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    Posted February 24, 2014 by

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    America's Forgotten Children

    Americans have long forgotten about them. There’s a dark, secret world that exploits our youth and we let it exist right under our noses. It’s a world where American youth are left to defend for themselves out on the streets. On any given night there are approximately 1.3 million, MILLION, homeless youth living on our streets. These youth live unsupervised in abandoned buildings and on the streets with their friends or strangers. And the trend towards homeless youth is climbing due to the current recession. Once our youth is on the streets they are at a higher risk for sexual exploitation, mental disabilities, substance abuse, physical abuse, illness and death. 5,000 homeless youth die as a result of illness, assault or suicide per year.
    The American society has cast their noses down on these youth as troublemakers. Who wants to deal with a runaway child who might steal from you or hurt you? They must be the ones who caused their situation not their parents. Oh, their poor parents. But what if I told you that these children are only a symptom of a greater problem we face in America?
    According to the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, around 2,000 children go missing in our country on a daily basis. 2,000! Most of these missing children will never have an Amber Alert issued.
    Children go missing from their home for several reasons.
    1) They runaway from home. Children who face intolerable abuse will often runaway because any place other than their home is the best place to be. There are some families who continually abuse their children yet nothing is done to stop it. I have known some situations where the kids are being abused, a report is filed, the kid is removed for a week and then placed right back into the abusive home. What does that teach our children? You can’t trust authority figures because nothing will be done to help you. And we wonder why these street kids don’t trust authority? 75% of these youths are females. One in seven children between the ages of 10 and 18 will runaway from their home.
    2) They are kicked out of their home. About 20 - 40% of homeless youth in America identify themselves as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Their parents, because of their sexual orientation, threw these kids away. Children don’t have to identify themselves as LGBT in order to be thrown away, either. Some kids are discarded because families can’t afford to have children; the child is ill, disabled or pregnant.
    3) Abducted from their home. There are approximately 58,000 children a year abducted from their home and most of these children will never have an Amber Alert issued. Children are kidnapped for a wide variety of reasons including ransom and sexual exploitation. Sometimes someone they know such as an aunt, uncle or other relative for sexual and non-sexual relationships, abducts the child. Sometimes the non-custodial parent will kidnap the child and neither will be heard from again.
    4) Economical Problem. The youth may be forced to the streets with their family. More often than not a youth who has left for their streets with their family will be separated from them because of shelter restrictions or child welfare policies.
    5) Transition from foster care and other public systems. Youth who have been placed in the foster care system have a higher risk of becoming homeless at an earlier age. These homeless youth have a hard time finding emergency shelter because of shelter admission policies. If a youth stays in the foster system they still have to face the inevitable. The foster care system only provides care for youth until they “age out” of the system. Often times these youth do not have a place to do and will find themselves on the street.
    6) Human Trafficking. Human trafficking is alive and well in the United States. American children are found throughout the world as victims of human trafficking. Human traffickers take the victims for many reasons that include sexual tourism, pornography, body parts, slavery, and breeding. Preteens are forced into marriages in order to reproduce. Slavery includes work in sweatshops, field labor, and other servant positions.
    How can we be a nation who proclaims to love our children yet never DO anything to protect them? The youth on the street are not problems. They are victims of a corrupt society that has deliberately forgotten the undesirables.
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