I never ever ever get on my soap box. Well, not often. Ok, that’s a lie.
Y’all know that probably the one thing I’m MOST passionate about is advocating for abused and neglected children in foster care. I’ve been very troubled this week about KCBD president Dan Jackson’s rallying cry against the Texas state foster care system in his editorial “Consider This” segment on Lubbock, TX News Channel 11. Jackson’s opinions are biased, his facts are false and poorly researched, and his investigative journalism is severely lacking. His editorial titled “CPS Needs a Serious Overhaul” has done nothing but created hate speech against CPS, foster families, and all those involved in the DFCS world.
He has blanketed this entire department and the people who work on the lowest level of it (the foster families) in a negative light and painted us all with the same brush as abusive foster families, which are RARE. To say that ALL of CPS needs an overhaul because of one highly publicized and horrific case is as irresponsible as saying the entire public education system needs an overhaul because of one bad teacher. Foster families and CPS caseworkers already fight an uphill battle against negative public opinion from people on the “outside” who genuinely misunderstand what we do, and Mr. Jackson’s editorial does not help. His public position gives him power, but I believe he’s using it irresponsibly and he’s hurting a lot of people.
So, I wrote Mr. Jackson today on behalf of myself, my family, our passion to help children in need, and all foster families everywhere who feel as we do. I’m simply asking him to clarify that not ALL foster families are abusive monsters. Not ALL caseworkers look the other way when they know there are children in need of help and care. Instead of encouraging the public to complain and spread hate about what they dislike about “the system,” perhaps he could encourage them to attend an information meeting about becoming a CASA volunteer. Or perhaps they could sit in on a PRIDE class to learn more about fostering. In light of this month being National Adoption Month, I’m particularly upset that he chose right now to take this negative platform against all of us.
In fostering, I have found my niche, my voice, and my ministry. I would deeply encourage my friends and family who care so deeply for these children to also please write Mr. Jackson and encourage him to shed a positive light on the people who dedicate their lives everyday to protecting and serving these children in need. Our caseworkers are amazing. They put themselves in dangerous neighborhoods and dangerous situations every single day, missing Cub Scouts and soccer games for their own children to rescue kids from crack houses, meth labs, and sexual abuse. Our entire extended family, friends, and church family have bent over backwards to support us in this ministry and love on our precious foster kids. To suggest we are all in need of reform and a “house cleaning” as he put it is frankly insulting to all people who support us in foster care.
This story could be presented in a much more constructive light. Please consider composing a one or two paragraph email to him asking him to call off his metaphorical dogs who are so freely attacking us on Facebook and the KCBD website. There’s a severe public misconception about how foster care works, and I believe he should present a realistic perspective of this system.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I hope you’ll pray and think about this. The email address for comments on his opinion segment is firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s see how many emails we can get to him!