A recent report from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services sets an example for the types of improvements to the foster care system for which the pro-life movement can help advocate. The department’s review of the Oklahoma foster system was quite positive, as it achieved “‘good faith efforts’ in 29 of 31 performance areas according to the latest report from the monitors overseeing the agency progress.”
The findings were that the DHS hired 840 new case workers and supervisors, increasing their pay and enhancing safety practices that have resulted in less children in the system being abused. To add to this, with 4,200 new foster families being approved, Oklahoma boasts the highest increase in foster homes of any state. While it is wonderful to see Oklahoma taking steps to improve the quality of life for foster kids, challenges still remain and there is more we can do to help.
It is estimated that a total of 443,000 children are in foster care in the United States and that more than 17,000 of them will age out of the system without permanent families. While most children in the foster care system are not eligible for adoption, as many are waiting to be returned to the custody of their parents, the problems within the foster care system must be addressed. While pro-life Christians are the most likely to adopt and foster children, there are additional services we can offer foster children by helping them have access to an education.
According to the National Youth Foster Institute, the lack of a stable home can cause foster care children to struggle academically. Foster children often face the challenge of having to change schools during the school year and achieving passing grades may be more of a challenge to foster kids than children living with their parents. For foster youth, high school drop-out rates are three times higher than other low-income children, and only 50% will ever graduate. The amount of foster kids who will graduate from a four-year college is less than 3%.
For kids aging out of the foster care system, choosing to continue their academic career outside of high school can seem like an impossible task. Even if we are unable to become a foster parent to one of these children, we can still aim to improve the experiences of foster youth by helping to provide them with the necessary resources to attend college. They’re more than just a statistic, and foster youth deserve a chance to build a brighter future for themselves.
That is why it’s important for those of us in the pro-life movement to support non-profit charities such as Together We Rise in order to improve foster children’s lives. By building a sense of community to offer compassion, we can directly impact the lives of others by offering them the support they need. As pro-life men and women, we have an obligation to protect life through a series of compassionate deeds, as the purpose of our movement is to improve the quality of life for others through any means that we can.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.