A Critical Look At The Foster Care System THE GROUP HOMES OVERVIEW Children entering the shadowy world of foster care are often assigned labels arbitrarily and on a bed-available basis. They may end up spending some time in conventional foster homes, only to find themselves shuffled through group homes, residential treatment facilities, mental hospitals and prisons. Scant attention is given to the needs of these children, and the conditions they are forced to endure are often far worse than those endured by prisoners in some third world nations. THE LABELING OF CHILDREN Kenneth Wooden, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Children's Justice, explained to a Congressional Subcommittee that there is little difference in the background and characteristics of children in care regardless of whether they have been labeled "dependent," "neglected," "status offender," "CHINS" (Children in Need of Supervision), or "emotionally disturbed." It was Wooden's impression that a "shell game" was being played with the labeling process, with dependent children, relabeled as "disturbed" or "hard to place" being shuttled off to private, often profit-making institutions in ever greater numbers.
As a result: Instead of orphanages