How do we care for our kids?

By Carol / February 13, 2024 /

People talk often about how children are our future, and I expect we all like to think we do well by our children. But recent events make me believe we as a country must do better in caring for our kids. There are issues at the federal and state levels, and a new memoir shines the light on the foster care system.

At the federal level, programs like the refundable child tax credit helped slash child poverty in the U.S. almost in half, according to Nicholas Kristof in a New York Times opinion piece. Republican opposition caused the program to expire and child poverty has soared again.

In Iowa, where I live, we’re not doing better. Since 2021, Governor Reynolds has refused to claim $243 million in federal assistance to improve access to early childhood learning, for COVID testing in schools and summer food assistance, and for rental assistance for low-income families.Those Boys on the Hill book cover

The foster care system creates especially difficult problems as young people age out. Blogger and friend Shirley Hershey Showalter delved into this topic after reading a memoir, written by Elliot Glover. In Those Boys on the Hill, Glover details the experiences he and his two brothers had with the foster care system in Pennsylvania.

Showalter reports that of the thousands of young people who age out of the foster care system, 40% face homelessness within three years. Rates are also high for pregnancy, substance abuse, incarceration and premature death.

I urge you to go to Showalter’s blog where she shares more about the book as well as a Zoom interview with Glover. Also check out Glover’s website and blog.

We as a society need to do a better job caring for our kids.

* Those Boys on the Hill is available now in Kindle version, and will be available in paperback and hardcover on February 16, 2024.


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  1. Elfrieda Neufeld Schroeder on February 13, 2024 at 10:09 am

    Thanks, Carol, I read Shirley’s post before I read yours, and also listened to her interview with the author. Sounds like he beat the odds, so many fall through the cracks. We just had a horrific incident here in a small Manitoba town where a mother and four children were killed. It just breaks my heart when I think it could have been prevented by proper care and follow up.

    • Carol on February 13, 2024 at 12:53 pm

      I’m so sorry for that family, Elfrieda. So often it takes something horrible happening to get folks attention. But too often, the tragedy results in little or no action. There is so much work to do in offering the right support for children and families.

      I look forward to reading Glover’s memoir. When children do make it through, it’s often because the right people intervened with support at the right times. I understand that’s what happened for him and his brothers. What that says to me is that we all may be a solution. It doesn’t have to be left entirely to the ‘system.’

  2. Shirley Showalter on February 13, 2024 at 10:28 am

    Thank you, Carol, for shining a light on how we are allowing children to suffer even in the midst of plenty in this country. Surely we need to change our national priorities and also do all that we can on a personal level. It’s been a pleasure to be part of Elliott Glover’s journey to publication, and I highly recommend his book.

    • Carol on February 13, 2024 at 12:55 pm

      I’m glad that you brought Mr. Glover and his memoir to my attention, Shirley. Since the system is slow to change, I second your comment that we each need to be aware of what we can do personally. I’ll be reading his book!

  3. Jeanne Noonan on February 17, 2024 at 1:55 pm

    Another good book is Demon Copperhead. Author is Barbara Kingsolver. I might not have the first name right. Very sad.

    • Carol on February 18, 2024 at 8:45 am

      Kingsolver’s book is an excellent exploration of the topic of children in the system. Thanks for bringing it up. As with the Glover boys, Demon is saved by the intervention of caring individuals throughout his life.

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