Preventative services could of saved my family and I from being torn apart by the foster care system. Before being taken into state custody, we were homeless for nearly 7 months. Seven months of living outside, in dirty motels, couch surfing, and never having enough food to eat. I always showed up to school in clothes I wore for 5 days straight and even worse- had multiple parasites because of the dirty conditions that homelessness brings (bed bugs, scabies, and lice). It felt as if there was no hope to finding stability and there was nothing I could do about it.
Until one day our homeless experience caught the attention of the Department of Human Services and I figured they would become our hero. The worker there told my mom that they were going to help her get housing so our traumatic experience could finally be over. We picked a lovely home that we could live in and all the landlord had to do was send the bill to DHS and then that was it. We would finally be one happy family again. But one day all of that went crumbling down. They informed my mother that they no longer had the funding to help us and instead they removed my siblings and I and put us in the custody of the state.
If DHS actually had the funding to get my family and I under a roof, two years of my life would have not been spent in the foster care system. It was absolutely devastating and a sense of false hope that they actually were going to help. But I know that this kind of things just didn't happen to us. If more preventative services such as housing vouchers, drug addiction classes, extra parental help, ect were available, less children would have to enter the foster care system. These type of things will help keep families together instead of having to undergo separation and grief. Strengthening families is the key to a successful living - not tearing them apart.
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