Nature versus nurture – which is the trump card?

I was born to be wild ’cause my daddy was an outlaw in a family of outlaws.

True or False, are you pre-destined to be good or bad based on your family genetics?

How about taking it a step further; are abused and maltreated children better off if they remain with their own families, instead of having them taken away and shipped off to the mixed bag of foster care?

USA Today ran a front page story and said it is overwhelmingly better off to leave these children in their own family, even if the family gets little or no help at all.

Maybe, maybe not. I’m a volunteer Guardian ad Litem and have handled cases where foster care was the only thing keeping an abused kid off the street.

Unfortunately, when these kids are placed in the system under the control of DCF the final outcome is usually less than ideal. They might eventually be reunified with their family, but most times the family still has their own issues to deal with. Just because the family/parent was required to complete a case plan to get their kids back doesn’t mean it solved all their problems.

Because of drugs or being totally dependent on the abuser, the parent might not even do a case plan. Then the child is destined for the foster care system until they age out, unless they can get adopted. And the age of the child when they enter into foster care will impact their chances on being adopted.

As you can see, there are choices, but not necessarily good ones.

You have to be kidding me, right? 

One thing the GAL program has taught me is to not make any pre-judgments and get as many facts as possible before I make any recommendation to the court. There are a lot of people to talk with to get the ‘story;’ other family members, teachers, doctors, neighbors, case manager, therapist, law enforcement, parents and the most important, the kids themselves.

Sounds pretty simple right? Talk with everybody, put all the facts down on paper with the pros on one side and cons on the other; tally them up, and then tell the judge based on your statistical analysis where you think the kids should be placed. How hard can that be?

What if you found out someone was less than truthful when answering your questions? I know, shocking right? If an abused kid is being told by the abuser they will be physically removed from the home and taken to live with strangers if they tell anybody, how forthcoming do you think they are apt to be?

If an 11 year old girl is having sex with her mother’s live-in boyfriend, is that horrific enough for her to spill the beans? You would think so, right? More times than not, it remains their hidden secret and it doesn’t come out until there is physical evidence.

What if the uneducated, unemployable mother is totally dependent on this fine upstanding citizen? What if the mother has two other children younger than 11, and if they remain in the house will be subject to the same abuse?

Lovely, just get the kids out of the damn house then.

But USA Today said….

I know, the study said all things considered, the kids will turn out better if they are allowed to remain with the biological family/mother. And trust me, when you read about some of these under-aged girls in group foster homes being pimped out for prostitution, you can see there are no easy choices.

And the sad thing is, this child just happened to get the short-straw; born to the wrong family.

Good or bad however, these kids are our future and there are no throw-away kids.

You make the call

When you have gone through the entire process, the family has done absolutely everything they were required to do in the case plan, and they want their children back; but you just know these kids will have a less than 1% chance of being successful in life if you put them back in the home; what would you recommend? You will be asked……

You have seen the family structure and dynamics and it is certainly nothing you have ever experienced or witnessed before (ie, it is some kind of messed up), but if you feel the kids will be relatively safe, do you tell the judge to close the case and send the kids home?

Did I say there were no easy choices?

We just do the best we can, right?

Why me? Why not. It is certainly not glamorous, but probably one of the most worthwhile things I have ever done. If you have a Guardian or Casa program in your area I would encourage you to consider being a volunteer. The kids need a voice.

That.is.all.

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56 thoughts on “Nature versus nurture – which is the trump card?

  1. I hear you Bill. (and I love you more coz you wrote this post). This is such a dilemma type question. I’ve see these things with the orphanages I am associated with. The stories are horrifying – and after listening to about eighty, it just breaks the heart to see the diverse horror in those young lives. I’ve found that many of them do not want to go back to their families. We don’t have a system, especially when it comes to destitute women – who are more than happy to give their children up to the homes that will take care of them, feed them well, clothe them, educate them and give them vocational training – and by the time they are 18 or 19, they are ready for the world, such as it is. They are supposed to take care of themselves by getting a job. (such as That is).

    There are instances of the girls running away, and that is so sad. Then we have people talking – saying, it is in her genes after all. How unfair. But for the most part, there’s good happening with the homes.

