Child Advocacy: How Every Individual Can Make a Difference

Child Advocacy: How Every Individual Can Make a Difference

The world is filled with unheard voices of the vulnerable. In such times, the plight of foster children stands out, reminding us of the dire need for advocates. These children, who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or other adverse circumstances, don't have it easy – they are standing (often alone) in the face of a unique set of challenges.

There is no doubt that foster children need our help. But how can we help them? By advocating for them. Child advocacy displays a powerful force for change, and every one of us has the potential to make a significant impact on the lives of foster children.

In this blog, we will explore the importance of child advocacy, underlining the practical ways each one of us can contribute to creating a brighter future for the next generation.

What are the Challenges of Foster Children?

From emotional trauma to disrupted education (due to the uncertainty of their living situations), every turn in life is a challenge for foster children. According to an article by Evergreen Psychotherapy Center, research findings indicate a significant correlation between the challenges faced by foster children and complex familial backgrounds. This includes:

1.  Family History

75% of foster children exhibit a familial background that is marked by mental illness or a history of drug/alcohol abuse.

2.  Prenatal Exposure

62% of foster children have encountered prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol during gestation.

3.  Developmental, Emotional, and Behavioral Issues

A striking 80% of foster children grapple with a spectrum of developmental, emotional, and behavioral problems.

4.  Cognitive Learning Disabilities

Close to half, or 50%, of foster children face challenges related to cognitive learning disabilities.

5.  Serious Medical Conditions

Over 82% of foster children contend with at least one serious medical condition. This highlights the complexity of their overall health and well-being.

The statistics we’ve stated above bring forth the harsh realities of foster children. It underscores the multifaceted nature of the difficulties they encounter, emphasizing the need for us to play our part with support and intervention. 

The Harsh Reality of Aging Out of Group Homes

Another compelling reason to educate yourself and become an effective child advocate is the unfortunate reality of aging out of group homes. Evergreen Psychotherapy Center’s article sheds light on the stark realities of transitioning out of the foster care system. Approximately 20,000 youths annually navigate the challenging phase of aging out, often at the age of 18. Regrettably enough, their departure is marked by a lack of preparation and connectivity.

Elliott Glover’s ‘Those Boys on the Hill' reminds us of how the absence of adequate support during this crucial transition, coupled with unresolved psychological issues, leaves these young adults grappling with significant challenges in their lives.

Predictably, the outcomes of aging out are grim. These youths are disproportionately prone to homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse, and incarceration.

The gravity of the situation is underscored by the following statistics:

  • Approximately 25% to 41% of former foster youths find themselves incarcerated.
  • A staggering 38% of adults emerging from the system grapple with severe emotional problems.
  • Substance abuse affects about 50% of adults exiting the system.
  • The harsh reality of homelessness touches between 24% and 31% of these individuals.
  • A mere 48% manage to graduate from high school.
  • Unemployment plagues the lives of 35% to 51% of those who grew up in foster care.

These figures underscore the urgent need for comprehensive and sustained support systems in order to empower and guide foster youths as they navigate the critical transition into adulthood.

Educating Yourself and Advocating

The first step in becoming an effective child advocate is to educate yourself about the foster care system, its challenges, and the specific needs of the children within it. This is where ‘Those Boys on the Hill' by Elliott Glover comes in, giving you all the necessary information in these regards.

Advocacy exceeds individual actions, reaching into the concept of systemic change; it necessitates your engagement at a deeper level. Whether you're raising awareness, actively participating in community meetings, or supporting foster families, your actions and voice consistently contribute to positive changes in the lives of foster children.

Those Boys on the Hill' is the personal memoir of Elliott Glover and his brothers Iszel and Jacque. The book narrates the harrowing experiences that shaped them into the men they are today.

Grab your copy of 'Those Boys on the Hill' and live through the grim realities of group homes and the foster care system. Grab your copy today!

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