Posted tagged ‘homeless’

Ejetta Harvey, Homeless, Unwed, Single Mother, Abused

September 25, 2008

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Margaret Smith Touches Jamillah’s Life

September 25, 2008

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It was one of my fears to be homeless

September 7, 2008

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.

UPDATE – Premature Birth, Mentally Ill Mother – 50 Foster Homes

July 11, 2008

STORIES FROM HOMELESS FORMER FOSTER CHILDREN:

AN UPDATE on Jonathan Norman Huges:

A little over a week after profiling Jonathan, there is an update. Jonathan is currently in the county jail for stabbing another teenager.

According to a According to the Child Welfare League of America, 27 percent of male children who age out of the foster care system end up in jail. Jonathan has quickly become another statistic.

Read the Aging Out of Foster Care interview on PBS at:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/youth/jan-june05/foster_care_5-19.html

Meet Johnathan Norman Hughes, born at 6 1/2 months to a mentally ill mother. DHS – Children’s Protective Services in Michigan removed him from his mother after his sister reported neglect. After living in more than fifty foster homes, he ran away from his last foster home at sixteen years old. He says, not once did the police, his case worker or foster parents come looking for him. “If she (foster parent) reported me, then she wouldn’t get the money no more. She didn’t report me. She got the money and I didn’t want to be there and that’s a fair trade. She got what she wanted and I got what I wanted. She wanted free money without the responsibility and I wanted to be the heck away from this place. We both got what we wanted.”

Teenagers Need Adoption Too – 25 to 30 Foster Homes

July 2, 2008

STORIES FROM CARE GIVERS OF HOMELESS FORMER FOSTER CHILDREN:

Meet Gwendolyn Ross – Mama Gwen – Career Development Specialist – Covenant House New Jersey – Crisis Center

The teenagers need to be adopted to.

“I have seen scars on their body. They’re just chopped, chopped.”

When Mama Gwen tells you stories about her students, you have no choice but to site and listen intently. Her emotions boil over. Tears well up in her eyes. She’s feels their pain and you can’t help but feel it yourself.

“When you hear young people tell you I’ve been in 25, 30 different foster homes Mama Gwen, nobody really cares about me and this is why I’m homeless today.

Because if they cared, even if my grandmother would have cared, or my auntie or uncle but no, they don’t care so they’re homeless. Once they become a teenager seeing like they want the little children. They won’t want a full grown teenager.. They feel like they’re already set in their ways,” Mama Gwen says as she breaks down in tears.

“They want to be adopted as well and they’re labeled. And that’s why you find them before they get here (Covenant House), they’re in the street, they’re sleeping at the train station, they’re sleeping under the train station. They’re sleeping wherever they possibly can because there is nobody, once they’re 18 and it’s ok, you’re case is closed, where do I go from there?

Once they turn 18 years old they don’t even want to hear the word DYFS, they don’t want to be bothered no more. They can only think about what they’ve been through with the state. They have an attitude, they’re angry, they’re hurt and when you say things to them, well DYFS can do this for you now, please Mama Gwen, I don’t wanna hear nothing about DYFS. That is the bottom line. They have to go through anger management. They have to go through all different types of skills to bring them back as a whole person. They’ve just been chopped, chopped. Literally. I have seen students shown me scars on their body.

And I’m thinking to myself, well if you’re with DYFS, why didn’t somebody do something about this? Because, Mama Gwen, (the students tell her) they don’t care and that’s the bottom line. There has to be a change.
If you can’t give them type of foundation, that type of love, don’t take it for the money because in the long run you’re hurting the children.” It’s takes only an instant for the phone to ring and Mama’s back on focus. “He didn’t show up for his interview? Well don’t worry, I’m back and he’s show up this time.” Mama looks up, “Gottta stay on top of these kids all the time.”

Never Met my Parents, Physically Abused, Step Father Raped Me

June 25, 2008

STORIES FROM HOMELESS FORMER FOSTER CHILDREN:

Meet James Robinson, 18 years in and out of foster care, never adopted.

“Never met my parent’s. Don’t know anything about them. I aged out. I never did get adopted. I’m not exactly sure 100% why. But I do know out of 1,972 different foster homes (he claims he lived in), 1764 of them I was physically abused. Out of that much, it was only four homes I was molested.”

“A case worker of mine in New York told me, my dad had never appeared in the hospital and my mother had just left and never returned. And I believe someone was trying to fight for custody for me and that’s my step father, James Robinson. What got me in trouble is my step father had raped me 37 hours in less than six hours.”

He says his step father dropped him and his half brother Lewis at DYFS in New Jersey.

“DYFS sucks man, that’s all I can say. DYFS really sucks.”

James clearly remember his past in a way that helps him to cope with his present. He admits to years of therapy and embellishes every aspect of his life. What is the truth? Probably no one really knows. The present truth is that he is a young homeless man with a lifetime history of foster care, physical and sexual abuse, abandonment and despair.

His future? Only he can change that. James currently lives at Covenant House New Jersey

Care Givers, Covenant House – Miss Janette “Trash Cans Are For Trash”

June 25, 2008

STORIES FROM CARE GIVERS OF HOMELESS FORMER FOSTER CHILDREN:

Meet Janette Scrozzo, Outreach Liaison, Covenant House New Jersey – Crisis Center

Covenant House New Jersey Outreach Liaison Janette Scrozzo

“We house 45 young people from the ages of 18-22. Our kids come through our door, a lot of them aged out DYFS kids, they come from sexually abused and physically abused homes situations. Many of our kids are gang affiliated.”

“They come to us because they have no place else to go so our doors are open 24/7.”

“We provide them with the immediacy, food, shelter, clothing.”

As Janette walks through the halls of Covenant House’s Crisis Center she greets the kids with the love of a mother giving them hugs and encouragement but also dispensing discipline, “No do-rags inside. You know the rules. Pull your pants up, respect yourself.” She turns to me, “We treat them with respect but they have to learn to respect themselves as well. Only then will others show them respect.”

I know they go back to doing what they want when I walk away but they have to learn. “Get off the garbage can. Garbage cans are for garbage. You’re not garbage. Get off the garbage can.”