Today’s podcast discusses the impact of foster placement on children. According to researchers Sarah Font and Elizabeth Gershoff, at any given time in the United States there are approximately 700,000 children living in out of home placement away from their parents due to substantiated child abuse or neglect. While foster placement is an effort to protect vulnerable children, there is no question that placement itself brings its own level of trauma. Removal from a family home to an already traumatized child adds another layer of trauma and loss. As Font and Gershoff note, however, “the alternative to foster care may be continued abuse, neglect and traumatization of vulnerable children. Leaving children in homes with caregivers investigated for maltreatment can have dire consequences”.
Dr Putnam-Hornstein studied children born in California between 1999 to 2006 and found that children who were reported to the system for maltreatment, substantiated or not, were 6 times more likely to die from intentional injury by their caregiver and 2 times more likely to die from unintentional injury. Further, Drs. Kim and Drake found in 2019 that one in four child victims of confirmed maltreatment were revictimized. Foster care may not be ideal, but nor are the alternatives.
In this episode, Patricia speaks with Wendy Carpenter, Chief Executive Officer of Penny Lane Centers. Founded in 1969, Penny Lane today offers preventative services, Substance Abuse Treatment, residential care, transitional and permanent housing for former foster youth, foster care and adoption services as well as outpatient mental health care. Wendy began her career at Penny Lane as a clinician, finding a professional home where she has served since then. Wendy today is a leading advocate across the county and the state for services to our foster youth.
In My Backyard is brought to you by The Guidance Center, a children’s mental health agency in Long Beach, CA. In My Backyard is produced by Tricia Costales and Matthew Murray. Thank you to Jay Vincent B for original music. All other music licensed through SoundStripe. Thank you to our listeners and supporters.
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