Foreclosures Are Hurting The Children

Children are an overlooked victim in the mortgage meltdown. Experts are growing concerned about the negative social, emotional and academic impact foreclosure turmoil is having on kids. Everything from forced relocation, moving to a new school, seeing your parents at each other’s throats over money, to coming home and finding all your belongs in the trash takes its toll, and there isn’t currently a public policy response to address the issues.

Foreclosure takes toll on increasing number of children [Washington Post]


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  1. Hungry Dog says:

    Won’t somebody please think of the children!!

  2. LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

    Insert obligatory “won’t someone please think of the children?!” comment here.

  3. ScandalMgr says:

    Here i thought our kids future was already mortgaged away and foreclosed upon

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    From the article:
    The problem might be the division of labor in government, said Amy Ellen Schwartz, director of New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy.

    “The housing thing is a housing department issue. The education thing is an education department issue,” she said. “It’s become an ‘It’s not my turf, it’s not your turf’ kind of issue, and it’s fallen through the cracks a bit.”

    I don’t really see what any of these department can or should do. If the goal is to maintain normalcy for a child and prevent emotional distress, then I don’t really see what accomplishes that short of doing whatever it takes to keep the family in the home. That would require pushing the banks and in most cases financially supporting the family.

    When I think of how to “think of the children” and create a policy for this, I’m reminded of the snippit from Pirates of the Carribbean, which was “To what point and purpose?”

    • ldub says:

      To the point and purpose of providing resources and supports for both parents and children. Training could be provided, for example, to school counselors, pediatricians, and other mental health, educational pros re: the emotional fallout for kids in these situations and how to recognize that a child is being negatively impacted.

      • not-gonna-tell-ya says:

        While we are at it why don’t we give them all #1st place foreclosure trophies and tell them they are awesome… While it may sound horrible, but it’s life and you have to live it. preventing or trying to prevent woes for society affects them worse in the end. People have to fall down in order to learn to pick themselves back up.

        • ldub says:

          No one is talking about preventing woes – that’s a ridiculous straw man. What we are talking about is identifying children/families who are perhaps emotionally/psychologically overwhelmed due to the financial crisis to cope adequately and doing some interventions to help them mitigate the worst of the damage. Think about it this way – there’s a train wreck and some passengers come out unscathed, some with minor injuries and some gravely hurt. Would you argue that the gravely hurt just need to suck it up and shouldn’t get “extra” medical attention? Because hey – “that’s life”?

          • not-gonna-tell-ya says:

            Oh, not at all, but a grave physical injury compares not to having to move to a new school or losing your home. What you are proposing is more nanny state. People need to have a life plan. Sure it doesn’t always work out, and in my case it has and hasn’t, but I don’t put my hand out to the government everytime I’ve felt bad for myself. I guess what I’m saying is that this country needs to get their balls out of the jar in the kitchen and start using them. Man up and take care of yourself and your family because the government has proven time and again that they are fairly incapable of doing it for you.

  5. dolemite says:

    You know what children have had to worry about over the past 100 years? 25%+ unemployment, whether Japan/Germany was going to bomb them while they were asleep, whether nukes were going to be launched by Russia…well you get the point.

    In the history of challenges facing children, the current recession/mortgage “crisis” is somewhat minor.

  6. mythago says:

    I have this mental picture of a slow day at Consumerist headquarters.

    “The commenters are actually being reasonable.”

    “Huh. Well, post a story that has kids in it or something, that’ll take care of it.”

  7. SonarTech52 says:

    Yeah it can be tough, but hey.. that’s life.

    It comes down to the family; if you have a good close family it doesn’t matter where you are, you will pull through it and come out fine.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      To put it more generally, you just need a positive aspect of your life you can rely on and use as an emotional crutch. Children are especially resilient at handling difficulties. But they still need positive reinforcement and positive examples to work from.

    • ghostfire says:

      It’s a good thing we all choose to be born into good, supportive families.

