So this statistic makes me want to weep: Of the more than 18,500 endangered runaways reported to NCMEC in 2016, one in six were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those, 86 percent were in the care of social services when they went missing. ( www.missingkids.com/KeyFacts ). That works out to 2651 foster children each year, averaging 7 per day who have been tracked into sexual slavery while being cared for by their own government.
These are boys and girls who have been removed from a home environment where no reliable, willing family member has been identified to step into a child's life which has already been far from a "Leave It To Beaver" moment. We are removing children from non-violent offenders, not all of which have been identified as dangerous parents, with the hope that we are "saving them from a horrible life" even when there is no evidence for that. Increases in incarceration of women caught up on the fringes of criminal behavior (driven largely by unethical behaviors related to plea-bargaining) is adding to an already horrid situation.
If you would like to know what life is like for post-foster care kids, an extensive study was done in 2007 by the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago is available here: www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/07/pdf/071212.foster.study.pdf . Many suffer from mental illness and other health issues. The rate of incarceration for foster care graduates, dropout rates and teen pregnancy rates are stunning. Such an in-depth study from 2007 indicates that a decade ago many of these issues were identified and some folks were looking for solutions. How many of these most vulnerable of our children will be lost to poverty, life-style choices (how do they learn to be adults?), more broken relationships and a general lack of knowledge about how to do life before we find a way to give them a hand up?.
Remember this: not until 2015 were federal laws passed requiring states to report missing foster care children, even very young ones. So, why was a law needed? And how scary is that?