    Incidentally, I keep track of one elderly street dweller (I’ve written about him on my blog). Now – I’ve been seeing him for almost 11 years now – same spot – lives off the alms people give him. Recently he was joined by a family – a woman with three kids….they shared the pavement with him. When it rains they move to the opposite side of the road, where there is a new bus stop, yet to be used. I was surprised to see, after three months or so – that she was pregnant. The three kids are growing – and I see them dressed quite decently. Wonder how. And last week – I saw the little girl – must be 5 or so – dressed to go to school. My son was disturbed…and I asked him why. He worried about what address they would give.

    I plan to talk to them one of these days. I haven’t seen the lady and her kids for two days now – and of course, I am worrying too.

    So – nature vs. nurture – depends on the situation, Bill. So many dynamics involved.

    Soon you’ll have deja vu when you visit my blog as I am going to write about this there. My post is half done….:D And I’ll enjoy linking to your post.

    • There are many factors to consider as I’ve seen completely rotten kids who come from the best families with every advantage at their disposal.

      One of the challenges I face with my kids are they typically come from lower economic income families and are already somewhat of an outcast so it’s very difficult for them to find a positive peer group to associate with. Until you can break that cycle it is very difficult for them to succeed.

      I try to encourage them to do the best they can because all this will pass at some time and they will be on their own to figure it out for themselves…..and they better be ready.

      Sometimes the ‘welfare’ state or living with abuse has been generational with these families and it’s very difficult to show them what ‘normal’ really looks like.

      Thanks for stopping by and can’t wait to read your post. Always good to see you….

    • There are many levels and forms of abuse. Some of the things we would think are zero-tolerance behavior is actually better than being institutionalized……sad to say…..

      The group homes are the worst because it’s all the kids who couldn’t make it in a ‘normal’ home setting; so yes, you get the best of the worst.

      When the judge was swearing us in; he cautioned us to throw whatever we consider ‘normal’ out the window because it’s a whole different ballgame for these kids. A real eye-opener for me…..

  2. Aww crap! And I was just getting to like you…..:-)
    You are right. This stuff is no joke and we all should do as much as we can to help right the bus. Determined if it feels like a tidalwave because just one kid is all it takes to improve a life. And who knows where that life will take the world.

    Bill, you are an honourable gentleman which is apparent in the general discourse of your blog and your comments.

    Have a great day.

    • No you weren’t, you just tolerate me……..:).

      Kind of like the homeless, you would rather not have to deal with it and if you can keep it out of sight out of mind, then it’s not so bad. I don’t know why this particular program resonated with me and it took me 5 years before I actually committed to it; but I’m glad I did.

      Like you say, if I have success w/ one kid then it will be a good thing.

  3. Hi Bill,
    That is a great photo you found for this post! I don’t have a program like that in my area but when I was just out of university I worked at Headstart, a place that took pre-school age children out of underprivileged (the worst) homes and gave them healthy play and snacks with the intention of giving them a head start in life. They still went home to their families at the end of the day. One day I rode the bus with them and I was so shocked to see where they lived. At the time I was applying to the School of Social Work but a few really disturbing things happened during that summer job that told me I was definitely not cut out of that kind of work. I don’t know how you do it. Kudos to you!
    Lori

    • I’m more like a grandparent; I get to pop in and out of their lives but hopefully do enough to be effective. It’s the case workers who live it and probably have 20-30 cases at any one time. Turnover is extremely high for those positions and you can imagine why.

      However, even at my level I have seen or heard some pretty bad stuff and it can get ugly. I try to focus on the kid and how would I feel if I were in their shoes; is there any body out there who can hear me?

      I have very low tolerance for people who take advantage of the defenseless but I can’t carry that attitude with me when I interview the ‘boyfriend’ who ‘allegedly’ has been having sex with the 11 yr old girl in the household. You want to just snap their head off but I have to be objective in my opinions and feelings.

      Lovely, huh?

  4. A great, age-old question, Bill – thanks for raising this.

    I also love your story and involvement with GAL. Sounds like the experience is a really rich one for you :D

    Anyway, to answer the question… I see it as this:

    As human beings, we come complete with powerful tools — self-directed thoughts, feelings, and focus.

