Every year, orphanages and foster homes help take care of millions of children and try to place them in loving environments that best meet their needs. However, state governments poorly fund homes or may struggle to stay financially solvent. Often, they may end up placing children in questionable homes just to give them some stability or struggle to maintain physically strong.
This problem has become very prominent throughout the industry and is very scary. It isn’t much of an exaggeration to say that foster homes are falling apart physically and that children are suffering across the nation. This problem is serious because, when done correctly, adoption can be a powerful way of healing a child after a difficult youth. Here’s what you need to know about this situation.
Foster Homes May Struggle to Stay Strong and Secure
Foster homes and orphanages may take on children from many walks of life, including homeless kids who were abandoned by their parents. In many cases, these foster homes are struggling to stay financially solvent. So even though they get money to take care of children, it might not be enough.
After all, many foster homes require at least one parent to be at home at all times to help with younger children and ensure the house runs smoothly. This stay-at-home situation may help the children but cuts back on financial support and may make it very hard to keep a home in great shape.
These issues affect not only the parents raising these children but the young foster kids as well. The exact range of these issues may vary from home to home but can often become quite troublesome. At the end of this section, we’ll highlight why poor homes are an issue even when foster parents have their hearts in the right place.
Problems That May Impact Them
Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems impacting foster homes today. These issues may exist in even the most loving homes and affect everyone who lives there. Of course, some are more serious than others, but all can be a genuine concern if not adequately managed right away.
You might not think of poor furniture when gauging foster home issues, but this concern is very common in many houses. It can cause a variety of real troubles that may linger for many years. This situation often occurs simply because foster parents cannot afford to add great furniture to their homes.
While there’s nothing wrong with high-quality Mexican furniture and other inexpensive options, some children may be using furniture that was already old before they were born. Sleeping on an old and lumpy mattress may be pretty frustrating and upsetting for many sensitive children.
This problem may require working with various furniture providers who can sell inexpensive or wholesale options to foster homes. Unfortunately, without proper care and attention, this situation is likely to worsen before improving, causing issues with young children for many years.
Troubles With Plumbing
Many foster homes are in desperate need of plumbing services to handle things like regular and persistent clogs and much more. These issues may affect children by causing an uncomfortable living environment or exposing them to potentially dangerous contaminants, like fecal matter.
These problems might also cause trouble with showering and even cooking by making it more difficult to heat water. This situation can become persistent and cause a lack of healthy food options and other concerns that may linger in their life for a very long time.
However, a good plumbing service professional may cost a lot of money that foster parents cannot afford. While DIY fixes may help with some concerns, it is also hard to ignore the fact that these problems may linger for many years and cause unsafe living conditions for children.
Heating and air remain very important for the well-being of adopted children. If they’re shivering and cold at night, they might easily catch colds and other diseases, as mentioned earlier. But what about air conditioning? Children struggling to sleep at night in extreme heat may also suffer.
Beyond that fact, it’s also a fact that poor HVAC conditions may lead to poor air quality. Mold, mildew, and other growths may easily spread through the air and cause cognitive difficulties or allergic reactions. Tragically, many of these issues are surprisingly easy to avoid, but most people don’t realize it.
An HVAC cleaning team can come to a foster home, inspect the problems affecting the house, and do what they can to minimize them. They can also clean out the ducts throughout a home to minimize dust, mold, and mildew and keep a foster home as safe as possible for the sake of the children.
Potential Asbestos Spread
Though asbestos hasn’t been used for many decades due to its cancer danger, some homes throughout the nation may be old enough to still have it. Older foster homes and orphanages may contain a high concentration of asbestos that could affect the health of generations of foster children.
The problem here is that these parents need to get asbestos inspection service professionals to their home ASAP but may not know that they can get some of these costs offset by the government. Improving their home may give them some financial benefits and keep their children safe.
In this situation, it is wise for parents who aren’t sure to contact their local authorities to ask about asbestos cleaning and what kind of programs they may use to save money. You might be surprised at just how many incentives exist to help young children in this scary situation.
Real Pest Troubles
Pest problems like cockroaches, mice, termites, ants, and more can cause many troubles in a foster home. This situation can become serious if children are getting bitten or even developing diseases. Many of these vermin creatures carry potentially deadly diseases in some circumstances.
