Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Foster care, PTSD, and finding treatment

As detailed in the Casey Family study, in addition to the PTSD, 54.4% of adults formerly in foster care were found to be suffering from depression, social phobia, panic syndrome, and anxiety. Moreover, it was found that 80% of adults who had been placed in Foster Care as children, were doing poorly, with a quarter to one third becoming homeless or living below the poverty level.
The article this quote came from goes on to say that foster care is more harmful than abusive families.  I am not sure if I agree with that as blanket statement.  I don't know if they really have the data to back that up and I also think the word abuse is subjective.  One child might experience spanking while another child might experience severe beatings.  Both are considered abusive by some people but I feel one is far more damaging than the other.  But foster care IS damaging.  Foster care has damaged me.  Foster care has damaged all my siblings and every person I know who grew up in the system.  Foster care in itself is damaging but what is even worse for far too many children is the abuse they endured while in care.  What I experienced in foster care was equal to my mother's abuse at times and far worse than anything she could have ever done to me at other times.  Besides the abuse that happens in foster care there is often no one for a foster child to attach to.  Foster children don't bond or attach with their care takers as much as they would with a family member, even an abusive one.  Foster children grow up in a system that is unlike the rest of the world.  We grow up not knowing how to exist in the real world.  We grow up and don't know how to survive in the real world.  We don't know how to bond, relate, make relationships.  We don't know how to live in the real world.  We never really have the chance to grow up and we never really have a chance to be children.  Our development is stunted.  We get stuck somewhere between children and adults.  We never really get to be either.  We were never children and we will never fully be adults.  The system that was meant to save us from abuse damages us and then leaves us to figure out how to survive in this foreign land totally on our own.    

The foster care system has left me damaged and alone and without resources to help myself.  I tried to check into the Del Amo Trauma Center today but sadly my insurance won't cover it.  My insurance won't cover any trauma centers or trauma specific treatment because it's considered elective and exceptional.  Whatever that means.  I can't win.  I can't help myself.  I can't get what I need to feel better, to be able to live.  I can't live like this for very long.  I didn't go to work again today.  I emailed my supervisor and told her I think I need to take a leave because I thought I was going to go to the trauma treatment center after I called them last night for more information.  The guy on the phone said they absolutely take my insurance.  He was mistaken.  The regular inpatient hospital takes my insurance but the trauma center does not.  I really don't understand.  I am sure it costs a little bit more, but I think ultimately it would be cheaper for my insurance to send me to the trauma center in the long run.  The sad thing is, if I were on government health insurance like medicaid or Medi-cal I could go to the trauma center.  I don't know what to do.  There are no real trauma specialist under my insurance and the inpatient hospital I went to a couple of weeks ago was a joke.  It was just a holding facility where they held me captive and checked on me every 15 minutes.  How is that treatment?  How is that help?  I need HELP not indifferent babysitting.  I need help but I don't know how to get it.