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Unformatted text preview: FOSTERING THE DARK SIDE: Efficacy-Obfuscation in Foster Care Services The foster care system is a system riddled with much controversy. Yet what precisely is foster care? Foster care can easily be mistaken for adoption. The difference however lies in the permanency of care provided by the surrogate family. Foster families only temporarily provide care for the child. In most cases the child is reunited with the birth family or can be adopted by the foster family. Adoption entitles the child to be a permanent member of the family and share the same privileges as a biological child would have while the adoptive parents are recognized legally has the childs family. What has passed is prologue! The origins of foster care can be traced as far back as biblical times. In some aboriginal societies around the world, including in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, it was the obligation of everyone in that community, not just family, to nurture and raise the child. At first there existed no child welfare services in the US instead, following the example of Englands Poor Law of 1834, orphaned or poor children were contracted to an apprentice in order for him/her to learn a trade. Children who suffered from abuse or neglect had no one to turn to. Typically, children who were indentured suffered abuse from their employer. As the public became increasingly outraged by the plight of children during the late 1800s, social reform groups and the federal government interceded and took action where appropriate to ensure the safety of the countrys children. 1 The foster care system has even been the subject of debate and argumentation across generations in fictional and nonfiction literature, yet most, such as Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist and The Brothers Grimm's Cinderella , illustrate how corrupted the system can become. Oliver Twist was written in retaliation against the English Poor Law. 2 Through his narration, Dickens argues that the purpose of the foster care system serves only the high class by separating the poor class from them, as it was 16 popularly believed at that time that there were certain crimes that were innate to the lower class. In the novel, these poor children could either choose to live in the workhouses and die slowly from starvation or live in the streets and die swiftly from starvation. A Passionate Concern Much of the passionate concern arising against the foster care system is from those who support family reunification. Family reunification is an attempt to reunite the children with their natural birth family of which they have been removed. Over the years there has been a concentrated effort to reunite children with their families, or in the case of children without family, to hasten the process of adoption....
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- Summer '05
- Oliver Twist