Statements of Fact

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  • Interrupted bonding is significantly correlated with childhood and adult mental illness, with adult crime and violence, and with homelessness and poverty.
  • The inability to cope with separation and loss in a growing child may set the stage for anxiety and depressive disorders and even adult psychoses.
  • Multi-placed children are psychopaths-in-the-making. The separation from early attachments breeds anger which erupts in adult crime and violence at a significantly higher rate than within the general population.
  • Homelessness is a lifestyle learned in foster care. Children who grow up without a permanent home take to the streets as adults in disproportionately large numbers, living without a family and without a roof.
  • Children who are emancipated without a permanent home begin their lives with no source of family financial backing, no possibility of any inheritance, and the likelihood of beginning and ending their job careers at minimum wage. Emancipation is the final verdict on the failed pursuit of a permanent home.

Frequently at foster parent gatherings, the organizers will trot out a young man or woman who grew up in foster care and is now educated and successful in a productive career. Like Jackie Robinson dealing with racial prejudice, this poster child has beaten the odds. The fact that he is introduced at all indicates that this is an unusual person. And to become this unusual person required extraordinary talent, tremendous drive, and a good amount of luck. Rarely do all these factors come together in one person. For most in similar situations, whether young black baseball players in the 1940s or foster children at any time, the cards are so completely stacked against them that their best effort will not bring them success, but only setbacks and discouragement.

As will be seen in the next three chapters, foster children who “age out” of the system become mentally ill, spend time in jail, and are homeless at disproportionate rates.