On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court officially reversed the 1973 ruling for Roe v. Wade, overturning the federally-guaranteed right to abortion access which has existed for nearly half a century. This decision has many far-reaching impacts, including those for young people and families who are affected by foster care and other parts of the child welfare system.
In light of the Roe v. Wade decision, we reaffirm FosterClub's dedication to preventing unnecessary placement of children into foster care. FosterClub remains committed to lifting the voices of young people with lived experience in the child welfare system in order to improve services to them and their families. The Supreme Court may have spoken for now, but we stand with Lived Experience Leaders and Allies to ensure decisions by those in power rely on the voices of those who are most profoundly impacted.
How This Ruling Affects Young People and Families
The Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade is a decision that will disproportionately impact poor families - especially poor families of color - and serve as one more systemic stressor at-risk families must navigate in order to prevent their children from entering care.
Abortions will continue; the Supreme Court’s ruling only restricts procedures that are performed legally, safely, and are accessible to everyone. Even in states where abortions are made illegal, women and other pregnant individuals with means will have access to abortion services. With dire consequences, this leaves the poorest individuals and families without the same access to medical procedures as the privileged.
This means that families already living at the margin are less likely to access the resources their family needs. By not protecting abortion access at the federal level, which makes it harder to obtain at the state level, this ruling has made it increasingly difficult for poor people to make the best decisions for their families. In some cases, this puts families that already have children at risk.
This will have a catastrophic impact on the foster care system and vulnerable children will bear the brunt of this decision. The number of children entering foster care will increase as a direct result of this ruling to eliminate access to safe, legal abortion, adding to the stress on an already underfunded and under-resourced system.
An influx of children into foster care will result in more unstable placements, such as unprepared foster homes, group homes, or residential treatment centers. All of the unfavorable outcomes frequently connected with foster care will rise as the number of young people in care increases. More children will be involved in the juvenile justice system, more children will become victims of sex trafficking, and more children will struggle with mental health issues as a result of instability and a lack of stable family support because of this decision. Over time, more young people will slip through the cracks that enter foster care and their core needs will go unmet.
FosterClub is Looking Forward
For more than 20 years, FosterClub has put young people and their needs first. We will continue to elevate young voices and create opportunities for those with lived experience to drive change in the foster care system. We will continue to create space for young people to connect with lawmakers and share their insights into the impacts of this ruling on their own lives and the lives of their peers. We will work with our partners to address the realities of added stressors on the child welfare system that this ruling will cause. We will continue to create and improve resources for young people and families impacted by foster care.