    We live life and we’re…

    Presented with choices by nature + genetics (ie: Oscar Pistorius, Nick Vujijic, & Helen Keller)

    And also…

    Presented with choices by the people/peers who raise them (ie: Jay-Z, Ozzy Osborne, & Richard Pryor)

    It doesn’t really matter WHAT we’re presented with, or from where, nature or nurture all crumbles when faced with people who truly and comittedly want to overcome :)

    Food for thought.

    • :-) Hey J – High five to you!

      I love what you wrote – and I agree. I definitely appreciate the greats – I can only imagine the strength it takes to ryze..er…rise above it all. I come from a similar place :-)

      But. Until they realize they’re powerful, not much happens. Only some are lucky – self-realization or triggered realization. When I spend time with the kids, one of my goals is to make them feel good about themselves. So many of them believe they’re at fault, which is so sad. Some of them are okay with listening to encouragement. Some are not. Some are passive. Some are like, wth would you know? (I said heck).
      :-) They want food in their tummies before they get food for thought.

      • It’s tough enough to be a kid anyway so it is important to let them know they are somebody and worth something. And to also let them know, someday they will be grown up and having to make decisions and maybe their current life situation will let them see what they don’t want to do or be.

    • I agree; I have seen great success stories from people who used a deplorable situation as motivation to achieve.

      The challenge my kids have is a lot of this learned behavior is generational and they don’t have a good positive peer support group. They don’t know what they don’t know at times. If you can break the cycle, you can have success……..

      Good to see you sir; thanks for weighing in with your thoughts.

  5. Here goes…
    I believe there are no mistakes.
    First off, I truly believe that God knows what He’s doing when he chooses families and which child goes where.
    That said, families are not the be-all end-all that they are made out to be.
    I have a strong belief that there are a limited amount of people who will cross my path, and it’s my responsibility to be very aware of them and my role in each of their lives.
    I believe that there’s no one answer, but there is one way, and that is for me to show up to help….however, whenever, whenever, being open to offering what’s needed – a ride, a listening ear, a room, a meal, a ride to the police station, etc.
    When people try to structure a response to abuse and to solve problems “in general” you get a mess.
    So, I believe leaving them in their families and being a true friend and support (that might be showing up as a supportive neighbor, uncle, friend, coach, etc) is the system that works best…

    • You are right, each situation is different. But you can only imagine when I say some of these family situations are REALLY messed up. I mean REALLY……..

      As long as the kids are in the ‘system’ and there are numerous sets of eyes on the situation, it usually runs pretty good. However, when the case closes and nobody is stopping by to check on the kids and people revert back to bad habits, it can be dicey. It is not unusual for kids to be removed more than once from a house……..

      There is a huge emphasis nationally on reunification and they don’t have to be perfect parents. But throw drugs and abuse in the mix and it can get scary.

  6. My goodness! I sure got caught up in one idea in your post! Sorry!
    The nature / nurture thing is something I feel strongly about, too!
    I see generational habits in my family history research. Once people are made aware of their ability to stop the cycle, they either choose to or to continue on as is.
    Does that mean that these are genetic tendencies? I don’t know at what level these things are learned and passed on, but I’ve seen a lot of traits skip generations.
    What’s important is our ability as human beings to compare and contrast. When my children bring home a friend I watch them watch what we do as a family and mentally comparing their family experience to ours. Sometimes I’ll ask them (respectfully) about their experiences. It’s interesting to see how they wake up to new choices!
    Anyways, sorry to go off on tangents. The whole post touches on a lot of interesting topics!

    • There are many parts to this post you can address. Just because someone is gay in your family doesn’t increase or decrease the chances for other members to be gay. It’s just the way you were built. The same can be said, for liars, rocket scientist, whatever. Just because one doesn’t mean all will follow suit.

      HOWEVER, a lot of the stuff I see and deal with is generational and learned behavior. The key is being able to break the cycle somewhere along the line, that will be your best chance of success.

      Thanks for sharing, always good to see you.

  7. Hi Bill, I knew you were a Guardian ad Litem and I deeply admire you for the tough, tough work you do with those kids. No, what you do doesn’t sound easy at all, but you’re doing such a great service to those kids and to the community that your hard work is as valuable as it gets.

