The Whole View, Season 3 Ep 07: Mental Health & The Foster System w/ Matt McCarry

Welcome Matthew McCarry to the Whole View! This week, Stacy and Matt discuss their experiences as foster parents and examine the crisis of mental health in the foster system. They share statistics, bust common myths around fostering, and offer ways you can help.

Find Matt: 

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Key Takeaways

Introductions

  • Matthew McCarry is the long-time producer of the Whole View and RealEverything.com, as well as Stacy’s husband.
  • He and Stacy are both advocates for many communities, including the Foster System, and is a certified foster parent. He and Stacy are currently going through the process of adopting a child they met through the system.

The Foster System

  • Even before Covid, Stacy and Matt were shocked to learn that foster kids in their state are often placed in Juvenile detention centers because they have no place else to go. Having committed no crime at all! But of course this often puts those kids on a path they would otherwise have been able to avoid in a safe, stable environment at home.
  • No discussions of health and wellness exist if basic fundamental needs are not met. Without shelter, food, and safety, a child cannot possibly worry about their math homework or vegetable consumption.
  • Not only is this a tragic loss of potential, but our economy as a whole suffers a cost of $1 million per youth we fail because of lost production and the cost of social services. After a foster youth ages out, homelessness and unemployment become a huge issue. This is linked to increased risk of drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy and trafficking.
  • This statistic is one that keeps Stacy and Matt up at night. If 1% of foster kids run away, that’s 4k/year at risk of being trafficked. Additionally, children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, especially those connected to the child welfare system.

Topics discussed:

  • [The child’s] only crime was being a foster child in an era when a surging number of biological parents are falling into the grips of drug addiction and child welfare systems are struggling with a shortage of foster parents. In hasty attempts to address the problem, case workers and courts have been funneling children into crowded emergency shelters, hotels, out-of-state institutions and youth prisons — cold, isolating and often dangerous facilities not built to house innocent children for years [source].
  • In the U.S., 60 percent of domestic child trafficking victims have a history in the child welfare system.
  • Traffickers target youth in foster care because of their increased vulnerability due to a lack of family and emotional relationships and support.
  • Additionally, 74% of child trafficking cases involved sex trafficking, and the majority of those involved pimp-controlled prostitution.
  • The average age of child sex trafficking victims is 15, according to numbers of children reported missing [source].

Want More? Have Questions?

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Products & Sponsors

Sources

  1. Foster the family blog: Instagram
  2. https://realeverything.com/foster-care-awareness-fundraiser/

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Note: Stacy and her guests are not medical professionals. This podcast is for general educational purposes and NOT intended to diagnose, advise, or treat any physical or mental illness. We always recommend you consult a licensed service provider.

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