Man hopes his story will help fix foster care system

Man hopes story will fix foster care system

Texas legislators received recommendations on Friday on how to fix the state's foster care system from special masters brought in by a federal court.

The group of experts gave 31 suggestions that the department of family and protective services will have to implement within a few months.

Tyrone Obaseki grew up in foster care and says the system failed him. Now, he's speaking out about what changes he thinks are needed. He posted a YouTube video to show people what his childhood was like in foster care. 

"While in the foster care system I experienced a lot of trauma," Obaseki said.

He said he endured the trauma while bouncing between group homes and foster families.

"I was sexually abused repeatedly," Obaseki said. "Not once, but numerous times. I don't think any child should grow up in an environment where they have men telling them to bend over."

He said it scarred him physically and emotionally.

"I had a speaking impediment," Obaseki said. "I stuttered really bad so they thought I was retarded so they tried to get away with everything."

He said those words hurt tremendously and were false.

"If a child is not mentally ill but the state or the foster homes keep pushing it in their heads that there's something wrong with them, what's going to happen when one of these children who are severely abused believe that identity?" Obaskei said.

So what will it take to fix the foster care system?

KVUE asked him about DFPS Commissioner Hank Whitman's proposal to overhaul CPS with $53.3 million. His plan would the money to hire more than 500 caseworkers and investigators and address the high turnover rate of CPS workers. 

"It's not a dollar that's going to change this system, it's your presence," Obaseki said.   

He said lawmakers need to spend more time with those in the foster care system.

"Once people in positions of authority see what's going on it will make them, it will compel them to do something today," Obaseki said. "More community involvement is also needed."

He said it all comes down to validating identities.

For him, it was one foster family in particular.

"They kept on pressing me," Obaseki said."They kept on validating me"

He said they told him what happened in his past does not define his future.

And now he's using his experience to empower others.

Obaseki has written a memoir about his life called "18 Years A Slave: Ward of The State" and has had Hollywood interest in making a movie about it.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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