I was on the PI (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reading a little article on homeless foster kids. My returning readers will know what I most stupidly did, because I always do it: I looked at the comments section. Here is what I found. (For those who want a better understanding of the context, the original article can be found here)
“A growing problem: Fresh out of foster care and homeless
Fueled by high unemployment and high housing costs, shelters for young adults in King County are turning people away in record numbers.
What do you think?
Posted by transandal
at 10/17/2010 11:17 p.m.
The storm is yet to come, when these unemployed kids meet the unemployed fifty and up dispossessed. Vitality and perspective cemented by hate of bankers, foreigners, and government lacks only a strong and charismatic leader to reshape America. Does anyone remember the Weimar Republic?
Posted by wonder why at 10/17/2010 11:46 p.m.
and this america? might as well live in south africa, at least genicide has a name there, it, either religion or greed, at least they don’t claim to be free. can anybody see? i wonder.
Posted by Marine Vet 66-69 at 10/18/2010 12:17 a.m.
Question where is the father or fathers of these of 4 kids by age 22? This used to be the responsibility of the family, where are they?
Posted by Deucemaster at 10/18/2010 6:05 a.m.
Y’all are worried about being banned from THIS cesspool? The PI is so bad, it’s not even a fishwrap anymore! So, I’ll say what everybody is thinking:
Hey! Miss Jackson! Take that hand you’re holding out for free government cheese, and slap it over the hole between your legs! Now, KEEP IT THERE! Life is hard without 3 live babies and a dead one…so stop dropping future welfare nuggets until you can take care of YOURSELF first!
Good freaking lord…How stupid do you have to be to think “Hey, I’m 18 and homeless and this guy hasn’t hit me or tricked me out in the last 24 hours…I think I’ll bear his child!” Sorry–no sympathy for perpetuating that kind of stupidity.
Posted by maggie2u at 10/18/2010 6:14 a.m.
Deucemaster…I would report your post as a violation except it’s the truth. It’s about time we start demanding personal responsibility from those who are accepting money extorted from working American families.
Posted by Tonestaple at 10/18/2010 6:17 a.m.
Expatmom, you’re right but your solution is most likely wrong. What these kids need is up close and personal mentoring from people like you and me, explaining why it’s an incredibly bad idea to have babies before you can support them, why you have to finish school, and let me help you with your homework, and here’s how this works, and here’s how to get a job, and here’s how to keep a job. It just about has to be one-on-one to provide crash-course parenting. A government bureaucracy with a social worker checking in once a month isn’t going to do it.
Posted by Tonestaple at 10/18/2010 6:29 a.m.
I don’t know if anyone has surveyed foster parents to see why they really do that job, but it would be a very rare one who would pay for the extra insurance costs and risk the family car to teach a child not their own how to drive. That task is doubtless not part of what is required by the state, the state doesn’t pay for the costs involved, so the foster parents aren’t going to do it/can’t afford to do it, maybe both.
As you know if you read the papers, some foster parents are great – truly loving people – and some are just flat out evil, using their foster kids for sex. The state is a lousy parent, so driving is just one more life skill foster kids don’t learn.
And Deucemaster is completely right, but since this girl probably had no father to teach her to respect herself, or maybe had a father who used her for sex, she has no other way to relate to men. Also, she probably believes that a baby will love, love, love her forever and fill the gaping hole in her soul. It doesn’t work that way, but she most likely doesn’t know any better.
Posted by Renaissance Soul at 10/18/2010 6:35 a.m.
For all of you being so harsh, do you really think that someone who has grown up in the foster care system, bounced from place to place, then kicked out at age 18 is really going to have the skills for living and making good decisions? I bet you couldn´t walk a block, much less a mile in their shoes.
As Tonestaple said, the key is mentoring before these kids´ lives reach such a crisis point. The system is broken and you are blaming the victims.
Posted by Hacct at 10/18/2010 7:16 a.m.
I cannot even finish reading the article let alone the comments without being absolutely irate. It’s all about the kids and trying to help the kids, but we are not helping anybody when we allow kids to have kids. At some point this has got to stop! Stop throwing money and support for this kind of behavior. If you come into the welfare office for a check before the check arrives you have to be sterilized. We cannot even educate the kids we have because teachers spend their days dealing with kids who are not equipped to learn because of these types of homes. My neighborhood is filled with graffeti and garbage from the Middle School kids who walk by every day and have no respect for anything. These kids are coming from homes like those described in this article. If you can support yourself and your children fine, have as many as you like. But if you can’t take care of yourself or your children you have NO RIGHT bringing another child into this world. Anything can breed.
Posted by Renaissance Soul at 10/18/2010 7:31 a.m.
Sterilization?!? Are you serious??? Why not just corral all the undesirables in camps and dispense with them? That´s just a shout away from your statements.
Ever hear of sex education and birth control counseling??? Some of us prefer a humane instead of a final solution.
Posted by Hacct at 10/18/2010 7:45 a.m.
Dear Renaissance Soul,
For the avoidance of doubt I am serious. And as for sex education and birth control counseling, we have had that in the schools for 20+ years now and it isn’t helping much now is it?
Posted by Vegas Dog at 10/18/2010 7:59 a.m.
The bottom line is simple, life is tough, the strong survive and those who make dumb decisions don’t.
