Professor Daniel Pollack and colleagues write recently of a challenging issue facing today's children, families, schools, courts, law enforcement, and communities. The topic is whether multiple foster care placements during childhood should be considered as a mitigating circumstance during sentencing those convicted of crime. The authors posit that considering foster care placement as a mitigating factor "is compelling, particularly if the placements took place during a contracted period of time and during pre-adolescence or adolescence."
It is not news that foster care placements (many children placed in foster care remain in care for the duration of their minority. It should come as no surprise that many of these children, if not most, are ill-equipped to handle life outside of "the system" when they "age out" at the age of majority--18 in most states, 16 in others. When one considers the emotional, social and other deprivations children in care face, it is not surprising that these young adults develop criminal histories.
The authors clarify their goal: