Des Moines, Iowa
Have you ever wondered what goes unnoticed within the system? It may surprise you, but approximately 420,000 youth are in foster care in the United States, with a national average of 55 kids going missing in a single day. What else do you think happens to these kids who go unnoticed?
As a young adult who has aged out, I can tell you! Personally, I have been that “missing” kid, ripped away from a loving mom and family. Social workers didn’t want to listen to my mom when she was fighting to get me back. She had previously struggled with addiction and poverty. Instead of providing her with the preventative services to help care for me, they took the easy way out and had me removed. I was placed with my abusive father and was not able to see my mom for 14 years. The agency completely ignored my mom when she was fighting for my own safety and advocating to have me removed from my father. If they had listened to her, I would’ve been a part of that 105,000 youth living with their mothers and not a part of the thousands who get abused.
As a young adult I was finally able to reconnect with my mom and read the court paperwork from my time in foster care. I learned that a lot of the negative things I was told about my mother were lies and that she never actually lost her rights to me. I felt like I had been cheated out of a happy childhood and a loving family.
To this day, I am still trying to heal and relearn everything from all those years of trauma and feelings of abandonment. It was very hard learning that the people I lived with, and were abused by, lied to me about everything. Telling me my mother gave me up, but in reality, they took me away from a loving mother. Why did DHS not listen to my mom? Why didn’t they try to reunify us, isn’t that the primary goal? Why didn’t they listen to me when I told them I was being abused? How did they not notice?
What else goes unnoticed?