they were kids that i once knew

**all examples have been combined, changed, and editted so as to accurately reflect real-life situations; but none of them represent any one person's story because HIPPA is real.**

today's theme song brought to you by the charts and faces of my first clinical setting of the new semester: pediatric psychiatric crisis ward.
grateful for the opportunity to be in this setting, not many students are. grateful for awesome nurses and a facility doing their best to help children that the rest of society views as a lost cause. glad i was able to interact with these children. there is a level of insight in observing & conversing that cannot be gained from just reading a chart. reading between the lines is easier when you are reading eyes.
but i've been thinking ever since, it can't be a coincidence that every. single. child. had an unstable or non-existent family background. the majority of these kids? not violent towards anybody but themselves. sometimes medications and therapy are not enough. there are some things we cannot fix. some probably cannot be prevented--but some seem like they could be. usually these kids are here for psychotic breaks and self harm brought on by years of severe abuse and/or neglect. 
things like: 39 different foster homes in 18 years. 5 years of sexual abuse from age 8+ from family--those who are supposed to be your protectors. 4 years of abuse in an orphanage, receiving the same from your adopted family. severe physical and emotional bullying--peers telling you they wish you would die, that you're trash, that you don't deserve to live. 
what if we got to the root of these things and stopped them? wouldn't that give them a greater chance for responding to medications/therapy in the future? the mind is both a wonderfully strong and incredibly fragile organ.
i'm not shocked by the stories. i'm not surprised at the behaviors. i know human nature swings from the most loving to the most hateful in every nation on earth. history tells us no society has yet advanced past some degree of evil and pain and ugliness.
but one thing never ceases to amaze me: nothing changes. NOTHING has advanced in our foster/adoption/broken family system. seriously? how is it that orphans in Eastern Europe and the children of my city have the same back stories? if we are supposedly so materially advanced. if our infrastructure is supposed to be stable. shouldn't we find a way to advance in the things that **really** matter? shouldn't hearts, minds, souls matter most? i know there is darkness in people the world over. but we have so much technology, so many resources. can't we spend more time investing in the next generation? 
we all know the system is broken. we all know the price is paid by the innocent. when are we going to change things? how do we rebuild this from the ground up? how do we protect the helpless? how do we invest in our society's greatest treasure, the next generation? the things we have in place are not sufficient. adding more foster homes and more DCEF workers, more social work advocates-- isn't going to help if we still have so many lost through the cracks. it's not the first time i've wondered these things. and i still don't have answers. but i guess it's a long game. and i'm working towards a position where my voice can become actions.

**this is an emotional rant. i'm passionate about it because i have seen the heartbreak and devastating long-term affects of the broken system, of abuse, of bullying. it hits close to home. & i'm still battling demons that are the ghosts of abuse myself. i could have been any of these kids, had any of my stressors been a tiny bit more. hit a millimeter closer to center. B U T.  even without my personal story. i'd still believe ALL kids deserve to be carefree. all kids deserve a childhood.**