A three-year-old named Marcus was found wandering the streets in an Ohio town and then quickly placed in foster care. Some time later, Marcus was found bound and gagged, wrapped in a blanket and dead in a closet. His foster parents decided to put him there when they left town for a few days to attend a family reunion. The temperature outside was in the 90’s. The temperature in the closet went well over 100. Marcus died in a closet, tied up like an animal. The flesh on his feet was blistered and torn from his struggle to get free… He was just three-years-old. He was a baby.
“A half-million children like Marcus are drifting through foster care, dependent on a system that too often fails to meet their needs. Blaming the current system will not fix it, and looking the other way is no longer an option. As long as there are children, there will be children who cannot depend on their parents to take care of them. As long as the government shoulders responsibility for their daily care, there will be children who suffer. Until the community steps forward to right the wrongs of vulnerable kids, their childhoods will vanish, along with our hope for a better future for all of our children…”
(from INVISIBLE KIDS, by Holly Schlaack)
Marcus’ family failed him. The foster system failed him. The community failed him. But more than half a million foster children like Marcus are still here… waiting to be given a chance at a childhood. We can’t fail them.
I live in Jefferson County, Alabama. In my city alone, there are more than 2,000 children in the foster system and less than 200 “approved” foster families willing to help.
How is this possible? What’s the matter with us?