Isn’t the purpose of of removing a child from a supposedly bad home and “protecting” them in Foster “Care” that they have a far better outcome in life?

When the State steps in a decides that a parent cant raise their child, shouldn’t there be an absolute expectation that the child have a far better outcome in life? So why is it worse in 80% of cases? In the most extensive scientific study of Outcomes for “Cared For” children by Professor Joseph Doyle at MIT, 80% were found to have poor outcomes. The study encompassed 12,000 subjects over a 15 year period. It also compared “birth children” of Foster Parents, to “cared for” children in terms of how successful they were after “Care”. The study is available in pdf format by clicking this link.

Surprisingly, this study is not taught in schools of Social Work. The study was done in the USA and some people try to claim that what happens in other countries is not representative of their country. When you actually compare countries you find only minor differences, the general consensus should be that foster care harms children everywhere. While methodologies used to collect data may differ from on place to the next, the bottom line is the same, Foster “Care” is dangerous for children everywhere. Which begs my original question; shouldn’t “care” be better than leaving children with supposedly “bad” parents? At the thousands it costs to keep a child in some of these facilities, shouldn’t these children be graduating from Oxford or Harvard University?

It’s not because of the “Foster Care Industrial Complex”, or Foster Carers that these children have poor Life Outcomes, it’s because they were removed from their parents, and often siblings. In removing these children we create a wound so deep that these is no way of measuring it. Children belong in families. If you ask the vast majority of children in “Care” what they want, they want to go home. Science tells us that children raised with their mother and father always do better in terms of Life Outcomes. Remove the father and the child will probably do worse. Adopt the child and they will have higher risk of suicide, even if they have 2 loving parents who “chose” them and love them. Many children who were adopted or grew up in “Care” have told me they were grateful for having someone look after them and raise them, but they don’t understand why they were abandoned or given-up. They don’t understand why their parents didn’t come and fetch them, not understanding that the parents had no choice in the matter.

All the Best Intentions don’t translate into Best Outcomes, of which the benefit for the child can be measured and demonstrated. 70 or so years of Sociology and Psychology cant compete with Nature. Nature designed the family to protect children and the vast majority of children in the world today are protected by loving parents.

Even the American College of Pediatricians have studied Foster “Care” and came to a disastrous conclusion; children who were “cared-for” are far more likely to suffer poor health outcomes in life. Not really surprising when so many children in “care” are given psychotropic drugs, an estimated 30% in the USA, with no figures being kept in other countries. No doubt about it, foster “care” sucks.


I have not seen many studies on the Suicide Rate of “cared-for” children, but one from Ireland left me stunned.


Again, I ask the question; “Isn’t Care supposed to be better for children?”

Why would anyone take a child from a supposedly bad situation and place them at far higher risk? One lie I have heard repeatedly is that these children were damaged before they were removed, I have never seen any evidence to support this. A Foster “Carer” told me one time that she hated the “Birth Parents” of a child and wished the child didn’t have to see “her” child. She said it breaks her heart that she has to take the child weekly to see these “monsters”. The child is extremely upset and doesn’t want to leave “access”. So I asked her what crime the parents were guilty of? She didn’t know. I asked her had these “monsters” been jailed for child abuse or neglect? No, the parents have seen their child every week since the “apprehension”. Obviously everything she believed about the parents had come from the social workers, and in truth, she knew nothing about why “her” child was removed.

I could write a book here on the topic but I have already covered all these issues. We want to believe that children are being protected, but we cant seem or don’t want to believe the truth. Foster “care” sucks and causes far more harm despite our best efforts and intentions. Having studied this topic exhaustively for years, I was overjoyed when a brave Social Worker gave a Ted Talk and confirmed every conclusion I had come to. I would encourage you to watch this video as many times as you need to so you can understand. Molly McGrath Tierney is Director of Children’s Services in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. What she says here applies to children in “Care” everywhere. No more excuses, the system is broken.