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Foster Care is Unethical

August 21, 2012 permalink

Medical anthropologist Caroline Tait has studied the foster care system. Her finding that kids are moved dozens of times means that they will all eventually encounter an abusive foster home. She characterizes the foster care system as unethical. On another line of inquiry, she found a list of 50 recommendations submitted by the Saskatchewan Children's Advocate Office earlier this year to be nearly identical to recommendations submitted twenty years ago. Nothing ever really gets fixed.



Caroline Tait
University of Saskatchewan professor Caroline Tait speaking on the ethics of the foster care system on Aug. 21, 2012.
News Talk Radio/Ashley Will

Researcher: Sask. foster care system 'unethical'

University of Saskatchewan professor examines the ethics of foster care

It is assumed that when a child is placed in foster care, they are being taken away from harm and no longer at risk.

But a University of Saskatchewan researcher says kids experience abuse and neglect within the system because of the policies in place.

"I think we can all agree that a child who has moved ten, twenty, thirty times in care, that that's unethical," said associate professor Caroline Tait, a medical anthropologist who studies the role of ethics for children in foster care.

"When we look at what that does to a person's sense of self, it has a huge, enormous mental health impact," said Tait to an audience at the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations health conference in Saskatoon today.

Tait and her team of researchers have interviewed dozens of people who have been apprehended by social services and moved around. Their data shows that children are more likely to come in contact with an abusive foster parent when they are consistently uprooted.

And the trauma often extends into the classroom.

"We need to look at the stigma associated with being the child who is the foster care child who's coming in half way through the school year," she said.

While Tait does acknowledge there are positive changes happening, she said there are still a number of things that that are not being done well.

Her team combed through 50 years of child welfare reports and discovered that the recommendations submitted to the province by the Children's Advocate Office earlier this year are nearly identical to a list of changes requested twenty years ago.

"What we're trying to do is to follow the life of those recommendations."

If we invest within these reports and invest money in coming up with policy recommendations, we want to see what happens to them, Tait said.

Source: News Talk 980 CJME