Ode to Foster Care

(There are many loving, giving foster parents and some decent programs out there too. This poem is not about you; it's about everyone/everything else.)

They call it foster "care."
But nothing about it is "caring."
And the only thing that it fosters
Is a sense of despair
And eventually, apathy.
The orphanages of old were bulldozed
And in their place arose something just as sinister
Maybe more so, because of its gilded outer appearance
Masking the horrors that dwell within
Like the foster "parents" who don't parent,
Who are only in it for tax-free dollars
And/or for a live-in child sex toy and human punching bag.

Photo credit: citelighter.com
It's a sad existence
But who are you supposed to tell?
Who believes a foster kid?
Do you tell your teacher - the teacher you barely know because you've moved six times in three years - who probably won't believe you?
Do you tell the foster "mom" - who is married to the person who is abusing you and will probably accuse you of lying?
Do you tell your foster "brother," who also forces himself on you at night on the nights that your foster "father" doesn't?
Do you tell your case manager - the fifth one you've had this year because of the heavy staff turnover?
You tell no one.
You learn to tune out
You learn to block the pain
You learn how not to care
About yourself.
Why should you care 
When no one else cares about you?

Photo credit: Casa do Menor, Italy
There are no heroes in this story
There are seldom happy endings
Some kids get one
But you don't.
You are nothing but a case file,
Nothing but another ward of the state,
Nothing but a piece of @$$ to a pervert,
Nothing but someone's paycheck.
No one champions your cause
Your life is in the hands of a system too broken to heal itself
Kind, well-meaning but ill-equipped case "managers"
Or jaded not so well-meaning ones 
Juggling gargantuan caseloads
Barreling through bureaucracy
Eventually getting burned out
And, like everyone else in your life, quitting and leaving.
That's the only constant you know...
That everyone - everyone eventually leaves. 

Photo credit: blackandbrownnews.com

(Please visit the National Child Traumatic Stress Network HERE for resources to help abused and traumatized youth.)


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