We here at Foster Friends know all too well that Collin County, despite being an affluent and wonderful place to live, indeed has a problem with child abuse. However, this is something that most folks are simply unaware of.
Case in point, at our latest fundraiser, I approached an unsuspecting visitor to share my excitement about our mission of helping Collin County’s abused and neglected children. He looked at me bewildered. Like many people, he hadn’t really considered that Collin County even has a child abuse problem.
Immersed in the outstanding school districts and beautiful neighborhoods of Collin County, it can be easy to forget that child abuse can happen close to home.
But data provided by Texas Child Protective Services — the state agency tasked with helping abused children find safe homes — tells a very different story.
What the Statistics Reveal
- Collin County CPS has already removed more than 130 abused and neglected children from their homes this year. This July alone, Collin County CPS removed 37 kids from dangerous homes.
- 49 abused and neglected Collin County kids were waiting to be adopted this August, meaning that they had been processed through the CPS system and their parents were deemed unable to provide a safe and stable home, so parental rights were terminated. These 49 children are hoping that someone will take them into their homes, permanently.
- In August, 262 child victims were living in substitute care, like foster homes or relatives’ homes, in Collin County.
- In August, almost 150 Collin County child victims were living outside the county, away from their friends and schools. This generally happens when CPS urgently needs to remove a child from his home, but is unable to locate an available foster home inside Collin County. Think about that for a second. That a child in Collin County would ever be abused in the first place is heartbreaking, but that so many of these innocent young victims are only able to find foster homes outside of Collin County is tragic.
What’s the Answer?
The last statistic above is easily the most troubling. 150 Collin County children –our neighbors, our children’s friends from school, that little girl who sat behind you in church or at the movies the other day– are in need of help but have to find foster families outside of Collin County. Surely, with as generous and neighborly as Collin County citizens are, this is little more than a reflection of the fact that so few people are aware that there even is a problem to do anything about.
Now you know. If you’re anything like Foster Friends, your next thought is, “What can I do about it?”
There are three things that you can do to improve the lives of abused and neglected children right now:
- Make a promise to yourself to tell three other people. Spreading the word about the problem is a good first step.
- Look into becoming a foster parent. It’s far simpler than it sounds. In a nutshell, by becoming a foster parent, you’re essentially agreeing to provide a temporary safe and loving home for a child in need while the state finds a permanent, safe solution.
- Make a contribution to one of Collin County’s many charitable organizations who endeavor to help foster children. Be sure to check out how Foster Friends uses our board of volunteers to enrich the lives of children in foster care.
The privacy of children in foster care is very closely guarded, so the fact that you don’t hear about CPS’s work in your neighborhood is no mistake. You won’t get a newsletter if a foster child starts attending your church or a letter from the teacher if CPS removes your child’s classmate from her mom. But the reality is that our county is not immune from these issues. One of the 37 children removed from their homes in July may very easily have started at your child’s school in August. Consider supporting Foster Friends to assist these children from our neighborhoods.