When S.H. entered the foster care system at age twelve, she had already suffered years of sexual abuse by her stepfather. She was around seventeen and a young mother, when her county welfare agency placed her in a Promesa Behavioral Health group home. Upon arrival, the group home made S.H. sign a document promising that she wouldn’t engage in sexual activity while she lived there.
In her Dec. 17 ruling against Texas' foster care system, U.S. District Judge Janis Jack was scathing. For more than two decades, she wrote, the state has created a situation where "children have been shuttled throughout a system where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication, and instability are the norm."
I was one of those children. I was born in Dumas, deep in the heart of West Texas. I entered the foster care system shortly before my 10th birthday. My mother was an addict — meth being her drug of choice — and would routinely beat me when she was high.