    I used to volunteer at a battered women’s shelter but it was very tough. I had a difficult time shaking off the things I saw there and then going on with my day. I don’t know how you do it but I’m glad you do.

    I don’t know whether it’s nature or nurture but either way these kids got a raw deal. The environment that subjects them to the least abuse is all you can hope for.

    • One of the disconnects is when you read the case file, some of it is pretty bad. You expect when you finally meet the abuser they will have fangs and be all scary looking. That’s rarely the case, on the surface they appear very normal and will have a ‘normal’ conversation with you.

      I was in a leadership class and introduced to this program; for some reason it resonated with me and I thought it was something I should do. It took me 5 years after that to actually sign up, but I’m glad I did. Just like social, I jumped in with both feet and learned along the way. I figured being a dad gave me pretty good training to begin with…..

      As I mentioned in some of the other comments, the biggest challenge is breaking the ‘cycle;’ getting the kids in a positive, encouraging environment, instead one of shame and embarrassment which leads to resentment.

      Good to see you Carolyn, thanks for stopping by.

      • There is an app that shows the locations of registered sex offenders in your area. If you get that app, first you will be shocked at how many there are surrounding you, second you will be stunned at how normal they look. You can’t judge a book by its cover, I guess?

        Yes, as with the battered women, victims carry shame they don’t deserve, but they feel it nonetheless.

        Breaking the cycle is key but it’s incredibly tough. Self-esteem is the most difficult part, I imagine.

      • And even scarier when you know one or two of these people on the sex offender list. We have a sheriff’s website that does the same thing and when you see how many ‘pop up’ it’s shocking. Back in the day when I was a kid and you could just run free all day are certainly days gone by and that’s a shame.

        Battered women, abused kids, most feel they aren’t worthy and will seek any attention. It is very hard to get them to rise above that kind of mindset.

        But we can try, right?

  8. Second attempt; shorter comment. Have been waiting for this post for about a year now. I applaud you, admire you and thank you for what you do to help these children not knowing whether the decision you make is the right one for the moment.

    I have a 20-year-old under my wing who comes for dinner every now and again; she’s the product of foster system and has no interest in connecting with her bio mom. Foster parents didn’t treat her too well, either. But, she’s making it.

    Crack mom now preggers with 4th; she under 30. Needs babies to feed all the children. No male figures, no solid home, just screaming infants.

    What is the solution? There are NO throw-away children, Bill. Yes.

    • My current case is a 26 yr old mom (on drugs) w/ five boys, 5 and under removed from the house. She has already had two older kids permanently removed. And she recently miscarried or it would have been six. Regardless of how this case turns out, do you think she will quit having babies? And oh by the way, neither parent works and both are on disability.

      And as cases go, this is not that unusual.

      Because the kids are so young I think they are salvageable. However, if they are placed back in the environment they were removed from their chances of success will diminish greatly; and that is just the facts.

      No easy choices………no throw away kids……..one kid at a time……..

  9. Thank you, thank you, Bill for writing this post. I work for a health foundation with a priority area in children’s mental health. We talk about these things all the time. I’ll just leave with you a moving impromptu speech a former Board member made. “Raising kids is not rocket science. Kids need love. They need to know that they matter to someone – preferably their parents. So when we take these kids away from their parents, what does that tell us about attachment?” Pardon me for linking to my work blog, but I absolutely love this model called “Triple P” – it teaches parents to enjoy their children. It’s evidence-based and has proven success. http://www.cthealth.org/blog/triple-p-positive-parenting-program-and-valley-kids-belong Would love to talk to you anytime about children’s mental health, Bill.

    • Hey Jenn, I commented at your place. A lot of these mothers are children themselves and don’t have a good coping mechanism or support system. Subsequently, they become totally dependent on some dirt bag…..and keep having babies……

      Part of the case plan is a parenting class which I’ve seen help some, but you wonder if it carries forward when the case closes and the kids are acting out. The program mentioned in your post sounds like a great one; the key is to get the participation from the ones who need it the most.

      Thanks for stopping by and your thoughts, I would love to talk with you sometime about your work and where you see your successes.

