Letters for February 25, 2016

On foster kids

Re “Homeless mom” by Kris Hooks (SN&R News, February 4):

This article spotlights an extremely important issue, especially in Sacramento County: Child Protective Services and homelessness. If at all possible, this issue needs to be front and center as it affects Sacramento’s children and families greatly. I know many families, parents, and former foster children in Sacramento County (and across the globe) that are or have been homeless (including myself and my wife) due to involvement with Child Protective Services, the Juvenile Dependency Court and their contracted service providers. Much of this problem stems from the financial issues families face when dealing with these legal entities. Parents and legal guardians spend vast sums of money on court costs (attorney and filing fees), transportation, “family maintenance services,” “reunification services,” food, shelter, utilities and moving costs in attempt to better their situation in order to have children returned to their care and custody. Eventually, the money runs out and these people end up on the streets after valiantly trying to juggle all of these issues and responsibilities. On the other hand, foster children (from my conversations) often are warehoused in foster homes and when they “age out” of the child protection system, they often are not given many resources to help them move forward and have not learned many skills necessary to survive as adults; indeed, many former foster youth have become homeless as a result, and still many more end up trapped in prostitution, mental institutions, on illegal drugs or worse. It’s time to bring this issue into the light; our children’s futures depend on it!

Jeremy Smallin