The Intimate Life of American Foster Care

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cris Beam talks about her experience as a foster mother, and describes what it’s like for children growing up in the foster care system—the back-and-forth with agencies, the shuffling between private homes and group homes, the emotionally charged tug of prospective adoptive parents, the pull of biological parents, and aging out of the system. To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care draws on Beam’s experience and traces the firsthand stories of kids and parents.


Cris Beam

Comments [10]

maritza torres

I am currently trying to get my son back he is in foster care and my trial for termination of my parental rights is January 27 I have been fighting for a year and a half. I have don't everything they have asked of me. The only reason they give me for continuing with the trial is what might happen in the future. My son is 7 years old and asks me and his lawyer and case worker when he is going to come home. I have a 7 month old baby that they removed from my custody and reunited. My son doesn't understand why his sister gets to be home and he can't. They are doing more damage to my son and all he wants is to come home. I would appreciate any help you might be able to provide.

Dec. 10 2013 08:50 AM
Mel from SD

I am a foster parent and would never think of doing the negative things the previous persons talked of. We adopted 2 wonderful little boys and they still have contact with the birth family. we required it. It is important to maintain that connection. IT can be frustrating dealing with the system and being patient with the parents when sometimes all you want to do is yell at them and ask them why they are not doing everything under the sun to get their children back. We have had about 30 children in the last 3 years and most of them have gone back home or to other family members. This is what foster care is about reuniting the family and helping the parents to succeed in the future.
The children who are aging out because most older children want to. Some want a forever home. The parents can be more of a challenge than the children sometimes. Sometimes when the kids come they have been in multiple placements already and we have to care for them and let them know they are welcomed and safe until they leave and go home.

Sep. 01 2013 10:33 PM
jf from reality

This is part of the modern slave trade. The slavers are the cops, their law is drug law and the literally 10,000 laws in existence no one can possibly know. They are hunting humans for profit and promotion. They are destroying families, they are institutionalizing poor children and getting money for it.

Aug. 14 2013 10:21 AM
JF from ny

CPS Michigan Starved 10YO Disabled Boy to Death
CPS confiscates healthy girl from parents who smoked pot AND SHERRIL SMALL KILLS HER.

Aug. 14 2013 10:17 AM
jf from REALITY

CPS are committing crimes against humanity. Child trafficking, drugging children with 17 pharmaceuticals at a time as young as 3 years old. ripping families apart for a miracle cure all drug that repairs brain damage and kills cancer cells according to cnn. They are ripping screaming children away from their loving perfect parents only to put them in the hands of predators and opportunists. Look it up, the reports are all over youtube. IMAGINE YOU 2 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WAS TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU FOR SMOKING POT AND THE FOSTER PARENTS KILLED HER. SEE THE REPORT ON YOUTUBE. IMAGINE THEY TOOK YOUR CHILD AWAY FROM YOU FOR GETTING A SECOND MEDICAL OPINION, OR BEING POOR AND THE FOSTER "PARENT" STARVES HIM TO DEATH!

Aug. 14 2013 10:14 AM
Elyse Ted

As Aldervan pointed out, there is often a shortage when it comes to people who want to be foster parents, and even more so when talking about fostering older kids and teens. But foster care can be so beneficial for both the child and the foster parent. Learn more about what it takes to open your home and heart to a child at

Aug. 13 2013 04:18 PM
Richard Heyl de Ortiz from New Paltz

I work in this field and I am the father of a young man adopted from the foster care system. I appreciated the interview and Ms. Beam's clarity about the challenges of our foster care system and the work that needs to be done to better support children. One can always find criticism (as a few who have commented before me have), but I know that this author speaks a very resounding truth.

Aug. 13 2013 12:51 PM
Aldervan Daly from New York, NY

Ms. Beam's emphasis seems to be on ACS but in all actuality the agencies that have contracts with ACS have a good deal of leeway in how they handle every case.

I wonder about the outsized emphasis in New York on Teens. Yes, teens need families. But, if we do not have more families period then kids simply become teens. The reason the kids are in the most "basic" foster family is because that is all that is available in the system.

I was confused by her statement that ACS pushes the idea that adoption is the answer to all a child's problems. My experience and work has shown that adoption is the last thought for the majority agencies that have contracts with ACS.

Again, because we do not have enough people wanting to be foster parents. People who have the time and resources to care for these children like their own. We need to remove the children from the "system" from every "system" so that they have the skills resources to grow into strong and productive citizens.

Aldervan Daly

Aug. 13 2013 12:42 PM
Katherine Jackson from LES

I'm totally on board about what this author is saying -- but why, every time she gives a generic example, of a "kid" in the system, that kid is a "he." Yet her first specific example is of Dominique, a girl. It's as though the default setting is always a boy. How come?

Aug. 13 2013 12:20 PM
Ed from Larchmont

It could be noted that children with same-sex married parents are really adopted children or children in foster care.

Aug. 13 2013 08:13 AM

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