It was one of my fears to be homeless

STORIES FROM HOMELESS FORMER FOSTER CHILDREN:

Meet Taquaan Peace, turning 20 years old. 16+ years in foster care, group homes and hospitals, never adopted.

“I came into DYFS when I was 2 years old.  My mother, she got caught with robbery trying to take care of us. I’ve been in over 60 places; in foster homes, group homes, hospitals, it’s just been hard,” Taquaan says.

Taquaan is a solemn young man. He speaks softly and hangs his head low as he recounts his life story. “I remember some foster families to be real nice people and then I remember some of them to be evil, no other words to explain. There was some instances where it was my fault, things that I did wrong but I was young and I didn’t know better but I didn’t deserve to be beat and not fed.

I was physically abused. I was a young child being beat like a grown man. I was skinny and I was being beat like I was nothing.  I told my case worker every time and they eventually took me out of the homes but there were some instances where I wanted to stay in the home so I kinda took the abuse a little bit. Some times the DYFS worker’s didn’t believe me. They thought I was making it up myself, I was lying, I was inflicting the damage upon myself.   I would have bruises, I remember my nose was broken one time and basically marks all over my body,” Peace recount.

From home to home, hospital-to-hospital, group home to group home, more than 60 in all Peace remembers, it was always the same. “You have an incident, they talk to you, put you in a van, they find some garbage bags, they pack all your stuff up throw it in a couple of garbage bags, put it in a van, they bring you to a DYFS building office, call some people like a respite home or something like that. They put you in there for the weekend or a week then you find a new family and you go live with them.”

I asked him, so how do you feel to have all your belonging put into a garbage bag?

“That was the least of my worries really. My worries were, where am I going now, who are gonna be these people, are they going to treat me like the last?

I wish I was mature and I wish I was more intelligent back then because I would have been able to change things and make thing better by myself but I just didn’t know certain things and I was just a little kid so I really was helpless and I hate that I was helpless.

There was an instance I was being abused for two years straight. Abused by the same people. I was scared, I felt like I was gonna die. I sat down with DYFS, with every worker I could possible get and told them, I was scared, I was abused, look I’m being abused, look I have marks on my arm, look my tooth is broken, look, look, look. And they did nothing for me. They never took me out of that place. They sat there and let me get abused for two years straight and I resent them for that, I really do. That’s something I will never forget. They never listened to me, they never made a change. I tried everything in my power to tell them, look I’m being beat and I fell like I’m gonna die. I’m lost. Help me, please help me. Crying to them, everything.

Then they wonder why when I move on to my next place I’m so angry, I’m so violent. I was being beat, they weren’t doing anything, I was so young.”

A long silent and uneasy pause fills the air until I ask him to tell me about his mother.

“The last time I seen my mom was when I was five. It was Halloween night (she visited him at his foster home) and she just told me that she’ll be back because I wanted to go trick or treating and she said she’ll stay there. When I came back she was gone.

That’s my dream is to find my family. I know my mother is in Clinton State Prison, my father just got on parole. They say I have 26 relatives but I don’t know where any of them are.

Never in my life, it was actually one of my fears to be homeless like this is not a good feeling at all. It feels bad I feel like I’m at my lowest point. I feel angry, I feel lost, I feel helpless again it’s just that, I don’t know, I feel really bad. It’s not a good feeling at all.

I always try to help people that are less fortunate on me so for it to happen to me, it’s like, I really see what they’re going through and I’m really glad I helped them.

DYFS plays a role on me being homeless. Most of it is my fault but they play a part. Look at the places I’ve been to, look at what DYFS did for me. I can count it on my fingers what they’ve done for me my whole life, my whole eighteen years. “

Peace has been living at the Covenant House Crisis Center for the past few weeks. His future is uncertain.

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12 Comments on “It was one of my fears to be homeless”

  1. Jasmin Says:

    How do I help these children ABUSED by the system that is supposed to help them? My daughter is currently in foster care and I am fighting hard to get her out… but of course money is the root of all evil and they refuse to let her go.
    Please contact me. I would like to get involved and help anyway I can for these children…
    Jasmin

  2. A Says:

    Despite all your experiences, you sound like you remained good person. I really hope you can carry that into your life and stay like you are.

    Beating a child has no excuse and you were right to be angry. It was nothing you could have done different. I don’t know the system, but can’t you file complaints against the horrible people? Those people should have their licenses revoked.

