More resources should go to root causes of children being placed in foster care

Posted 1 May 2023 at 3:44 pm


The United States government has been spending more money on the foster care system, group homes, and adoption agencies than they have been on mental healthcare programs and family reunification programs.

The government spent $10.7 billion (about $33 per person in the US) on the foster care system in the year 2023. According to, “states receive reimbursements ranging from 50 cents to 76 cents for each dollar spent on daily childcare and supervision, administrative costs, training, recruitment, and data collection.”

Coming from the viewpoint of a senior in high school, I looked over this statement and thought about all the people close to me affected by the foster care system in various ways. Many of my peers struggled and were forced to live with families that abused them, while some were moved out of their homes unwillingly because of anonymous CPS calls. In my opinion, the government needs to become more proactive than reactive so that we can help more children from going into foster care in the first place.

Children are typically placed in the system due to a parental figure dealing with substance abuse, mental illness, poverty, or physical abuse. Yet, the government has not looked further into these things which are the root causes of what pushes more children into the system every day. Lack of mental health care, drug addiction, and poverty are some of the biggest issues in our country, and the United States government does not provide any real solutions for these problems.

If the United States government was more proactive than reactive the American people would not be paying their taxes for programs that do not fully solve societal issues such as Medicare, Medicaid, free and reduced lunch, etc. The Unites States believes that by giving money to those in poverty is helping the people in poverty, but the number of people in poverty has only increased and that is because the government believes that money is what solves our issues.

When dealing with poverty, you would think that the United States would do something such as lowering the minimum wage or decreasing taxes not paying for medical expenses and food stamps.

When it comes to foster care, in most cases, children do not get reunited with their birth parents, and so many kids get bounced from home to home and the burn-out rate for CPS workers is through the roof.

If the government were to consider a proactive take on this issue such as implementing required mental health and childhood education in schools, kids could become aware of how they personally can grow and learn.

The foster care system has been around since 1853 and if America cares so much about our children, then why has the number of children in the system only grown since then? The foster care system has even been considered overpopulated for the last several years and the number of kids entering the system just continues to grow.

The education system requires children to learn math and science from the age of 5, but kids are not required to know how to advocate for themselves or balance their own mental health. The government tends to “fix” societal issues such as those regarding child welfare by focusing on what works at the time, rather than being proactive and trying to provide a service to people that would actually improve the lives of children in the long run.

An example is the mental health care system. For instance, there are so many advertisements or warnings seen on TV that explain how technology and playing video games are mentally damaging to young children and teens, but yet most schools require students to have laptops, work is online.

So the government is making the people believe that they actually care about mental health, but in reality they are making things such as public schools more costly which then leads to more money to government facilities. According to the Children’s Defense Fund, the United States ranks 31st out of 36 for childcare globally, so how exactly is the foster care system helping or improving children’s lives?

Lydia Sprague

Holley High School senior