After the television became a family household item, Americans celebrated the traditional family. Everywhere a person looked, they would find the typical husband and wife with 2.5 children. Even presidential candidates oozed the essence of a perfect family (Coontz, 2011). Even though the traditional family is changing, one opponent stands to challenge the picture-perfect family: foster care. The concept of placing a child who has suffered from abuse or neglect is not new. In 1853, Loring Brace took notice of the increased number of children living on the streets and thus began the first non-profit foster home (Chittom & Wagner, n.d.). Research shows that 399,436 children were in foster care during 2012. Over one-fourth of those children were placed with non-relative foster families (Children’s Bureau, 2013). Although foster care is a positive program, it highlights the destruction of the ideal American family in the United States.
Despite the foster care system’s existence since the nineteenth century, it was not employed much because the ideal American family was intact. Social policy tends to ignore what they don't publicize. Children of immigrants were often out on the street looking for work. They were sent on "orphan trains" and sent out west. Back in the 1800s, no one talked about any sexual abuse children might have suffered on their journey out west. Some of the slight problems in the early system were addressed, but the cause of the system still existed. Families could not take children in and provide for them due to low income. Soon, the government started to offer money (George & Walker, n.d.). As a result, people realized that the perfect American family does not exist if money needs to be offered to keep children out of harm’s way. In addition, foster care has it’s own set of words that are often associated with the process.
As the system evolved, many terms also developed to describe foster care and the children who
are apart of the system. The main reason why foster care is even important is because of child abuse and or neglect. Child abuse is when a child suffers from any physical or sexual injury. Child neglect often
goes hand-in-hand and it happens when a legal guardian fails to provide for the necessities of a child. After someone notices abuse or neglect, child welfare agencies are then contacted. The most common department would be the Department of Children's Service, or DCS. Their job is to evaluate if a child is being taken care of properly. After it is decided a child must be placed in care, a judge will decide if the parent's rights should be terminated or if the child should be reunited. Termination of parental rights (TPR) is when the legal guardian's rights are revoked. If the judge orders reunification, programs are started with the family to assure a successful unification (Chittom & Wagner, n.d.). By...