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Families struggling to keep their children out of foster care are stymied by two major problems: homelessness and low public assistance grants, according to two New York City studies.

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Homesick in America

Posted March 25, 2005

We've posted many stories from heartbroken parents who's children are lost in "the system". It's easy to discount them as misguided parents. Today we get a small glimpse into the issues "Alex" is dealing with. This letter was written to his mother, while he was "away" from home, living in the foster care system.

Alex Writes Home

Mom,

I hate this place and there is nothing anybody can do about it. Why don't they let Gloria take me?

Why am I even here? I don't belong in this crap shack. I am being consumed by the hate that infests the others who do deserve to be here.

I never did anything wrong, so why aren't I being taken? What do you think they are gonna do with me here? They told me to be good and I might be able to get out, but I know they only say that because they don't want to do the paperwork.

I hate the system and there is nothing I can do about it.

Even when I'm 18 I will still be their casualty of childhood war. Why can't I just be a homeless kid so I can live under my own authority? Why hasn't Sandi called me back yet? I have so many questions and there is nobody there to give me a direct answer.

I am on the verge of serious rampage. I might even run away if things keep going the way they are. Nothing makes me happy anymore. I have nothing to love and nothing to live for, yet the will to live still rests within me.

I can't say you've been the greatest mom, but you are now. You have shown me that you are the mom I thought I lost and I feel so good when people ask me who you are because now I can say the word "Mom". That word itself is enough to make me cry. I have wished my whole life to use that word.

Now I got my wish, but you are so far away and there is no way that b**** of a social worker will ever let me live with you, plus, I don't think you have the money for it either. I just don't know what to do with myself.

I will not wait 2 or 3 years to get out of here, my sanity is on the line as it is, and that is something I would like to preserve for as long as possible. These people think they can keep me here, but they have no idea of the trouble I am willing to get into in order to be heard. I just hope it doesn't come to such drastic extent.

Well, I wish I could talk to you more often and I wish I was a little closer, but that is the problem at hand and it is time for us to get serious about it. I need a new social worker and I need to talk (in person) with my lawyer. Gloria is working hard...I think. She should be approved by the 2nd week of April, with any luck.

My goal is to be out of here by the end of summer and this is not somethig I can do on my own so I need all the help you can give me. I am in good status with Miss Harriss and she might let me go even if Ben is not there to get me.

Gloria could drive you down here and pick me up... if it's okay with everyone. She will not be approved by then but if they see you they may assume that I have been with you.

Anyway... I have to e-mail Alysia now and tell her all the s*** that I don't think any of you should have to go through. I love you Mom.

Alex

Dear Alex,
Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Don't give up hope!

Annette M. Hall