By: Jane Wells, founder and director of 3 Generations
Back in 2010, we met and interviewed Joyce Arndt, a Native American grandmother, artist, nurse and survivor. She had been taken from her mother at 21 months and moved into a series of foster homes. For one reason or another foster parents took her into their homes and then gave her back. One family nurtured her for close to decade and one day decided she was a difficult teenager and sent her away. (Painfully for Joyce they also had adopted children who they kept). Her next foster father was abusive and she eventually ran away.
Her story was rattling to say the least. Most parents have at one time or another wished they could “send their kids back,” and teenagers frequently wish they could conjure up different parents. But we cannot and do not. To me it seemed a savage indictment of the foster care system, and gave me renewed admiration for those who adopt children.
There are surely many saintly foster parents out there, but recently we have been hearing of more and more horrific abuses of children through the foster care system. Abuses that disproportionally impact Native children and send unacceptable numbers of already disadvantaged children onto the streets and into the arms of pimps and predators.
Finally the world and the government seem to be sitting up and noticing, as they should because the numbers and details are disturbing. To learn more, check out USA Today’s recent column about sex trafficking and foster care and be sure to watch our interview with Joyce.