When I read about the crisis in Texas foster care system, all I can think about is my beautiful younger sister Nannette. Nannette got out of foster care, but she didn't survive. She became a statistic, a victim of the consequences of what experts call adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs. Research has shown that ACEs accumulate over time, and the number of these experiences in childhood predicts morbidity and mortality in adulthood. It doesn't say it on her death certificate, but Nannette died from too many ACEs.
When I was 12 and she was 11, our mother needed treatment for alcohol addiction. But, in those days — as is true today — the foster care payment system gave priority to placing kids in foster care instead of providing treatment that their parents needed in order to care for the children themselves. What happened to Nannette and to me was unspeakable child abuse in the home of foster parents who were paid to take care of us. What we wanted was for our mother to get better and for her to take care of us. What we got from the foster care system was abuse from our foster father and neglect by the system.
[For more of this story, written by Cherylee Gillispie, go to http://www.dallasnews.com/opin...h-their-families.ece]