The Lost Children
It took the death of Florida's Rilya Wilson in the Spring of 2002 for the issue of children "missing" from foster care to garner national attention. It first came to light that the state of Florida had managed to lose track of nothing less than 500 of its foster care children. Some time thereafter, the body of 17-year-old Marissa Karp was found in Collier County Florida. She had run away from her state-designated foster family in April. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office explained to the St. Petersburg Times that she had been murdered.
Since August of 2002, officials in the states of California, Tennessee, and Michigan have disclosed that hundreds of children are similarly "missing" from their foster care systems.
The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services reported in August that 740 foster children were missing from its system.
Shortly thereafter, Michigan foster care officials announced that 300 foster children were missing from their foster care system. Governor John Engler declared that finding these children would be a "top priority." As of November, 2002, the Family Independence Agency (as Michigan's child protection agency is known) had managed to locate only 48 of these missing children.
"Anytime a child is missing, that’s a big concern for us and we make all the efforts we can to try and locate them as quickly as possible," explained Carla Aaron, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Aaron reported in November of 2002 that nothing short of one out of every 20 foster children were missing from Tennessee's foster care system. Tennessee officials reported that 98 percent of these 496 "lost children" were adolescent runaways.
Here is the article "The Lost Children," much as it appeared on Lifting the Veil in 1997, with some minor subsequent edits having been made in 1998.
Read The Lost Children
Last updated December 07, 2002