We laid there for a few minutes in silence until Kelly said, "Terri?" Like, ‘it’s time to pack my bags again’ (and then when he figured out, he was staying he was of course back to the ‘what’s the catch?’ face). There was a whole lot that I try not to remember, but the short end of the stick is my foster parents clearly had no intention of showing me any kind of love. It was a woman who took in kids who needed to go somewhere on short notice. Offers starting at 99¢/month. After the first few months in the foster home, I was not allowed to take any food to school. I remember crying under the door saying I was sorry. I then went to the other girls’ rooms, told them what happened, and we decided to leave and look after her. The staff used to drag me out of bed at 2 a.m., weigh me for my anorexia, and if I'd lost a pound, haul me down to the pool to make me swim six laps. She disappeared cause child protection services finally found out and yanked her out. A laptop (it was a school laptop) and so many clothes. Then I was allowed to go back to bed. I was embarrassed and ashamed, but the other kids didn't seem to be bothered by it. I was eventually convinced that going against my parents is the worst thing a child can do, so I lied for them. She was into anime and came to school cosplaying every once in a while. I was too scared to go to the bathroom, so I tried to pee out the window. They told me to pack a bag and that they were taking me to the county’s emergency foster care house. However, some have been able to find the courage to open up about the worst of what they endured. I had to go to other peoples’ houses and the schools to wash. How many kept their souls bottled up until they felt safe enough to express their grief? It was owned by the local Elks Lodge, and a big, booming man named Milton oversaw the large staff who supervised us for better or worse. Sometimes I'd hear my roommate cry, and one time I lay in silence, crying quietly with her. I put my head down and cried. I have a little brother who was a foster kid. I think people have had it worse than me, but I wanted to leave this comment as a reminder that there are good people out there as well. kfsn. It kept me sane in an insane time, breathing, living, hoping as I told myself I was different from "them," from all the other residents who did or did not have parents. So, I stayed with her, bandaged up her arms as best I could using my t-shirt, and just mended her for the rest of the night until I finally convinced her to come back to the home. I got called ugly and dumb. Granted, I was misbehaving at the time, but Jesus Christ, it took me years to get over that. The group home accommodated eight young people up to age 18. They all were so nice to us, we didn’t stay there long. We took a lot of field trips to movies, skating, and to the Elks Lodge for barbecues and pool parties, where some of the members would sing "You Are My Sunshine" and give us gifts and cards. My adoptive dad has an anecdote from when I was around five years old and came to live with him for the first time: I opened the fridge, and with wide eyes, I said in disbelief, “You have food in here?” So yeah, the whole foster care system is pretty flawed and screwed up. One day I got in a fight with my sister and my parents called the police on me. The fourth foster family I had made me pray every night, say grace, and go to Bible studies. In group therapy there was this 13-year-old boy and his mom turned into an alcoholic after his dad died and she was beating him and he spent most of his life in and out of there just to get away from her and CPS didn’t do anything about it. 1) To watch TV, I had to sit on the dining room floor and couldn’t sit with the family over in the living room and if I crossed the line from the linoleum to the carpet, I’d be locked in my room without dinner. On those days, hygiene is all of a sudden a priority, rehearsed speeches and quizzing are the most attention received to date, and the home is filled with the smell of a slow-cooking stew. The third and final foster care was the best one out there. I remember being 18 and crying my eyes out because I thought I could be arrested for not being able to pay my electric bill or just bills in general. 3) Another year for Christmas, the family didn’t want me there, so I was sent to a temporary house for the holidays. I didn’t get enough food because people would take it. There are some short-term programs that help teens by getting them out of their current lives and into a program that prepares them for change. All these years and I could never write about any of this, like a dark secret hidden away underneath a bunch of memories you'd rather forget. By ABC30. They told me she left, they couldn’t stop her, they couldn’t leave to find her all they could do was ring the police. I got the nickname Jesus. My aunt took me in and wanted to adopt me (she’s amazing). I was fostered from the ages of 3-12 by the most amazing couple. You also trust abusive/toxic people very easily. I wasn’t allowed to shower. I cried myself to sleep. This was all because when she told one kid to go to her car and grab something, apparently I didn’t get the memo that I wasn’t supposed to go and that’s the reason why all that stuff happened. I was small enough that no one messed with me really, but I missed my mom a lot and didn’t understand why I couldn’t go back home with her. Basically, if the foster parent wants a break, then the foster kid can go to another home for the weekend. The woman wasn’t always too nice to me though. My biological mom eventually surrendered custody