It is a harsh reality. Children who grow up in foster care do not have the same upbringing as children who didn’t grow up in foster care. Usually, they experienced some sort of trauma to have been placed in care by their parents. Sometimes, that would be abuse or neglect. Children in care, who may be in a loving foster home, will struggle with that trauma and not have the stability and consistency that children or youth need in order to thrive.
Texas is seeing this deterioration in teen girls who are in the foster care system. A report recently came out, stating that girls in care are five times more likely to become pregnant than girls not in care. This news article stated that the report indicated that 332 foster care girls were pregnant and 218 foster youth were already parents in 2017.
The story of Unisha Curry indicates the seriousness of this data. She was placed in foster care at 14 years old and moved from nine to eleven homes before aging out of the system. In her last placement, she had three foster sisters who were all teen mothers. Additionally, none of them had their children living with them. Two were placed with CPS, and one was placed in foster care.
But what can be done to alleviate this huge problem? Molly Clayton, executive director of the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy stated, “For foster youth, the state of Texas is the parent in that role. That creates some confusion and complexity around who has the responsibility and the assistance to teach foster youth about relationships and about sex.”
It relates back to the fact that these youth have very little stability or consistency of adults coming and educating them about adult experiences, such as becoming parents. Let’s allow the system to work together with these youth to find suitable help for these girls and the support they need.