      • yusefyk says:

        Actually, you can’t choose what family you are born into.

      • SonarTech52 says:

        So what do you suggest? If a family doesnt talk and support each other, there should be some type of government oversight to take care of these kids?

        I grew up with my mom and 2 sisters for most of my childhood. We moved just about every 2-3 years, we have even been homeless 2 times.Then my mom met a guy and later they got married. He joined the Army, and I still moved every 2-3 years. I dont know how many different schools I’ve been to, or how many friends I’ve moved away from.

        My family could be a little disfunctional, we grew up pretty poor, and mom could be pretty strict at times, but we got through it. We werent a very mushy family, but we did talk about the stuff we were going through and always had a positive outlook.

        Throughout all of the moving our grades didnt suffer, one of my sisters and I were able to keep high grades and honor roll most of the time. We didnt get into alot of trouble, and everything turned out fine for us.

        It’s comes down to how the parents deal with the situation, and how you deal with what life has dealt you.

  8. RxDude says:

    “Life sucks – get a (*&

    – Denis Leary

  9. MaliBoo Radley says:

    I dunno. Aren’t kids fairly resilient? Isn’t this really down to how the parents react to a bad situation? Surely the kids will follow a good example, if parents are providing one. Frankly, it’s amazing the shit that people can’t get through with a positive attitude.

    People make it through war, disease, poverty, rape, incest, and beatings. Losing your house is hardly the worst thing that can happen to you.

    • says:

      I think the problem is two fold.

      We have children that now have to deal with a way of life that hasn’t been seen in two or three generations.

      Worse, neither have their parents. We have, by and large, three generations who are completely clueless to the realities of the world, how they will deal with it (as a whole) will determine how bad it gets in the end.

      • MaliBoo Radley says:

        That’s an incredibly good point. Post-Boomer kids have never really seen suffering and sacrifice on a national level. That’s a tremendous problem. Leads to a level of personal selfishness that is mind boggling.

        • frank64 says:

          Bad things in life end up leading to reasons for success. If the alternative is a life of plenty, it will end up better for some children to go through it.

          As a child I went through two home foreclosures and a broken home. I am not saying it was a good thing, but it happened and I survived. I never blame society for these types of problems, in my case my father was a drunk who couldn’t keep a job.

        • Snowblind says:

          Not true!

          We had to survive disco.

          Seriously, I cannot say I remember my childhood being particularly difficult, yet I know from my mother that it was. It was as life was, I just dealt with it.

          Yes, we ate at Grandma’s house a lot because Mom could not afford to feed us. No, we did not have a lot of toy’s (if any) at Christmas.

          So what? Learning to survive, and doing so cheerfully, is important to learn.

  10. Buckus says:

    Life happens. The sooner children find out, the sooner they’ll be prepared.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Exactly. This is a part of life and imo, they need to go through rough times to grow up and learn. Hell, I say put back to work and make them earn a living. lol. Not like in the early 20th Century and smoking cig’s but hey a little hard work never hurt anyone. They take these hard-life lessons and hopefully learn and use these values for their own lives and marriages one day. (gee, I sound like Dr Phil – sorry).

  11. NydiaGeben says:

    Please, the children will be fine. They are very adaptable to most situations. Give them more credit (not credit as in debt). for being fine. LOL.

  12. Limewater says:

    The biggest concern here is whether these parents who have gone for foreclosure are bringing their kids to restaurants with them.

  13. Commenter24 says:

    Why does there need to be a public policy response to everything? Just because something “bad” is happening doesn’t mean the government needs to do something about it. Of course, without the need to always formulate a “public policy response” we wouldn’t need to form committees and commission studies and make government bigger and bigger and create more jobs that will then need to be justified by more public policy responses to every little thing.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Besides, if you’re going to do something, go after the root cause, not the symptoms.

      Reform the mortgage system, not its effects.

  14. TasteyCat says:

    They need to pay their bills.