At 18 years old, regardless of your background, you must fight for your survival. Governments either at the local or federal level are not the solution. The government can’t substitute as a parent and it cannot afford to take on the results of every bad decision made by it’s citizens.
Posted by Renaissance Soul at 10/18/2010 8:10 a.m.
The programs in the schools are not enough. They are generalized, and impersonal and don´t entail any one to one counseling. And your sterilization plan leaves no room for redemption. People have been known to rise out of the worst circumstances and become wonderful citizens. Sterilization is forever. You scare me.
Posted by Hacct at 10/18/2010 8:14 a.m.
Dear Renaissance Soul,
I don’t mean to scare you. You just need to realize that there are people who would like to spend time, energy and money on our own families and friends and not continually picking up the mess of those who are making poor choices in their life.
Posted by Renaissance Soul at 10/18/2010 8:27 a.m.
Even, and perhaps especially, on an economic level, it makes sense to have a strong safety net in place to try and stem these problems before they are generationally transmitted. It´s cheaper to pay for positive early intervention in the life of a foster child than to pay for her children and her children´s children, with all the concomitant incarcerations along the way.
Posted by Toooby at 10/18/2010 8:44 a.m.
Simple solution, 4 years in the Army or Navy is the best next step for these young adults. Kids into foster care or adopted out.
Posted by teacher64 at 10/18/2010 9:11 a.m.
I agree with the people who say the remedy is to stop the problem when the kids are little. Seems to me it’s time to visit the past. Anyone remember hearing about the orphan trains of the late 1800’s? Orphans from New York and Boston were taken to farming areas where farm couples adopted them. The objection that ended the practice was that some families just wanted slave labor. That was probably true of some people, but not all, and we now have the facilities to screen more carefully. Children raised on farms grow up with responsibility and a feeling of being needed and valued. They grow up with the pride and security of knowing that they have contributed in the past and they can take care of themselves.
I realize that this will be objected to on the basis of child labor laws, but I say it’s time the child labor laws were reexamined. Children born to farm families are allowed by law to work a reasonable amount of time and most parents give them an allowance (or outright pay them for their work). If a foster child of 7 or 8, having suffered cold, hunger, and general insecurity, was given the chance to earn some money by feeding the chickens, etc., it would be the chance of a lifetime for them. At the age of 10, to be given your own vegetable garden and know that you and your family will never be hungry as long as you take care of it! WOW!
Although I didn’t live on a farm, I started picking beans, peas, and berries at the age of 10. This was down in the Kent Valley. My siblings and I worked every summer until we went to college. The work ethic and confidence we got, not to mention the physical fitness, were a bonus that now outweigh the money we earned.
Again, it’s time to re-think our attitude towards children. All people, even kids, need to be contributing parts of society. Farm families have a reputation for being closer, warmer, and more stable than city families. It’s time we gave them the chance to help themselves and others again, the way they once did.
Posted by SuO at 10/18/2010 9:29 a.m.
I personally think it needs to be a two-pronged approach. Of course we need to work on education, etc. But I take strong exception to Putnam’s assertion that it is not a choice. Of course, no one wants to be homeless. But I don’t care how smart or educated you are, if you are 18 and have a kid or two already, you are adding hurdles that are insanely hard to compensate for. I don’t think there should be sterilization, but I have to say, I think mandatory birth control implants need to start being used. I really feel sorry for the babies born into these situations.
Posted by WSconstructionguy at 10/18/2010 9:29 a.m.
Not quite sure how to cope with the current problem but I sure know how to fix it in the future…..
Mandatory birth control for all adults of a breeding age. A exhaustive, comprehensive testing procedure in place to determine if you have it together enough psychologically and financially to actually raise a child.
You’re welcome for the solution.”
So of course I had an issue with all this. Having been homeless, and having crawled up out of the street life on my own, it always grates on me when those who have no idea what that’s like condescend to give out answers like some deified slot machine – empty, meaningless slogans put together out of random recycled sound bites. So I have a response to these people, and I’d like the whole world to see it.
Posted by Baristaboiseattle at 10/18/2010 9:38 a.m.
I’ve been reading the comments here, and it seems to me that most of them are being made by people who have no idea what life on the streets is like. So to those people who haven’t lived on the streets for a year or two, I politely suggest that you try it, and see if your smug platitudes and simplistic solutions work.
I reluctantly agree that street pregnancy is a problem… one that has no simple solution. Eugenics, however appealing to the small-minded or sheltered, is not an option. Sorry.
Keep in mind that these are real people, struggling with real problems that are far more difficult to deal with than you might wish to believe. there’s a nasty cycle to being homeless, and it’s almost impossible to break once it gets going – you’re dirty, you’re carrying your home on your back, you smell, and people aren’t going to hire you because of that, not to mention the lack of a cell-phone for returning job-related calls, the difficulty getting to and from interview appointments without transportation, and how likely it is that you’ll lose one or more of your identification documents in the course of your homelessness.Fortunately for me I managed (somehow) to get a job and get off the streets. I’ve been homed and jobbed for quite a few years now. But it took me over two years on the streets to get off of them, in the Clinton economy. I defy any of you to do the same with similar resources in the post-Bush economy we’re living in.
If you were dealing with all that, and somebody gave you affection, assistance, and a shoulder to lean on, you might find yourself a little less worried about whether or not they snagged a condom at the clinic beforehand.