Review: "Judge: Texas foster kids leave worse than when they enter" – KXAN
December 22, 2015
This was an story written by Phil Prazan addressing the ruling by U.S. District Judge Janis Jack that Texas is doing a terrible job of helping foster kids. Not to be a complete jerk, but I'd go one step further and say that what we Texans do to our foster kids is criminal because we knowingly set them up for failure.
We're not simply negligent; we've known for a really long time how to help foster kids be successful. Here's a short list (from a psychiatrist's perspective):
Stable and safe living environments
Supportive caregivers who provide consistency and structure
Consistent and long-term case management
Consistent and long-term therapists who are versed in trauma, attachment theory, and attachment therapy.
Reasonable use of medications for psychiatric symptoms and NOT for behavior
Universal and accessible database for the exchange of information
Psychologically-minded respite resources and mental health services for foster parents
All of these six core ideas require money. Yet Texas doesn't want to spend money on them. So when we damage kids worse than when we got them, we can't be disappointed or surprised because we've engineered them to fail.
P.S.Y.C.H. creates a system wherein foster kids, foster parents, and foster families can flourish.
They will be able to afford specialized therapists and doctors who understand the trauma incurred by broken families and blended families.
They will have case management with access to seamless health records.
The families will be able to attend parenting classes and support groups that provide actually useful information.
No longer will these kids just be hospitalized and medicated repeatedly for behaviors. Instead, behavior therapists can work (and actually be compensated) for the amazing work that they do, thereby saving the system millions of dollars in ER visits, 911 calls, hospitalizations, and jail time.
This is a problem we can solve starting today. Let's take that first step.
Fixing the foster care system as a silo simply won't work. We can pour money into fancy plans and designs, and I can guarantee you they will fail because it's being managed by the government (e.g. CPS). As great as government is for some things, having them run a system that is better managed by a well-run therapy agency is a recipe for disaster.
P.S.Y.C.H. incentivizes smaller innovative companies to bring their best techniques to bear while maintaining state regulations (for licensure, etc.). How do I know the system can handle this? Because these therapists, doctors, and case managers already exist. But the access to the system is so skewed and tainted that we can't get the providers to the patients.
A holistic approach to health care benefits us all, especially this notable and highly vulnerable subset of our population.