San Francisco Chronicle Letter to Editor
“Dubious arrests, damaged lives” (May 21) exposes a heartbreaking reality in California’s foster care system today. It highlights the lack of understanding and appreciation of the trauma and adversity these children have suffered and the critical need for trauma-informed responses to their behaviors. No doubt the children in the story are trying to cope with years of unrecognized and untreated trauma.
Research clearly shows that when behavioral indicators of stress and trauma are recognized and treated early, the interventions and opportunities for healing are the most successful. This is why we must be relentless in clearly identifying the signs and seeking interventions.
Appropriate, trauma-informed responses are critical for helping foster children heal and preventing lifelong emotional and physical illness. Children have only one chance at childhood, so trauma-informed systems, including the juvenile-court system, are critical. I thank the authors for their in-depth reporting and dedication to shining a light on the injustice too many children in foster care face, and I can only hope the investigation serves as a much-needed spark for reform.
Margaret Coyne, San Francisco