There are nearly a half million children that are in foster care with tens of thousands a year being denied a loving home because of current state discrimination laws and practices. In Florida, over 30,000 children are in foster care with hundreds/thousands of prospective parents being either denied or dissuaded from adopting due to Florida’s discriminatory adoption practices. Many families adopt outside of the United States because adoption in America, especially Florida, has become too difficult. These children are part of our future generation, and we need to fight against Florida’s ability to deny children a family based on a long history of prejudice. Everyone deserves a family, and we should not allow the state to force children to live their entire childhood in a foster care home. To uphold our values as Americans, we must ensure that our adoption process is fair to all, and ensure that our future generation is not impoverished because of Florida’s discriminatory adoption practices.
This call to action is so important because keeping such a high population of children is foster care is damaging. Florida's laws on adoption further exacerbate the problems of foster care.
Foster care has been shown in various studies to have deleterious consequences on the physical health and mental wellbeing of those who were in foster care. Many children enter foster care at a very young age, a period where the development of mental and psychological processes are at one of their critical peaks.
--In a study conducted in Oregon and Washington state, the rate of Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults who were in foster care for one year between the ages of 14-18 was found to be higher than that of combat veterans, with 25 percent of those in the study meeting the diagnostic criteria as compared to 12-13 percent of Iraq war veterans and 15 percent of Vietnam war veterans, and a rate of 4% in the general population. The recovery rate for foster home alumni was 28.2% as opposed to 47% in the general population.
--One study by Johns Hopkins University found that the rate of sexual abuse within the foster-care system is more than four times as high as in the general population; in group homes, the rate of sexual abuse is more than 28 times that of the general population.
--Children in foster care are at a greater risk of suicide, the increased risk of suicide is still prevalent after leaving foster care and occurs at a higher rate than the general population. In a study of Texas youths who aged out of the system 23 percent had a history of suicide attempts.
--Children in foster care have an overall higher mortality rate than children in the general population. A study conducted in Finland among current and former foster children up to age 24 found a higher mortality rate due to substance abuse, accidents, suicide and illness. The deaths due to illness were attributed to an increased incidence of acute and chronic medical conditions and developmental delays among children in foster care.
--Children in foster care are more prone to becoming overweight and obese, and in a study done in the United Kingdom, 35% of foster children experienced an increase in Body Mass Index (BMI) once in care.
--Foster care has been proven in innumerable studies to not be conducive to academic performance. In a study conducted in Philadelphia by Johns Hopkins University it was found that; among high school students who are in foster care, have been abused and neglected, or receive out of home placement by the courts, the probability of dropping out of school is greater than 75%.
--Children in foster care experience high rates of child abuse, emotional deprivation, and physical neglect. In one study in the United Kingdom "foster children were 7-8 times, and children in residential care 6 times more likely to be assessed by a pediatrician for abuse than a child in the general population".
By signing this petition, we are supporting a change to Florida's state constitution that includes the following:
The state shall not delay or deny the placement of children into foster or adoptive homes, or deny an individual the opportunity to foster or adopt children, due to race, color, religion, age, disability (or handicap), sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status. The state shall base the opportunity to adopt a child based on one’s ability to meet the best needs of the child and not on an individual’s race, color, religion, age, disability (or handicap), sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status.
With much love for prospective families,