violating the constitutional rights of foster children In 2014, lawyer Marcia Lowry founded A Better Childhood. The non-profit has filed lawsuits against 10 states alleging that agencies are violating the constitutional rights of foster children. “In one state where we are litigating in Oregon, in fact, they were placing girls in a converted juvenile detention center. So, the rooms were like cells. They were small like cells. They had a mattress and they had a cell door and they were locked. And the kids could earn, they had to have good behavior points, and then they could earn tampons. They didn't have good behavior points. They only got sanitary napkins.”, Lowry reveals.

Geard was one of the children who lived in these juvenile detention centers

The most recent lawsuit was filed against West Virginia where 71% of children aged 12 to 17 are institutionalized. Geard Mitchell spent part of his childhood in juvenile detention centers.

“The first one I went to was called the Donald R. Kuhn center, but everybody calls it the DRK and it was maximum security. It was in West Virginia. And it was, it was, it was crazy. It's covered with or surrounded with this like concrete like wall thing. And then over that, it has razor wire fence wrapped in barbed wire and it surrounds the whole facility inside or outside, surrounds the entire outside. Our bed was attached to the wall or like a metal slab and your bed was only like this thick. You get one pillow and so you can get two blankets is what it had to be really cold outside and a heat in the building would have to be working.”, Mitchell confessed.

Geard, whose mother died from a drug overdose when he was 8, attended school thought online courses and had limited access to critical services, such as therapy.

On October 2019, Geard was finally released from the system into the custody of his uncle, who lives in Ohio

“When I actually got out, I was scared because I didn't know what to do, like I didn't know what to do at all. It was just like I did, I felt weird, like walking down the street alone or whatever, because I felt like I wasn't allowed to be alone ever. But I realized like, I'm not in detention, I'm not in jail anymore, this is, I'm free. And I'm like I sort of put myself in that mindset. It was hard, it wasn't easy, trust me, it was hard. But I'm starting to just now get the gist of it and understanding it.”, he expressed to Brut.

In February 2019, President Trump signed the Family First Prevention Services Act

The federal reform aims to keep children with their biological families – but also limits federal funds for putting foster youth into congregate care facilities. “The Family First Act, I think, is right now a very, very mixed bag. It's more money for prevention. That's good. Unless they look away at the problems and decline to take care of kids. There's limited money for group facilities, that could be good, too. But we don't have any and that money is limited, it's only for a specific period of time, so if a kid needs more time in a group facility, the money cuts off. We shouldn't put kids through that. Kids should have a better childhood and fact should have a normal childhood or as close to normal as possible.”, Lowry concludes.

Brut.

02/23/2020 11:07 AM

41 comments

  • Pamala C.
    03/01/2020 13:24

    Do not donate to these causes! You are simply funding the organization's that have caused the problem! Adopt if you can. Go to some of these facilities and offer your time as a big brother or sister! Money only buys more crooks

  • Brendalyn D.
    02/29/2020 23:43

    AS SOON AS I GET MY NEW APARTMENT I'M GONNA ADOPT ME A CHILD THEY DESERVE LOVE 2 💖💖💖💖💖💖

  • Je C.
    02/29/2020 04:27

    and there will be 60 million more

  • Ronald G.
    02/29/2020 02:31

    I pray for these children, if you dont want children then keep your legs closed, PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN

  • Luz M.
    02/28/2020 01:56

    There is more to this story than what is written, I personally know a couple that have gone thru all the training and its been more than two years and they have not been used. I think this is this administration way of saving money, they house them like this instead of paying for them to stay in a real home. Really sick

  • Elisa R.
    02/27/2020 18:43

    Where are all those Christian pro-lifers? Those kids have a heart beat! Where are all those people against abortion? Those infants are just overgrown fetuses!

  • Joy B.
    02/27/2020 17:41

    They used to commit me to state hospitals at the age of 12 and leave me there for months at a time. If your lively and speak out or question what they are doing they heavily medicate you. I was in an abusive foster home, I told my worker about the woman they picked me up and said I was going to a new home they really took me to a facility just like this left me there for a month then asked if I was ready to go home I thought they meant MY home. Nope they put me back with the abusive lady i was already with almost like i was the one who did wrong and was being punished. The system is crazy.

  • Amber S.
    02/27/2020 04:13

    Pro-lifers, here’s your chance.

  • Megan S.
    02/27/2020 02:18

    Sounds like some of these kids are being put into jail just because their in foster care. Not right.

  • Maria C.
    02/26/2020 16:25

    This is so sad and pathetic. Bad enough, we have too many people in prison, now we're locking up these poor kids who ended up where they are through no fault of their own. I am so truly disgusted with the system in this country. Children are the future. They should have to chance to make a decent life for themselves.

  • Ronda M.
    02/26/2020 14:41

    Some of the biggest improvements with huge impacts, would be to treat foster parents right. Listen to their ideas and let them have a voice. Do background checks and keep up on regular follow up visits. Pay them when they suppose to get paid and give them the resources they’re suppose to have to do what they need for the child. Some states move the child every three months from home to home. That’s counterproductive, and often just when things are starting to come together for child and foster family... many times leading up to adoption. The excuse is not enough money and therefore not enough manpower to do what it takes. When you have hundreds of foster kids missing that one’s own state governor (past governor, but still an issue) is not aware of until the situation is grossly out of hand (Kansas) there is something terribly wrong.

  • Jehangir K.
    02/25/2020 10:52

    Dont agree with alternative suggested above!

  • Cynthia D.
    02/25/2020 00:47

    I was put in juvenile detention in Chicago, Illinois because they had no where else to put me back in the 80's.

  • Esther H.
    02/24/2020 23:37

    They have always placed children in juvenile detention centers when there isn't placement out there. I know from the sixties it's been that wst

  • Dario C.
    02/24/2020 22:39

    Where are all the good Christians?

  • Naz K.
    02/24/2020 21:39

    Richest country in the world ! Nice job!!

  • Mike H.
    02/24/2020 19:53

    They tried to put me and my brother in juvy.. we were straight a studests.. we got abandoned and they were just gonna put us in "boys school" we were teenagers..

  • Margo G.
    02/24/2020 17:20

    System needs a total overhaul. Distroying the next few generations

  • Ariana A.
    02/24/2020 15:53

    And pro lifers just want to add more children to that number. 🙄 they are the opposite of pro life. They do not care as long as they control womens bodies.

  • Ally O.
    02/24/2020 13:41

    It’s sad, but in some cases children need to go into these detention centers. I’m aware of one case where the child was consistently running away from foster homes and disappearing for weeks on end prostituting herself. In hopes to give that child the service she needs (like therapy and substance Abuse treatment) she was placed in a detention center. Another child that was placed in a foster home was removed because the child was abusing the family dog. (Poisoning him with hot sauce and chocolate and punching the dog).

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