PLEDGE NOW
America’s Foster Care System

We get inside America’s foster care system to see what it’s doing and not doing, for and to the children there.

In her new book, “To The End of June,” author Cris Beam casts a searing eye on the labyrinth that is the American foster care system.  Her exploration was a daunting task, but Beam had a personal investment – she’s a foster mother and she wanted to make sense of the world she was part of.

It’s a world that manages about 400,000 children a year. That costs nearly 20 billion dollars annually.  “And yet nobody,” she writes, “not the kids, not the foster or biological parents, not the social workers, the administrators, the politicians, the policy experts – thinks the system is working.”

This hour, On Point: confronting America’s foster care system.

Guest

Cris Beam, author of “To The End of June: An Intimate Life of American Foster Care.” She teaches creative writing at Columbia University, New York University, and Bayview Correctional Facility. (@cbnewyork)

From Tom’s Reading List

Salon: ‘To the End of June': Stories from foster care — “‘To the End of June’ is part history and overview, part in-depth portraits of foster children and parents. Beam, although never a foster child herself, left her emotionally disturbed mother’s house at the age of 14 and never saw her mom again. Then, at 29, she became a foster parent, taking in a former student, a transgender teenager she now considers her daughter.”

The New York Times: Away From Home – “Among the 400,000 foster children in America, teenagers are the hardest to place with families. Nearly half live in institutions or group homes, and their prospects don’t improve once they “age out” of the system. Nearly one-third of foster boys will go to jail before they reach age 19; foster girls are more than twice as likely to get pregnant as nonfostered teenagers; and many foster kids eventually end up homeless. On the whole, foster children are twice as likely as war veterans to develop post-­traumatic stress disorder.”

Los Angeles Times: L.A. County foster care shortage reaches crisis level — “Los Angeles County’s shortage of foster care beds has reached a crisis point, with state officials threatening to impose fines because too many children are languishing in sometimes chaotic holding rooms during traumatic separations from their families.”

Excerpt: ‘To The End of June’ by Cris Beam

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 1, 2015
Denali is seen from a window on Air Force One during descent into Anchorage, Alaska on Aug. 31, 2015. (Pete Souza/White House)

The scramble for the Arctic. President Obama’s in Alaska. We’ll look at the stakes.

Sep 1, 2015
Oliver Sacks (Elena Seibert)

Oliver Sacks, celebrated neurologist and best-selling author, has died at 82. We’ll listen back to our remarkable 2013 interview with Oliver Sacks on life and aging.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 31, 2015
While the jury still deliberates, former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie, left, leaves the Merrimack Superior Court at the end of day with security in tow Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Concord, N.H.  Labrie was convicted by a jury of several misdemeanors, but ruled not guilty in the most serious felony sexual assault charges. (AP)

A verdict in the New Hampshire prep school rape trial. And calls for changing sexual assault laws.

 
Aug 31, 2015
A television photographer takes video of a memorial for the two slain journalist in front of the studios of WDBJ-TV7 in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward from the station were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday.  (AP)

Lessons from the Roanoke TV shootings. We’ll look at the way forward with the New York Times’ Nick Kristof and other top thinkers.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments
 
Do You Recognize Amazon’s Workplace Culture? Tell Us!
Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015

Do you recognize the workplace conditions described in a recent New York Times piece on Amazon? We want to hear from you!

More »
5 Comments