      • Hi Bill- it’s such a complex problem, as you know even more intimately than I do. we both care though. I was honored to participate in a project to help children of incarcerated parents get connected to the help they need when theyhave been traumatized by the event of their parent being incarcerated.

      • Some of these parents are very selfish for a variety of reasons; whether it be dependency or a host of other reasons. But the kids become secondary, almost like they have to figure it out and fend for themselves. And of course, left to their own devices at a time they need nurturing and direction, is usually not a recipe for a favorable outcome unfortunately.

  10. You deserve a special place at the big table for this one Bill — not only for your work with GAL but also for writing this post. It is amazing work you do, and I can only imagine the difficulty of making the recommendations and choosing which situation is “least bad.”

    It is a shame, because with children it is not their fault. They are victims of circumstances created by adults, but it is the children who suffer most.

    Thank you for your dedication to this cause. It is a truly selfless thing you do!

    • A lot of the time, you are just trying to be a lifeline to get them to adulthood. The problem however, is since they are bouncing in and out of the system they are usually WAY behind in school; almost unemployable. And that typically leads to them finding comfort in misery with like-minded people and usually leads to more trouble and them being products of the system as adults as well.

      Breaking the cycle is key but very hard to do.

      For some reason this program resonated with me; I find it worthwhile.

  11. Hi Bill,

    I remember you sharing with us that you were a Guardian ad Litem and like Carolyn said, I also deeply admire you for what you do. I can’t even imagine having to make those kinds of decisions, especially when you’re talking about someone’s life.

    I know they made a wise decision having you as a voice of reason. I know you have the kids best interest at heart. Never having children of my own but still loving them to death, I would hate to see any child grow up in horrible surroundings. Whether this is God’s doing or not, I’m sure that there are ways for them to have a much better chance at life and you and this organization are their saving grace.

    I’m sure that no mother wants to be separated from their children even if they aren’t a good mother. But if they were such a good mother then they would want what’s best for them and sometimes that’s not living with them. Sometimes we can pick our family and they don’t necessarily have to be our biological ones.

    Keep up the wonderful work that you do Bill and know that whatever decisions you make, you’re doing it to help the children. They are our future and should be our main concern.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hey, are you sure you don’t want some kids. I have five right now that I assure you there would never be a dull moment…..:).

      The challenge a lot of the time is getting the mother out of the abusive situation. However, the mother a lot of the time is unemployable and totally dependent on the provider/abuser. I have seen the mother choose the abuser over her children more than once.

      I will continue to say, just because you can be a mother doesn’t mean you should and especially if you are going to have 3 or more kids with not enough money to even care for yourself.

      Thanks for your kind words of encouragement; I do find it fulfilling even if it is frustrating at times.

  12. Noble work for sure Bill! It seems the follow up with the family has to be consistent and certainly that is a good investment of our resources. The cycle has to be interrupted and broken in so many families.

    The neighborhood surrounding my train stop is pretty rough and the first thing one notices is all of the litter in the streets. Where do people learn that it’s ok to not use the trash cans provided? Who is teaching our kids not to have pride in their surroundings. I guess I lean towards nurture. No one is born with a gene that says it is ok to hit a woman or abuse a child.

    • The follow up is consistent as long as they are in the system. Once the case closes, a lot of the times they will revert back to the abusive behavior and the kids will be removed again. As you can imagine, a LOT of money is spent on this but more times than not it seems like we are putting a band-aid on an amputation.

      It’s learned behavior and typically in the lower socio-economic families. Breaking the cycle is key if it can be done.

      Thanks for your thoughts, good to see you.

  13. Tough rewarding work right here Bill… Extremely important too.

    High risk kids would have no hope without people like you who have a heart and passion for helping these kids. This work is not easy. They’re lucky to have you on their side : )

    Just sayin…

    • It certainly isn’t glamorous but I do find it worthwhile; if I can have a positive impact on just one kid, then that will be a good thing for me.

      I’m just a very small part of the process, but I do try to be a consistent, positive role model part. When these kids start getting moved here and there, sometimes its hard to keep tracking them down but I stay with them as much as I can.

