Monday, November 21, 2011

Foster Children

Today's NY Times reports that foster children as a group, are prescribed anti-psychotic medications as often as children diagnosed as psychotic. Is this how we want to manage the fall out from social neglect?
Foster children represent an end point of the consequences of social neglect. Poverty and prejudice lead to hopelessness and rage: feelings not conducive to the care of children. When parent's needs are not met, we can expect many of them to have difficulties meeting the needs of their children. We can expect many of them not to have the psychic resources to meet the demands of child care, which, as we know, entails a great deal of self sacrifice and patience. In extreme cases, children end up abused and neglected to the point where they are placed in foster care. Very often they are move through a long series of foster homes, as foster parents, too, are unable to tolerate the provocative behavior of children who, understandably, have little if any trust that anyone can handle their rage and despair.
So foster children are difficult, and we as a society are not willing to put the resources into supporting families, reducing poverty and discrimination, or supporting foster parents. Enter the drug companies and the "quick fix" solution: tranquilize the children, whatever the side effects or long term consequences.
The way foster care is handled is an important barometer of the humanity of a society; today's article in the NY Times gives evidence of how we are failing.

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