This Bugs Me

I ran across an article written by someone with a Ph.D that says abused children do better with their abusive families than in foster care.

And of course, Google turns up a lot of related posts/articles wherein people say, “Don’t stick your nose into other families’ problems just so you can grab a kid! Shut up!”

There are two interpretations I’m taking so far, with varying degrees of horror:

  • That my teachers and high school counselor and even college counselors before 2000 or so did the right thing by either ignoring the situation or encouraging me to stay with my parents.
  • That foster care is so much more horrible than abusive situations where the biological/main parents might kill the child because foster care is that awful.

Yes, I ran into this after I had to cancel my appointment with my bartender due to oncall, and it was really unavoidable this time… and I had been doing better… and then….

I’m just going to accept that I like the Overherd because I do, and not try to Google for any more studies on why this may be the case, because I keep running into crap like this. I know that Ph.D really just means Piled Higher and Deeper in so many cases, and there are Ph.D folks who do not have their heads up their asses, but I’m tired.

(I’m not even mentioning people who are attempting to redefine PTSD to apply to a smaller number of veteran cases, presumably because there can’t possibly be that many traumatized veterans! I mean, just because we’ve got a bunch of people fighting a couple wars right now can’t possibly increase the number of cases or anything! /sarcasm)

6 thoughts on “This Bugs Me

  1. Haven’t run across that article, but I’d guess it’s a case of Citation Needed (them, not you). All the reports I’ve seen have said that foster care can be very bad, but is not as likely to actually kill the kid. And it isn’t always bad. A Ph.D. is no guarantee of truthfulness or lack of bias. This article just sounds too reminiscent of articles claiming that daycare is always bad, or that women having jobs is bad for their marriages.

  2. Well, I know that leaving me in an abusive family where my father cracked our heads together (or against the wall, whatever was handy) and whipped us with his belt and my alcoholic mother did nothing was WAY better for me than foster care. Without that experience, I probably never would have learned the joys of migraine headaches. /sarcasm

    I had a friend in high school who had lived in an orphanage (I guess they still had those back in the 60s and 70s). I envied her.

  3. Reminds me of the position that a battered woman should stay with her batterer, as the best of available options.

    It’s designed to hide the reality of abuse in our families and communities, to gloss over the level of harm done to the victims and its long-term effects, effects that don’t go away merely because the victim has been moved into a better situation.

    However, a lot of what is defined as ‘abuse’ currently would not have sparked comment when I was a child; perhaps this is what the writer is referring to?

  4. Wogglebug,

    I thought about it some more (possibly at the cost of sanity). The person did seem to have a very narrow definition of “better”, which in the article seemed to mean, “could form good attachments to other people.” I don’t think they counted physical injury, death, PTSD and other psychological effects, etc. Maybe it would have diluted their thesis.


    I totally would have rolled the foster care dice if I could have. I often wished I was an orphan, it was all too much pain to bear.


    Ah, long-term effects. As far as I could tell, they compiled statistics on abuse -> foster care, and abuse -> stay with abuser, but they didn’t have, ah, a couple more “normal” control groups. I don’t know if it’s necessary in this case but control groups seem a generally good idea in research.

    And the definition of “abuse” was not very rigid either, or even what range of abuse severity was going on.

    Bleagh. :-/

  5. y’know, sometimes whackadoodle ass-hats get PhD’s – doesn’t mean they’re not still whackadoodle ass-hats.

  6. hazeldazel,

    Yeah, I believe it.

    Hm. Can’t help but visualize various fictional characters (the first one coming to mind right now being Marla Mason) rearranging the article writer’s face. Ah well.

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