    If there’s any way you could go to school, do that. Your way of thinking says you’d probably be good in school.

    I wish you the best.

  3. Jane Carey Says:

    Your story is so sad,, I am thinking of becoming a foster carer here in the UK we are awaiting a Social Worker… I could never treat a child the way that you have been treated, my one fear is what happens when a child leaves and the thought of them ending up in a bad place. You must look to your future you sound so intelligent and caring, keep telling your story study hard and make a difference and yeh if you ever get the chance take the bad so called carers to Court. You did nothing wrong..God Bless you and your future. Be a good parent x JC 39 years old England

  4. erin Says:

    hi taquuan peace, my name is erin sides. i have been through the same issues with families abusing and neglecting me. i feel and felt how you are feeling for 18yrs.. i have been in the system since my mother got a charge at age 4. i have been in and out of facilities and group homes, foster care. and none of the caseworkers helped. i want to get them for abuse and neglect. please contact me @ 574-302-4545. i want to talk to you reguarding what you been through. we cuold help others not go through it. no child or human being deserves to be put through any harms way. we could really help other foster children from being abused. i don’t ever want to see anyone go through the pain and suffering that i and other former foster children went through. so what i amsaying is we should do something. write every detail that we can remember and get these insolant people for hurting us. please contact me as soon as u read this entry

  5. Sorry about that Says:

    Am in tears hearing about this,i wonder why one would foster if love wasn`t in their hearts,i wish i could help but am laid off at the moment.It is only God that can heal you and console you t.Continue to be a responsible citizen,go to school and put God first and he will make you a somebody,i grew up rough and am a testmony that God can raise you from the dust and make you a king.Be encouraged.

  6. E Says:

    Stay who you are.. and probably you are the one that gets to cut the chain of pain. Learn to notice what people have good intentions for you. you could be a youth advocate at the social services building of your city… start getting busy doing volunteer work.

  7. Beverly Baldwin Says:

    Go to college. You have lived a night mare. You know the system. You can fix it so others don’t suffer as you have. How? Educate yourself. God gives each and everyone a mission in life. You need to pray and ask for God’s guidence in finding yours. He will help you just as he has in the past. You are strong and smart. Please go to college. You are in my prayers.
    Granny Bev


  8. GAO Seeking Information On Foster Children Receiving Psychotropic Drugs

    At the request of Congress, GAO is seeking information regarding cases in which state foster children have been prescribed psychotropic medication outside of federal regulations or accepted medical standards of practice. These may include very young foster children prescribed certain kinds of psychotropic drugs, children prescribed psychotropic drugs in dosages that exceed accepted standards, children prescribed psychotropic drugs for purposes other than a medically accepted indication, or children taking numerous psychotropic drugs concurrently. If you have information about state foster children being prescribed psychotropic medication outside of regulatory and/or medical guidance and are willing to provide details, please e-mail GAO at FosterKids@gao.gov.

  9. Teri Tyler Says:

    Taquuan Peace:
    God sometimes sends someone like an arrow to bring much needed change. You took the right path by making your story known to others. Once my little girl got lost on 34th st in NYC in Christmastime crowds. I looked at the wall of people and could not see my 5 year old in there. Something, probably God, said to me, scream her name with everything in you. I did. Suddenly, the people slowed, many stopped, the crowd parted and a path formed, and down that path, my confused daughter walked back to me.
    When you reach out in the darkness, you will find
    so many people who are lost just like you. You will find so much kindness that you did not know existed.
    I think also you will find through reaching out,people willing to help you change the horrible system which is still hurting children right now. Teri Tyler

  10. nat Says:

    He should sue the DYFS for ignoring the abuse he endured!
    Three girls did that in WA, I think, and they won!

    http://www.king5.com/news/local/Former-foster-children-awarded-record-payout-in-public-records-lawsuit-69261292.html

  11. Kina Says:

    God can use you in so many ways. Just remember through all life your never alone.

  12. douglas wood Says:

    I thought i had been in alot of foster homes, but being in sixty (woe) I to know what it was like getting beat for things i didn’t do.out of the fourteen i was in there was only one that treated me with any love at all. this gives me the right to speak out. We may hang our heads down when we talk, but as an aged out foster child we allways got each other. You hang in there


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