Yesterday, I was checking my Facebook news feed and saw the post below.
Due to a lawsuit against the state, a federal judge has ordered that children can no longer be placed in foster group homes (foster homes who serve 7 or more children, including biological or adopted children) as of December 18th. Many children who were placed in group homes on that date or after have been abruptly moved out of their foster homes, with no other placement secured. Children as young as 2 will be spending tonight in CPS offices across the state because no other placement was available on such short notice. Sibling groups will be broken up because there are very few homes who can accommodate all of the siblings. CPS workers have their hands tied in the situation and are forced to follow orders, even though they are just as heart broken as the rest of us who care about these vulnerable children.
I watched as my wife fought back tears sending out texts to our Buckner caseworkers letting them know that we have room for one child in our home if there is a need. I woke up this morning with a broken heart knowing that there are children the same ages as Landry and Norah (My biological children) sleeping on the floors of CPS offices all over Texas because of the decision of one federal judges ruling.
Yesterday was the biggest failure of 2015.
This ruling failed the amazing people caring for children in group homes. In my opinion, the people who run group homes are some of the greatest heroes in our state. The sacrifice made daily by these adults for children who have experienced horrific events is unparalleled. My wife and I know some of these couples and their world was shattered yesterday.
This ruling failed families/sibling sets. Whenever children go into foster care, often times they are forced to leave their brothers and sisters because CPS is unable to find a home to house all of them. Group homes offer siblings the opportunity to stay together in hopes that they can gain the opportunity to go home as a family. Can you imagine making your biological children separate from one another? I’ve seen the look on the children’s when they are forced to experience this and it’s incredible heartbreaking every time.
This ruling failed children. Why do we have to fail children? Why can’t the system fail me or other adults instead? Our country is too busy arguing over presidential candidates, economic issues, etc while innocent children are being ripped away from their homes due to circumstances beyond their control. People in foster care know that the options for children are decreasing anyway due to the lack of foster homes within areas. To take away the option for children to stay in a group home will further decrease a child’s opportunity to be placed in a positive environment.
Don’t believe the stereotypes about foster care. Groups homes are a good thing. I have met many of these people and they love their children. We cannot lose this. Children will only suffer if this option is removed permanently.
What can you do?
- Pray for this ruling to be reversed. God can do more in this situation than you and I can. Everyone must pray that God will intervene and reverse this decision.
- Become a foster parent. Read about my journey into foster care by clicking the link below. We need more families to step up and serve as a bridge for children in the system. People tell me all of the time that they could never be foster parents because “it would be too heartbreaking to see the children go.” I agree. It is heartbreaking for the adults involved but not as heartbreaking for the children, who are taken away from everything they know and don’t have a home. Be willing to let your heart break for these children so that they can feel loved and cared for.
This ruling by the federal judge was the biggest failure of 2015. We cannot stand back and allow children to suffer. It’s time for families in Texas to step up and advocate for children within the system. If you are interested in knowing more about how to help, please email me your information at firstname.lastname@example.org.