Michigan Prosecutors: Blaming Kids in Foster Care For Their Own Problems?

January 12, 2018 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Girls whispering behind kids back
Kids in foster care face social stigmas, and great difficulties when entering adulthood without support.

Michigan’s prosecutors are a mixed batch. Many of them are very hard working attorneys who do time-consuming and difficult work for a small paycheck. Some of them are truly dedicated to finding justice while making space for mercy and kindness in a somewhat unforgiving system. Like all people in all professions, you get the good and the bad. The helpful and the unhelpful. The compassionate and the heartless.

As defense attorneys we know that our jobs pit us against prosecutors. It’s a system constructed to have a clear line drawn between “us” and “them.” However, that doesn’t change the fact that there are many prosecutors we’ve worked with over the years who we know to be good, hard-working people doing the best they can to pursue justice. But every now and again you find a prosecutor who’s cold-heartedness is beyond shocking.

Former prosecutor Eric Scott made some very surprising statements!

A classic case of this was the commentary made about children in foster care by Eric Scott, a former Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Sanilac County. Scott wrote a response to a study that was being discussed on NPR about the struggles faced by kids who age out of foster care. He began with the following statement, “At the risk of sounding unsympathetic to the plight of foster kids everywhere, I thought I’d weigh in…” Which should have been a red flag for the opinion that was to follow.

We have a great many kids on our foster care caseload up here, where the caseworker has literally removed every roadblock to success, only to have the foster kid thumb their nose at the assistance, and wind up in jail, or worse. So my thought is that it isn’t always the state that is failing these kids. Sometimes it’s the kids themselves that the cause of their own woes.

Kids in foster care face greater challenges than most other children

Obviously, we aren’t blaming the state for every issue faced by foster children once they age out of the system. But that wasn’t what the report was about. Instead, it simply focused on how hard it is for any child to move out, find a job, get a home, and become an independent adult. Foster kids, who do it all without the support of a family, face even more struggles. As a result, a higher percentage of former foster kids end up homeless, jobless, incarcerated, or struggling with substance abuse issues.

These struggles, Scott believes, are apparently the fault of foster kids who had “every obstacle to success” removed by their case worker. Except the fact that they were abused or neglected so badly that the state took them away from their parents. And except the fact that they lived with strangers and struggled with a lack of family identity and belonging. And except the fact that many of them were lonely and frightened and traumatized. Oh, and except the fact that once they hit 18, they’re suddenly on their own again, with no lifeline to call if they need help.

Aging out of the foster system with no support of help is extremely hard!

Sadly, Scott believes these kids, with their many struggles and traumas, should be expected to handle the transition into adulthood alone with no problems. Which is completely unrealistic, as we certainly don’t expect that from kids who didn’t get torn from their parents and ground up in a system that strips them of family, identity, belonging and acceptance.

Foster care is hard on kids. Countless studies have proven over the years, that most children do better when left with their parents. So regardless of how well their caseworkers “remove all obstacles to success,” these are kids that are facing significant challenges as they move into independent adulthood. They should be met with compassion and kindness, not dismissal and intolerance. They should be helped in their time of need, not blamed for the hand that life has dealt them.

Keeping kids out of foster care to begin with is the best way to avoid this dilemma.

As experienced child abuse and neglect defense attorneys, we have helped countless families stay together in the face of CPS accusations and intolerant prosecutors. We fight to help parents keep their kids, and to keep families intact. We do not support the war on family, and cannot stand by as prosecutors blame struggling kids whose challenges are enormous. So if you or a loved one need help protecting your family, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. We are here to help!