As a result, foster parents need to work with a pest control company to keep their children safe. These companies can provide many high-quality services that minimize these risks. They may also work on a payment system with foster homes that cannot afford to pay them the total price right away.
Other pest control businesses may provide low-cost plans that are more affordable for foster homes. Even a one-time treatment is better than nothing and may help get rid of pests like cockroaches, termites, ants, and other troubling insects that may grow in a home.
How These Issues Affect Children
As you can imagine, these problems can affect foster children in many ways. For example, children growing up in a home with roofing issues might find themselves cold at night while they try to sleep and may develop flu conditions and other diseases more easily than others.
However, the psychological damage is often the real problem here. Children growing up in a rundown home may feel like they don’t deserve any better out of life. While it’s true that many adopted children and athletes rose above these conditions, it may not be easy for all children to do so.
The importance of comfort in a foster home doesn’t necessarily mean that kids need inground pools or other expensive amenities to stay happy and healthy. However, it does indicate that it is important to do what we can to make sure that these children are supported and comfortable in their living environment.
So, while they might not need professional antenna installations to improve poor wireless signals or other more excessive steps, these children deserve a happy and healthy home. Living in one might provide them with the chance to become successful individuals, even prominent athletes.
Adoption Rates are Also Down: A Real Concern
All of these concerns are even more troubling because it is likely that many children will stay in foster homes for longer periods. Many issues caused adoption rates to drop to their lowest point in eight years. While the pandemic had a lot to do with this problem, the fact is that there’s been a downward trend in foster care quality and adoption rates since 2017.
The reasons for these changes may be quite complex. For example, entrances and exits from foster care declined during this time, the former by 14% and the latter by 9%. Both of these numbers mean that foster homes have been a bit stagnant over the last few years. Many children are still in the same homes, and parents cannot bring in new children, who may desperately need a place to stay right now.
What is even more troubling is that termination rights dropped heavily during this time: by as much as 11% in 2020 alone. Rights termination is also an important part of the adoption process, particularly for children of broken or dangerous homes. Getting children out of these situations is critical, but poor termination rates mean that they may linger in these areas longer than necessary.
So, while it is true that reunification with birth parents did increase by nearly 50%, that’s not always a good thing. Sometimes, adoption and fostering is just a better option for both the child and their parents. If you’re not sure why that’s the case, we’ll examine a few instances in which athletes in troubled homes thrived once they were placed in a foster or adoption situation.
Why Great Adoption is So Important
Foster homes should provide young children with a loving atmosphere that helps them transition to a new home with relative ease. And this process doesn’t have to be traumatic or difficult for children. In fact, many adopted people go on to do amazing things later in life, in spite of serious troubles.
For example, legendary Olympic figure skater, Scott Hamilton, had a difficult early life when he was given up by his parents as an infant. However, Hamilton found a loving home with two college professors and became a four-time Olympic gold medal winner and regular philanthropist.
The NFL has also hosted many adopted athletes who’ve gone on to bigger and better things. For example, Daunte Culpepper was initially placed with a family of 15 older siblings and stayed with his foster mother instead of his birth mother, who gracefully gave up rights on Daunte to allow this adoption.
In spite of her legal troubles that caused his fostering situation in the first place, Culpepper thanked his mother for what he called a selfless and loving act: giving him up to a home where he could get support was a significant sacrifice on her part, he believes.
Former NFL quarterback and current philanthropist and advocate Colin Kaepernick were born to a teenage mother who gave him up for adoption. Kaepernick maintained a 4.0 GPA through high school and college in his loving home and was a multisport athlete who now fights to help those who need it.
And what better example of the power of adoption is there than Babe Ruth? The Babe was placed in the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys’ orphanage at a young age. Here, he developed the baseball skills that would make him legendary with his mentor and father-figure, Brother Matthias. Babe was then legally adopted by the talent scout who brought him to the Baltimore Orioles.
Many of these athletes have shown their appreciation to the foster homes and orphanages that took care of them. Ruth, in particular, donated generously to St. Mary’s for the rest of his life and helped support Brother Matthias financially in his waning years. He also adopted two children from the institution and raised them in a loving and supporting home.
These success stories make the current state of foster homes incredibly troubling. Like so many of today’s children in foster homes, Babe Ruth and others were troubled and needed loving support to grow. Foster homes that cannot provide that support may just be worsening a troubling situation. It is, therefore, essential to do what you can to help with this process whenever possible.