On the other hand, another relative has custody of the three girls and uses their welfare money for her drug habit. They're not in school, they're living in a ganged-out, drug-infested neighborhood surrounded by prostitution. NOT GOOD. Those three little girls don't have a chance unless they get out of that neighborhood and into a home where they can be taken care of properly.
After some women have kids, it seems like they just give up on themselves and depend on the government to take care of them and their kids.
If welfare were taken away from those who are capable of working, and the kids were put in a foster home, group home or orphanage until the parent was able to parent, that might just give the parents the push they need to reunite with their families. If they choose to sit back and be lazy, at least their kids won't suffer with them.
William Johnson, 19, grew up in a variety of group homes and institutions.
What I learned from growing up in group homes is that the key to succeeding is having someone you trust -- a counselor who can help you come to terms with yourself, your parents, your past. The only problem is that once you find such a person, he or she generally quits and you feel abandoned. The job of youth counselor has a very high burnout rate.
When I was 12, the city of San Francisco took me away from my mother. I was staying in a makeshift room made of 2-by-4s and sheet rock next to the garage door. Our whole garage was made like that, with all the extra rooms in the house rented out to Chinese immigrants.
I slept on a couch surrounded by storage stuff, and had access BTC to a TV, phone and a tiny kitchen and bathroom which were filthy. My father had left my mother the house after he divorced her.
My first placement was in a group home with six kids and two or three counselors. The worst part was the rules and regulations. You were expected to get up early, make your bed, keep the room clean, go to school, do homework, keep set curfews and do assigned chores. Your weekly allowance depended on completing the chores and behaving properly. You got clothing allowances every month, and kids always wondered if they got their fair share or not.
One counselor, Tony, took a special interest in me. He'd take me to McDonald's for breakfast before school. He'd give me big hugs of encouragement. Several times he even took us boogie-boarding.
But at some point Tony disappeared, which was no surprise. Counselors always come and go, often taking the job just to have a roof over their heads.
And this is the downfall of these types of placements. As a kid you bond and open up to a counselor who ends up disappearing. You experience the same sense of loss as when you were taken from your home. As a result, you close up and harden, giving up any future attempt to know yourself by sharing your feelings.
My life began to stabilize again only when I was fortunate enough to have three counselors who really cared.
One was Darryl, a gay African-American, who would always be there when you needed anything. Michelle was a liberal, short-haired student, very supportive but at times strict and stern -- the qualities a woman needs in this line of work. Matt was a vegetarian hippie-type guy, whom I always felt comfortable talking to, knowing he could relate.
Thanks to these counselors, I was able to graduate from high school and overcome the difficulties of a broken home. But I believe I'm an exception to the rule.
G-Haw, 20, was raised in foster care and group homes from the age of 12.