      Good to see you sir, thanks for taking the time to stop by.

  14. Wow. As a parent and a former teacher, I can just say, “Thank you for what you do.” For four years, I was a once-a-week mentor to a smart but troubled girl who didn’t have much going for her in the way of family. But doing the things you do, well, that can have such a deeper impact on a child.

    On the nature vs nurture, this was a topic we often discussed in the teachers’ room. I think part of it depends on the level of support a child gets during the traumatic years and part also depends on their strength/will to survive and to not get caught in that dreadful abusive trap. This has been on my mind a lot lately because I am writing my memoir and my own mother had an abusive parent, which I didn’t learn about until very late in her life. So, I think there is no one single answer that would fit every child. It fills me to sorrow to think of the children today who are just waiting for kind, caring adults like you to help them navigate the dangerous waters. Great discussion here.

    • My mother had her share of issues and I didn’t ‘figure’ out she was an illegitimate child until just a few years before she passed away. But looking back, I can see how that molded her to some degree in the way her brothers treated her.

      Childhood, especially the teenage years are tough enough. When you pile on all this other stuff it can be overwhelming. And most of time the kids remain silent about it because they are already embarrassed enough.

      Somehow, someway you have to break the cycle and if you can do that w/ a positive influence and from somebody that cares, maybe that is their tipping point. In some small way, I hope I can be that positive influence.

      For some reason this program resonated with me and maybe it was because of my mother’s situation. I do find it worthwhile and it definitely makes me more appreciative for my family and what I do have.

      Good to see you Judy, thanks for stopping by.

  15. I come from a family of social workers and am the son of peace corps volunteers. Some might say that provides me with a strong liberal bias, but I would argue against that.

    I am an independent who crosses party lines on an issue by issue basis.

    The reason I mention this is because I see my choices as being a combination of nature and nurture. There are certain beliefs/traits that come straight from my parents or other family members.

    Watch how I respond to certain things and if you know my dad you’ll shake your head because it is like watching twins.

    But other things are very different and that is because “nurture” taught me to go my own way when I see a reason.

    I see people in the same way. Perhaps it is too egocentric, but it really works for me.

    • It’s funny you mention politics because the two-party system has been so divisive I truly think we would be better off w/ a no party system and vote on the person and their beliefs instead of the party. I’m a moderate Republican because I tend to think conservatively. However, there are some things I am very liberal on because everything is not just black and white. And being involved in the Guardian program, it’s all about our tax payer dollars at work funding this beast.

      Social work is a labor of love because there is certainly no money in it AND a lot of the times your efforts are not even wanted or appreciated. Go figure, huh?

      I feel I have been a pretty lucky guy in life and have so much to be thankful for. The GAL program has been a very humbling experience and that’s a good thing for me, because I’m certainly not ‘too good’ to be able to roll up my sleeves and jump in. Somebody has to do it, so why not me?

      Good to see you my friend; I hope you have a great weekend.

  16. My respect, Bill! I have said it before, I think, how much I admire you for your involvement with GAL and bringing some sort of normalcy in those children’s life.
    For me it is a combination of nature and nurture but I can only guess at the chances an abused child has.
    Thank you!

    • Thanks for your kind words; one of the biggest challenges is being able to break the cycle and even if the child has been abused and silent, they are still somebody and still worth something.

      As kids, they tend to think day to day and not about their future so I try not to lecture or preach to them but paint a picture of what they want their life to look like and what it will take to get there…..in spite of all the crud they are dealing with.

      If I can be a positive and consistent influence for them, sometimes that is all they are looking for.

      Good to see you; I hope you have a great weekend.

  17. Well, like Vidya said, there are a lot of dynamics involved; so it might be different from one child to another. But sometimes the call is a tough one. When I was in college, I sponsored a girls school education – her family really couldn’t afford it and the weren’t bothered. But after about four years of education, she wanted to drop out because she felt she could work and provide for her family. We tried talking sense into her, telling her the benefits of getting an education and then finding a job that might actually help rather than going after money now and not having enough to sustain beyond a day’s meal. She wouldn’t listen. And now, she is married off (at the age of 18) to an abusive alcoholic who makes her clean houses for money. She regrets her decision of not going back to school. But then, she is quite going through the same life of poverty, abuse and hardship.

