Dear Governor Polis and Mary Anne Fleury,
We sometimes take love for granted. When somebody says ‘I love you’ we typically say, ‘I love you’ back and not taking the time to let it sink in. Most of us have had compliments such as ‘You’re Beautiful’ or ‘You’re Handsome’ and we don’t think about it. We are guilty of taking compliments and love disingenuously; because some people might get it once or never in their childhood.
I Love You to a Foster Child
An example of the impact of love as told by a staff member at Front Range Community College that was interviewed, has said that when she was thirteen her temporary foster mom had complimented her by saying she is beautiful. She said that still brings her to tears today because that was the first time she ever felt she was loved. She also has said that if she hadn’t received that compliment she wouldn’t know where she would be today.
Without Love, there is Crime
According to Lydia Pfluger, “Adult Criminality Outcomes of Former Foster Care Youth: Implications for Policy and Practice,” study shows that nearly 50% of abused or neglected youth who were in foster care were arrested in adulthood. A potential cause of that fact is that these youths don’t have a consistent, significant, and positive caregiver. This leaves them with attachment issues and low self-esteem for the rest of their lives, which is a predictor of criminal activity in young adulthood.
Statistics on Foster Children
According to kidscrossing.com, an informational website for foster and adopted parents in Colorado, there were approximately 10,000 children in Colorado’s foster care system in 2016 and it keeps rising by 600 children per year. In the report, “Foster Care Education Data,” done by Colorado’s Education Department, only 37.8% foster care students graduated in the class of 2018 or got a similar diploma. The same staff member that was interviewed at Front Range Community College has said that only three percent of students involved in foster care, will graduate from a four year college but lower than two percent will complete a bachelor's degree before the age of 25. As stated in childtrends.org, there is government funding for education and housing; however, that’s not the problem. They could spend billions of dollars on support and still get nowhere. The reason being those who were and are in foster care that may not be motivated to succeed unless they have had love in their life.
Fostering Success Program
To approach the problem of not having love in foster children’s lives is by providing the Fostering Success Program, in k-12 schools. This program at Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado, that improves the outcome of former foster care students by providing them: individualized academic coaching, emotional support, scholarship opportunities, support with the scholarship search, application process, graduate school advising, career advising, social events, workshops created to engage and connect students, referrals for housing, food, clothing, health, wellness, and finals week care packages.
Another university that have this program is Colorado State, and on their website it stated that the program currently serving over 200 students. One of Colorado State University graduates said, “They have given me everything from providing a shoulder to cry on, to help navigating college life, to scholarships so that I could finish my goals here at CSU – things that a lot of students get from their families. I am beyond grateful for the ways that Fostering Success Program has supported me.”
Fostering Success Program is a great program for when foster students go on to college but since the graduation rate is under 50% in high school, there should be a similar program in k-12 schools.
The reason why is because the brain is mostly developing in those years, and it’s hard to heal the psychological wounds that the trauma may have caused.
How will the Fostering Success Program be adapted?
First of all, in order for the program to work every foster and adopted students' needs an Individual Education Plan (IEP) because it would provide students access to additional services. Second, the Fostering Success program in k-12 will provide individualized academic coaching, emotional support, social events, workshops created to engage and connect students, gift certificates for clothing, as well as referrals for food and outside counseling. By providing for their needs, they would feel loved.
Many foster children are traumatized by past events that occur or even the separation from a parent is traumatic. So no matter how much money is spent love is not simply something that can be bought. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says,"4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Please sign this petition, “Educating Love” asking Governor Polis to request Colorado’s Department of Education to allocate some money towards making Fostering Success Programs in Colorado’s public k-12 schools. This will not only improving the quality of life for students that are or were involved in foster care, but motivate them to be successful in life.