On her 18th birthday, Ms. DB was dropped off at a Food Lion parking lot in Gallatin, TN without any money, clothing, food, healthcare, benefits, e.g., food stamps, transportation and no where to go. She was on her own with a 10th grade education and no GED.
Cody G is a young man who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 19, shortly after leaving custody. He was denied TennCare 4 times before I made the decision to get involved at any cost. Like all of my other former DCS clients (at least those who have contacted me over the years) CG is also chronically homeless, unemployable, and has only a 10th grade education, epilepsy, and a mental illness. He TennCare is ending 3/31/2008-not quite enough time to plan and execute the brain surgery he needs to help him live a relatively normal life...
These children and young adults (DB, CG, CW, and CB) and a few other exceptional children left an imprint on my heart long after I left my position with the Department of Children's Services...
After leaving the private (contract) agency I was working for, it took a very long time for me to decide whether I should continue in the field of social services for children. You see, I was under the impression that foster care was about children. Wrong.
Unfortunately, I came to realize that it was more about money than children. Private agencies pay barely there, barely trained "people" upwards of $40-60/day per child tax-free. One foster parent I worked with kept ten children in a four-bedroom home in Madison. She also kept chains on the refrigerator door so the children wouldn't eat too much food. Another family had multiple complaints of sexual assault filed against them, but those complaints were mysteriously absent from my case file when I left the agency. As was my actual signature on my case reports-they didn't even try to color between the lines when falsified my records with white out. Who can be that lazy? Who can be that reckless? Who can be that person?
Focx News knew within minutes of several of these situations. The reporter told me he didn't have tome t bothered. Well Fuck you too, Sky. You wouldn't know a decent story when it was in front of your face.
DB is not alone in her experience, and for whatever reason, these children seem to feel comfortable sharing their stories with me. They know the ttruth about me that I never revealed until recently....that I too was one of the lost.
Shout it from the rooftops if you need to: I did.
This despicable state of affairs and this not so well hidden secret about privatized foster care in the state of Tennessee must come to an end!
I am a plant without any roots
I bring no syrup I bear no fruits
I am not much to look at without any flowers
All I do is sit and stare for hours
Every so often, I wander off to find a new spot
Feeling no attachment to anything I've got
Every time I move, I lose a leaf or two
But no one will notice because here I am new
After moving a while, I look down to see
How oblivious I am to my nudity
All of my moving has shaken me bare
Embarrassed and all I ignore the stares
But the more I think the better I feel
Because the leaves from me provided a meal
So I am important like all on this earth
Think I'll settle down and show this world what I'm worth