    My parents sponsored her cousin and she went on to get a college degree, and now works at a call center that helps her pay off bills and stay in a modest apartment. She has rehabilitated her family and helped them shift to a better housing. She still finds it tough but at least he isn’t in the trap of what she could have been into.

    The fact remains that nature and nurture , either might not win or might not lose. But children do deserve a better nurture and a better environment to have the maximum of their abilities and at least be given a chance.

    • Kids don’t seem to think big picture and the journey it will take to get them where they need to be. And when a family is struggling, sometimes it is easier just to struggle with them because it might be ‘easier’ than getting that education.

      It’s all about breaking the cycle of poverty or abuse and sometimes it is just little baby steps, one at a time that will get the momentum moving in the right direction.

      We can’t save the world, but we can save a child, even if it is one at a time.

      Good to see you Hajra, I hope your day has gone well and have some fun planned for the weekend.

      • Yup… the cycle needs to be taken care of and entered into if we want to see the change; trouble is sometimes the person doesn’t know what is good for them and what might not be really good in the long run.

        Weekend already here; and it is the first day of Ramadan…!

  18. I was once involved helping a first time offender get his life squared away and housing is one of the many many issues that had to be dealt with. His parents were willing to take him in but I discovered that was really the worst of choices – mom was a drunk, dad was nuts and his sister was gang member going nowhere fast. Sometimes there don’t appear to be any good choices. It’s really dispiriting.
    Riley

    • The first case where I had a kid age out, getting him housing was a challenge. This was a case the mother was in town, but her piece of crap new husband didn’t like all the attention from DCF so they would not do a case plan and not take the kid back.

      This housing was available to basically the down and outs and the nowhere else to go people. Of course, he already knew people here from previous group foster homes. Since he aged out, the case was closed so I don’t know how it worked out for him. I can only hope he found some direction somewhere.

      Yep, sometimes the choices are not good but all that’s available.

  19. Bill: I have a cousin that was subject to sexual abuse from a young age. She stayed with her family up until high school and then she joined the army because she was getting into so much trouble. No one knew she was sexually abused except for her and her father. I am sure she told her mother, but I guess she thought it was crazy. I honestly don’t know all the details.
    Somehow, someway the truth got out and everyone found out what was really wrong with her. Now though, things are totally different. I took a trip to my grandparents house and my cousin came to visit, but stayed at my grandparents house (Her parents live right down the street).
    It is crazy, but she is just now starting to get her life together. And to think, all those years I never noticed a thing or thought she would have been sexually abused.

    • A lot of kids are silent about this because they are ashamed and embarrassed and think it’s their fault. They certainly don’t want their friends to know but they don’t know how to make it stop or get away from it. Yes, it has a tendency to make them act out and usually in a very bad way.

      You just don’t know what goes on in people’s houses behind closed doors and sometimes it is really ugly.

      Thanks for sharing your story; hopefully your cousin will continue to put this behind her and be a survivor.

      Good to see you; hope all has been well.

  20. Hi Bill,

    This is indeed a difficult decision and statistics many not yield the right answers.
    Recently in India too , incidents of child abuse have started to surface when media was liberalized and when such reports were investigated.
    Kids really do not know whether to tell anyone about abuse they are facing and that was the theme of the program that featured all the abused kids. In my opinion returning them to family also does not resolve any problem. The only thing that can work are tougher laws( sadly there are many here) and implementation ( which is quite lacking).

    • Just because you can have kids certainly doesn’t mean you should. You would think if you took the responsibility to bring a life into the world you would think that life is precious and at least try to be the best you can be. However, a lot of these babies are not produced out of love, but just sex and the baby is the result; almost like they are throw away kids because we can always produce more.

      Kids are defenseless and have it tough enough; throw abuse on top of it and you can see why they do crazy things.

      Unfortunately, what we think is zero-tolerance abuse; to some of them it is just something they have to deal with and they will remain silent.

      There are no easy answers, but hopefully you can reach one child at a time instead of trying to get lost in the maze of trying to fix the whole system.

      Good to see you sir, thanks for your thoughts.

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