Foreign Policy Blogs

A Family Overcomes Child Abuse and Fights to Stay Out of Foster Care

I'm sitting here doing my Sunday night ritual of watching "Extreme Home Makeover" so I can have my weekly reality check and have a good cry. I wanted to especially tune into night as the show was about a family from my home town, Kansas City, but also because it was about a family who's mission was to keep 5 children out of foster care. I am planning to write an in depth article about the issue of foster care soon, but tonight's episode reminds me I can't write about it too much.

The show was about the Jacobo family, a family of 6, who was suddenly turned into a family of 12. Jesus and Michelle Jacobo took in their 5 nieces and nephews, after their mother had the children taken away due to child abuse. The Jacobo's spent a great deal of time cutting through the red tape trying to get the children placed in their care, and get them out of the foster care system. They promised the children that they will all stay together and would never again be abused or separated. The mission of this family is to give nothing but love and security to these 5 children.

Everyday children are abused and neglected, but the saddest part of this crime is that few of them will see their suffering end in the new future. Every year we see a shocking number of child abuse cases reported, approximately 2 million.

60% of child victims experience neglect
20% are physically abused
10% are sexually abused
7% are emotionally maltreated
(The Family Resource Center)

There are more than a million children in the US Foster Care system, less than a quarter of which are available for adoption. The goal of the foster care system is to be temporary, a place for children to be safely cared for by temporary parents, until their own families are able to care for them. Unfortunately for many children the system is far from temporary, and foster care will be all they know until they turn 18.

But what tonight's episode reminded me of the most was, that we need to all pay better attention to the children around us. We need to look for the signs of abuse and listen to children, so that we can take them out of abusive homes. So please don't forget to listen to the children you know, and never, ever ignore the signs of abusereport any signs of child abuse you see or hear. Children are our precious future and they never deserve any form of abuse or neglect, so please watch out for them.

Please look forward to my coming post on Foster Care and Adoption.

Signs of child abuse – Child Welfare Information Gateway
How to Report Child Abuse (Includes State Phone Numbers)
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Foster Care Adoption in the United States: A State by State Analysis of Barriers and Promising Approaches
Adopt Us Kids
Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute
Love Our Children USA
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse

More about the J Family:
The Kansas City Channel
The Catholic Key
The Kansas City Channel – Link, footage and more



Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.

Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict