Overcoming the odds: Former foster care children try to make system better

As of November 2021, there were 1,078 foster children in out-of-home care in Tulare County.

The prognosis is not good for the majority of these foster kids. Many will end up dropping out of school, using drugs, or going to jail. Their early trauma makes it very difficult to find a successful future.

Happily, some children make it out of “the system” intact. Two of them will be featured in a panel discussion on foster care at 210 on Jan. 13. They are so successful that both now have jobs working with foster kids and making the system better.

Early trauma for Foster Children

Kim Arreola has a typical foster story. Her father was on drugs and alcohol. Her mother had mental illness. There were roaches in their home. Kim remembers going to a local liquor store to beg for change or food. She learned later that she had been sexually abused.

Her brothers accidentally burned down their house, so they moved into a cement building with a dirt floor and one mattress. In the middle of the night, the authorities took the five siblings away.

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