Runaway children in Florida MPs shootout highlight challenges with foster care system
(Nation Now) – This week, two young people in foster care escaped from a group home and participated in a filming with Florida MPs. History has brought to the fore the realities and challenges of foster children in the United States.
“Our youth who live in group homes are there without fail,” said Lyndsey Collins-Wilson, CEO of First Star, an organization dedicated to empowering the lives of youth in foster care.
Collins-Wilson says young people are placed in the child welfare system as a result of abuse and neglect.
A 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy left the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home near Deltona on Tuesday and broke into a house where they found weapons and ammunition. The pair began shooting at Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies who were looking for them. MPs shot and injured the girl, who was reportedly in critical but stable condition after the operation, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.
Collins-Wilson says the actions of young people correlate with problems within the foster care system.
“What happened in Florida was two kids in dire straits,” Collins-Wilson said. “They took some very negative actions, but a lot of it is attributed to what got them into the child welfare system.”
She says the system should feed young people without parents.
“The system is supposed to be their mother and father, but the system is not a person. It’s a building. It’s a technical environment. they are obligated to provide a placement for the young person and they are obligated to ensure the sustainability of that young person, but not the ability to thrive.
Collins-Wilson says society should support young people who have gone through “our society’s greatest tragedy and who are being abandoned by their parents.”
“It’s a system that really needs to be dismantled and started from scratch,” Collins-Wilson said.