"She kept beating me up. . ." / by richard ross

I think I’m from Laverne. I live in an apartment. I don't know where, just an apartment. I live with my mom, she goes to Citrus College, my brother who’s six and sister who’s eight. I don’t do drugs. I do a lot of sports. I like to read a lot. I read everything—realistic, fiction, every kind. My friends and me, we all go to the library a lot. We read and take naps. In two weeks I go back to court. Then I either go to my mom or foster care. I went to foster care the first time at age ten. There were two other foster kids there. After 11 months, I went back to court and they told me to go back to my mom. They kept on taking me from my mom because she kept on beating me up and the neighbors would report the beatings. But now my mom has started taking parenting classes at Citrus.

My friends and me, we all go to the library a lot. We read and take naps.


My social worker came and took me to a childcare center. I spent the whole day there. Then I went to the social worker’s office and I stayed with her until midnight while they called and tried to find a foster home for me. Finally V, the social worker, took me to a foster home in Simi Valley. My brother and sister went to one foster care home and I went to another. I’d like to go live with my dad, he lives somewhere in Florida. My dad left my mom. They had an argument when I was 8 and dad said he needed his own space. That was four years ago. I saw him once in foster care and then twice since I’ve been here. The last time was only yesterday. He works for a company in Florida. They don’t give him any breaks and he works a lot of over shifts and weekends.

-K.F., age 12


**Interviews with youth are recorded to the best of our ability. All personal histories and anecdotes are self-reported by the children. To protect confidentiality of the youth, identities have been obscured, initials have been changed, and identifying details have been removed. Interviews have not been edited for content.