when I was seven, after five years of legal battles, because she was pregnant with another child. I soon became the ringleader of the bullying, going from victim to victor in my adolescent mind. Those burns that ran through my back stayed there for years. I begged her to leave and go to the hospital. I will say it’s made me who I am today. There I was, with about a dozen other teen boys. I do remember thinking if I ever had to go through that again, I would just run away. Like, nobody knew where she went. It got to the point where it felt like my arm was going to fall off. His mother said she’ll never know what happened to her son, a 33-year-old man with developmental disabilities. I lived with them for the rest of my childhood, but I spent every Sunday at Momma’s. I needed all the attention so I started acting out on my anger and I ended up in a group home. The boys I was sleeping with every night scared me by telling me about ghosts and whatnot. When I was about six or seven, I shared a room with a baby. I’d have to write pages of “I won’t touch ***** again” until my hand was numb. She used to force us to do things we didn’t want to and tell us “If you don’t, I’ll have my grandpa shoot you”, at that age, you tend to believe anything is possible. We moved back to bio dad’s when I was 12. She was so kind and had this aura around her that felt like home. There was a piano in the main room of our cottage and a big living room where we had dorm meetings when everyone would go around the room and tell you what was wrong with you but never what was right. My grandparents weren’t bad and my foster home wasn’t bad but being pulled out of a loving home, the only home I knew, was terrible. I remember she also didn’t speak English well but told me she was my mom after two days of knowing her. Prior to that, my lunchbox was a bread bag. She never spoke about it again or even checked in to see if I had gotten access to food. We had posters all over our walls of John Schneider, Shawn Cassidy, different rock and TV stars, and we shared a small bathroom that had been made frilly for us girls. Priorities include appropriate access to medical, counseling, and behavioral services, proper nutrition and food preparation, grocery and personal … They looked after myself and my 2 sisters like we were their own. My bedroom was in a barn outside the house, despite the fact that there were two spare rooms in the house. She’d had hundreds of kids go through there so I wasn’t anything special or different, just another kid to her. I kind of forgot about her for a couple of years, and then I have one of those moments where a random thing hits you out of nowhere. Getting taken away, rightfully so, from abusive parents only to end up as a means of income for other abusive adults is hard. The first one was horrible, the girl living there was a few years older. Although kids shouldn’t be in group homes for more than 3-6 months, the average time for Michigan kids is 7 months, according to DHHS. The others I can't remember. I … The daughters also called us slaves “jokingly”. I was not part of the foster care system, but I live next to a foster home for minorities and mentally disabled kids, I can see everything happening in their backyard from my windows. If the group home provides counseling by licensed therapist as well as offering on-site school, then they may be very close to a therapeutic boarding school. Plus, they had 3 kids of their own. We were treated inferior in every way. There was a resident fruit bat in the main room of the barn. I kept all the letters, my sister, Cindy, wrote me. For example, they made my sister and me sit on the grass and watch their bratty kids jump on the new trampoline they bought (I assume with the money they got from us). I instantly knew Eve was in harm, so I ran to the staff that worked there to see if she was ok. The kitchen was where we prepared our own meals, each of us taking turns depending on the week. Michael Elkins is the administrator for an adult group home in Stockton, Calif. I was taking a nap in my room when one of the other foster kids took scalding hot water and poured it into my ear. I didn't believe them so I kept losing weight. I was not allowed to go to school. Kelly, Jackie (another resident) and I started hanging out together. There is often a set of fancy, clean clothes that are never to be touched unless a social worker visits. However, when I started in school my then teacher took me in. The biological family called us “the foster kids”. One time I threw up and I got thrown into a room for a full day and wasn’t allowed out. I no longer live there, but my parents still do. Hell, I’m 49, that stuff is not going away….ever. Former CEO of Genesis Group Homes asked the judge for help. Learn what it's like for kids in a group home as she describes her experiences. My dad and his wife are actually nice people and sometimes my little bro would have these sorts of suspicious looks, like ‘what’s the catch?’. That was the worst feeling ever. I couldn’t defend myself from that incident despite being older because if I even touched my foster parents’ “little princess” I’d be refused food and sleep. 