The Risks of Foster Care

King George 28, State of Texas 15

14. Weighing allegations of sexual abuse by the FLDS community against known problems with the Texas foster care system, it is not clear that removing all the children from their homes and placing them in state protective custody was the lowest risk option for these children. The Texas Appleseed Report concluded that “there are a number of flaws in Texas’ foster care system, and that as a result, children in the system are at risk of significant harm.” The report indicated that there were 1647 complaints of abuse or neglect in 2006, 250 of which were judged to be real. With 41,305 children under CPS oversight at the end of 2006, that yields a rate of more than 6 cases of documented abuse per 1,000 children. It is nearly certain statistically, given the large number of FLDS children that were taken into state custody, that some of them will be abused while they are in state custody. And these statistics don’t even address the anxiety experienced by children being separated from their parents or the cultural dislocation that the children will face. The court testimony just doesn’t provide enough evidence of possible abuse of all the children to outweigh the documented problems with the system into which these children have been hurled.

15. Outside of the other traumas the FLDS children will face in foster care, a large number of the FLDS children are statistically likely to be placed on psychotropic drugs while in foster care. The Texas Appleseed Report cited a 2006 study by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) regarding the use of psychotropic drugs in the Texas foster care system. The DSHS study reported that over half of Medicaid-eligible teenagers in the foster system were prescribed psychotropic drugs. One of the reasons for this high rate of prescription drug use is that “even fundamentally normal children who have been taken from their homes and families can become aggressive and ’emotionally reactive’ due to a lost sense of trust, and their conditions are only worsened by multiple placements and frequent caseworker turnover.”

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