Serenity and recent news made me think about the needs of real live kids and the issues that face too many young children residing in our country. I'll get back to Serenity later.
The pendulum has swung back again. Our nation is once more going through a moralistic phase, oddly enough, led by people with questionable morals. Among the most noticeable of the moralistic dictums is that abortion is not acceptable for any reason at any time. That philosophy is similar to that which existed almost a century ago and was changed with Roe v. Wade because of the horrific maiming and deaths from back-alley abortions.
So, if we are now espousing the importance of every conception, why are we also not worrying more about real live kids? Reports of two groups of kids, foster and migrant children, remind us that us we are not doing that.
Our country has a plethora of foster kids. We shouldn't. Recent figures indicate 400,000 youngsters are in foster care and about a quarter of them are eligible for adoption. Most of these kids are not adorable blond-haired, blue-eyed infants, who would be adopted in a minute. Foster kids tend to be older and come from poor, problem-ridden, and more recently, drug-abusing families. There's much more to bringing kids into the world than just giving birth. Yet we Americans seem to ignore the needs of families and kids after birth and frequently accept rationalizations for placement of these kids in unstable and unsuitable environments.
West Virginia is estimated to have more than 18,000 children in foster care. In a recent article in this newspaper, Jeremiah Samples, deputy secretary of West Virginia's Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) stated that "West Virginia, sadly, has more kids in state custody per capita than anywhere else in the United States." That's pathetic.
A new DHHR plan to deal with foster care is to find a private outside vendor, a managed care organization (MCO), at a cost estimated to be about $200 million per year, to take care of the needs of the 18,000 youngsters. As this MCO will be a private organization, its bottom line is to make a profit. However, as reported, "Samples said there will be a limit on how much the company can make." Wouldn't you like to know what that limit is?
Apparently, those in government leadership positions are also not worried about migrant children who are taken from their families and placed in overcrowded, unsanitary facilities. If we care about every neonate, then there is no excuse for subhuman treatment of any child of any age. The migrant children, and others involved on our southern border, will continue to suffer until our politicians construct a realistic workable immigration policy acceptable to the majority of Congress. Don't hold your breath.
Now back to Serenity. Her photo was in this newspaper last month in the Sunday's Child column. She is described as "sweet, bubbly and down to earth" and being a 10th-grader with a 4.0 GPA. What she really wants is a "forever family." She's one of the almost half-million kids languishing for too many years in foster care.
Most of our nation doesn't seem to care about foster and migrant children whose greatest desire is to have or be with a permanent family that will love and nurture them. Our politicians are currently now extremely concerned with the preborn, but doesn't it seem that they and our nation should worry more about real live kids?
Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.