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Aubrey Hammack

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Children at Risk
by Aubrey Hammack   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, May 17, 2004
Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2002

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This article deals with children at risk.


By Aubrey Hammack (First published in the Upson Home Journal November 24, 1992)

Children at Risk Recently, I cam across a book by Dr. Ken Magid and Carole A. McKelvey called “High Risk”. This book deals with detachment and bonding issues involving children. Mental Health Professionals are seeing an avalanche of these kinds of cases.

There are many factors that are contributing to this problem. For starters, we are told that 65 % of all mothers with children less than 18 work outside the home. This causes the support sytem of the family to be weakened because women now have to give more time and energy to an occupation; therefore, less time is left for the children. This means that many kids are latch-key kids left to raise themselves. Also, more day care centers along with schools and television is raising our children. The bonding process is being impeded and other agencies are playing more key roles in raising our children. In most cases they are ill equipped to do so.

Then parents of some of these children have already grown up with serious problems as a result of their own parents that were not able to give the proper nourishment to them. So they are so engrossed in their own lack of needs not being met, that they are poorly prepared to deal with their own children.

They might also have been victims of child abuse and alcohol and drug addiction. So then you have parents that are not in the least prepared to be parents. These same parents many times loose their children because of the inability to care for them in responsible ways. Foster care and adoption then has to be considered.

Many times the adopted child represents children that have spent time in several foster care home placements that have failed. These kids have not bonded to a mother and of course will be high-risk kids. Many of these children are in and out of therapy and I might add with not a lot of success.

Adoptions we are told have a better chance at working if the child is under the age of 7. Over the age of 11, a child seems to have a much more difficult time with these adjustments.Numerous agencies are involved with these children early on.

The lack of collaborative work between agencies causes many blunders in working with these kids. DFCS in larger cities particularly seem to do a poorer job in this area. Many times the children are shuffled in and out of numerous foster homes with little thought for what is best for the child. Lack of resources, money and training plus high caseloads make it extremely difficult for the welfare worker to succeed.To make this process work better, foster placement committees should be set up between the DFCS worker, teachers, mental health professionals and significant others to discuss what is in the best interest of the child.

Foster care parents could be very positive experiences for these children if handled the right way. But many times the right match is not made and as soon as a rough spot appears the child and or the foster parents ask to have the child removed. Another High Risk factor is divorce. Divorce especially at an early age can cause attachment problems. The child without mother and father feels a void. They can’t focus at school and the grades begin dropping and they begin to see themselves as bad. Mother and dad in these situations many times are to busy arguing among themselves to consider what is best for the children. The child again comes out the big loser.

We realize there will always be cases where in spite of all the positive interventions there is no positive role model for some of these children. Sadly some of these will become our criminals and welfare recipients of tomorrow. Many of these in their teenage years will become pregnant and have children of their own. The circle will be continued with them. Some of these will grow up just like their parents, full of anger and many will go through their lives not knowing why. What is the answer? Maybe for starters we all need a commitment from within that we care about all children and not are so quick to judge those unlike us. And try and look for ways that whatever our plight in life that, in some way not matter how big or small, that we try to do something to make a difference. We should remember that for the Grace of God we would be one of these children.

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Reviewed by Joe McCarthy
An interesting article.
Reviewed by darlene erskine (Reader)

Hi. My name is Darlene Erskine. I work at the Boys and Girls Club of Beaufort County in North Carolina , usa.... I hope you take a moment to read my request because we could use your help. I am trying to teach our kids about their culture and to have pride in their heritage. In rural North Carolina being a black child is not easy. In fact after researching for and writing a grant for a program for the kids I am very proud of what they accomplish in spite of 22% poverty rate and the loss of 4144 jobs in our county since NAFTA. 25% of the adults over the age of 25 have not graduated from high school in our county. 16% of that number is black. There are such extreme conditions after the hurricanes and after NAFTA that education is taking a back seat.
I came across your website while searching for educational materials for minority children.
I was hoping that you could send us a copy of your book, or promotional educational materials you may have . We are trying to promote education of heritage and possibility with these children. We would even be gratefulfor old promotional posters that display some of the prints or if other writers wish to donate any related materials , bookmarks, old marketing posters anything that would display for these children the message that it is okay to be black and there is hope in this world. I am so drawn by the obvious talent of the writers here i know that it would enilghten and encourage these children to see writers and artists that look like them, and also see that there is a world of color beyond North Carolina. Please email back and let me know if you could donate any old posters, bookmarks, cataolgs, misprinted prints, returned books, desk copies
etc to the kids thanks
Darlene Erskine
Boys and Girls Club of Beaufort County
P.O. Box 2331, 1089 Bridge St
Washington NC 27889
kidsarekool at yahoo dot com
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