Foster care and homelessness: The reality of Lawell “Elf” Brooks

In the state of Florida last year, an average of 34,934 children per month were in DCF’s custody. According to the Urban Institute, nationwide over 800,000 children are in state custody on any given day. A state provides Out of Home Care for a minor when a parent or parents are deemed to be incapable of providing adequate social, emotional or physical care for their children. Unfortunately, the care children receive in state custody is not always enough.

According to a report by the Urban Institute, “Foster children have more health problems, especially mental health problems, than the general population or the population of poor children … As many as 80 percent of youth involved with child welfare agencies have emotional or behavioral disorders, developmental delays, or other issues requiring mental health intervention,” compared to the general population, where the number hovers around 20 percent.