In Lisa Ko’s novel The Leavers, Deming Guo is forced into the foster care system after his mother mysteriously leaves him. Deming is adopted by Peter and Kay whom decide to change his name to Daniel Wilkinson. Even though Daniel is saved from a longer stay in the foster care system he still endures common issues of an average child within the foster care system which makes a reader think of the quality of life for children after foster care.
Daniel dealt with many struggles in his life after the foster care system like his gambling addiction. Most of these struggles can be pointed back to mental health which studies presented by Springer Science & Business states, “High rates of mental health problems amongst children in home-based foster care have been reported by Tarren-Sweeney and Hazell found that 57% of a sample of 347 children in home-based care had mental health problems and Sawyer reported that 61% of 326 children in home-based care had mental health problems” (Springer 2). These rates are heavily inflated when compared to the children of the general public given normal circumstances. Because of statistics like this children in the foster care system struggle from making great decisions once out. The children that do not get adopted before becoming adults often report feeling “unwanted” by society as if they don’t belong.
In another study performed by the Journal of Child & Family Studies they found that emotional intelligence is a significant predictor of a foster child’s quality of life once they “aged out” of their respective foster system. The lower scores in this area tend to be vulnerable to issues like poor education success and homelessness. Through this study it is clear to see that the foster care system has a failure in ensuring a quality life for children given up by their parents often times leading to the foster care alumni with nothing but a dead end in life. In conclusion the foster care system in America sadly often leads innocent children like Daniel down a path filled with poor decisions.
Carbone Josephine A., Sawyer Michael G., Searle Amelia K., & Robinson Philip J. (2007). The Health-Related Quality of Life of Children and Adolescents in Home-Based Foster Care. Quality of Life Research, 16(7), 1157–1166. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/10.1007/s11136-007-9227-z
Kennedy, T. D., Flach, Y., Detullio, D., Millen, D. H., Englebert, N., & Edmonds, W. A. (2019). Exploring Emotional Intelligence and IQ as Predictors of Success of Foster Care Alumni. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 28(12), 3286–3295. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/10.1007/s10826-019-01503-8
Ko, Lisa. The Leavers. Chapel Hill, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2017.