5) I got lice at school and instead of the family spending money on lice remover, they used Lysol drain cleaner on my head. From hitting me to calling me names; all that fun stuff. Teachers, kids, anyone. "He went back to the group home. The dad didn’t really care for me, and I couldn’t believe that I would never see my parents again. I can’t form normal relationships, affection scares me, and I can’t remember the last time I was happy. There was also three bathrooms in the house, but I was only allowed to use the basement one because she was afraid I would pee on the seat. Over and over again. Group homes for struggling young men and women have a long and storied past. I almost failed my classes in high school because 10 teen girls in a three-bedroom house with two staff members and one van meant getting home from everybody’s appointments and grocery shopping and stuff at 8 p.m. Nobody was allowed to be in their rooms until bedtime, so no homework got done until 10 p.m. under my sheets with a flashlight. We couldn’t bond or find comfort in each other because they were always driving wedges between us. Youngest not too much older and used to threaten he would hurt us. The lady I moved in with got mad at me and threw me off her lap and onto the floor. Community agencies provide different residential accommodations that help people with a developmental disability. Each youth below experienced foster care and shared their #fosteryouthvoice in order to inspire, advocate, connect to other foster youth and to show that their voice can make a difference. Group homes should be a place where foster youth can grow up, feel like they belong and get help with their issues of being away from their families. He told me to pack everything up. Having to move around a lot I think I ended up on like 7 families. Another thing is that a lot of us are introverts due to being ostracized at school and having to live in overcrowded foster homes where we were just a paycheck for a terrible foster parent. I remember I was placed with this family who had a huge house and a bunch of extended family members living with them, like the mom’s grandma and grandpa. It was so red and inflamed that I had to sneak medicine when they were gone or asleep because I was never taken to a doctor. Get rid of rust by soaking the metal in vinegar and salt overnight. Momma was all I knew. It was Christmas Eve, and I tried my best to stay up to watch for Santa, but all I could smell was pee. Later that week, Cupcake Girl told me I was nasty and stank so bad no one could stand me. The place believed in group punishment. That was probably the worst I was treated during this whole period. Group homes were the worst when it came to abuse of all kinds and neglect. We never asked one another "Why are you here?" We turned our passions and anger inward, and some of us turned them outward in the form of acting out, being creative, or simply surviving. They kept telling me, "We're going to put you in the hospital if you keep losing weight, and they'll have to stick a tube down your throat to get you to eat, a feeding tube." The first time I saw Eve she didn’t speak but had that telltale haunted look most of the girls had. she asked, laughing. And l hope, dream, and contemplate about the home that doesn't exist, that is, until I build it. All in all, I don’t remember a ton from that two-month period, maybe because I don’t want to. I remember crying almost every day and being in trouble for it. I got beat up regularly, kids would ruin my school supplies, teachers would turn a blind eye, other parents wouldn’t even look at me, etc. Group homes cost more than families, too – a lot more Group placements cost 7 to 10 times more than placing a child with a family. From then on it was group home after group home and foster home after foster home. The mother and daughter had very high-school-mean-girl personalities. My parents were desperately trying to get custody and I was told to lie by both my parents, their relatives, my own sisters, my foster parents, and most of my case workers but I wanted out badly. Also, being unsure about everything having an unstable mom didn’t really help either. My biological mother was autistic (very high-functioning) but also suffered from extreme depression. Initially, group homes and residential treatment centers were committed to giving care and treatment for young adults with handicapping disabilities, such … We rode in a white van to all our outings, and the name of the home was inscribed on the side so that everywhere we went, people stared and whispered as we got out. The worst part was probably all the time I spent homeless or the mini Alcatraz I got sent to. None of my previous families were religious, so this really freaked me out. My whole childhood I remember just begging for meal vouchers (good for 5$ at McDonald’s or subway) or a warm bed to sleep in for just a night and being ignored. It was supposed to make the children feel pressured to behave but it didn't really work. She has got more guts than me. Radar. The school I worked at put on a special Christmas party just for our foster kids, privately and confidentially, at a counselor’s big house. I guess they felt a bit hopeless, but they allowed us to leave (there was some disciplinary action taken later against staff and girls for it). I can’t even remember why; I just remember being terrified of that crazy lady. Only staff had the key to the door. Becoming their foster child after being passed around the rest of my family and being rejected was really scarring for me. I think times may have changed since then (it’s been over a decade), but it deterred me from coming back to Korea to visit until recently. News Video I remember one home that my sister and I were placed in (didn’t last more than a week) where the family loved flaunting basic necessities and acts of fun in front of us. He told me I would be much happier in a white family than with a black family. It is really sad and horrifying. 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