    • chaesar says:

      ah sorry, just ran out of troll food

    • runswithscissors says:

      You forgot to add that you have “no sympathy at all” and tell us how large your own savings account is, in that it would cover any and all financial hardships such as prolonged serious illness, lawsuits, etc.

  15. Torchwood says:

    If I hear about “What about the children?” yet again, I’m going to puke. “For the children” has been used as a pass phrase to push through so many things that it rings very hollow with me. What about me, the taxpayer?

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Aww. Aren’t you just a sweetheart?

    • Commenter24 says:

      You, the taxpayer, need to get back to work. The gubment needs you to make money so you can pay your taxes. If you don’t pay your taxes pet projects, bloated government agencies and the military can’t be funded. Basically, if you don’t stop bitching about your taxes and go to work you’re a bad ‘merican; if that’s the case the Terrorists have clearly won.

      • Torchwood says:

        I owe, I owe, so off to work I go. How come I get the feeling that I could spend money more responsibly than the government? I don’t mind paying money for certain things like good roads, police protection, firefighters, a good school system, and such. It’s just that when I hear “for the children”, it’s code for me for “another bloated bureaucratic program that’s not really effective”.

        We all made choices in life. Some of them are good. Some of them are terrible. Sometimes, things are completely out of our control. It’s how we learn from these experiences that define us. Life happens.

        • jamar0303 says:

          There’s the rest of the world if you don’t think the US does well enough.

          • Snowblind says:

            Pointing at other bad behavior does not excuse bad behavior!

            Most people understand this concept if someone is talking about waterboarding, but not when it comes to tax burden and government intervention.

        • RandomHookup says:

          Actually, when I hear “for the children”, I don’t think of government programs at all (though maybe a change or two in the law). I think of narrowly defined advocacy groups trying to push their world views on others.

    • misterfweem says:

      “What about me, the taxpayer” doesn’t ring hollw? Really?

  16. quijote says:

    In response to the commenters saying “The children will be fine, there are worse things”: That’s not really what the article was saying. Of course kids will survive, and things could be worse. That doesn’t mean it’s not important that this does have an affect on children.

    • dolemite says:

      My point would be…did we have therapist/studies/etc back in the Great Depression? You’ve got a therapist stating “5 year olds feel powerless”. Um yeah…they are. That’s the negative of being five. You have no power, and no responsibility.

      • ldub says:

        No we didn’t have good mental health resources and many many children and adults were traumatized by their experiences during TGD and that impacted their functioning for the rest of their lives.

        The powerlessness is what *causes* the emotional trauma. That’s why children are particularly psychologically vulnerable in crises, because they typically have little ability to change what is happening to/around them.

  17. denros says:

    Welcome to the new Silent Generation.

  18. humphrmi says:

    I moved around a lot when I was a kid, partly because my parents divorced, and partly a job thing. I hated it, hated always having to adjust to a new school, but in the long run I survived and came out OK. I always promised myself that I would never do that to my kids, and so far I’ve been successful.

    The article makes vague references to “studies” and presents one or two anecdotal stories, but doesn’t really make a case that uprooting your kids causes long term damage or leaves permanent scars.

  19. rewind says:

    Sooo…we’re supposed to be concerned about mortgaging away our children’s lives personally, but not when the Government does it for all of us? o_O

  20. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    Hey, the Republicans are ALL about Family Values and “Teh Childrens” ….oh…unless Wall St. bankers need to buy a couple extra yacht….then of course to hell with anyone who isn’t a “Rich”.

  21. rugman11 says:

    Meh. My parents went through bankruptcy and lost their home when I was a kid. I went to three different elementary schools in three different years and I turned out just fine. Just because something is bad doesn’t necessarily mean a government response is needed. Bad stuff happens. People lose their homes. It’s been happening for hundreds of years. Nobody was clamoring for a public policy response ten years ago. Why would we need one now?

  22. Hoss says:

    They will grow up better for it, and with better values judgment. Some parents surely have very sad stories to tell, but many, many others over leveraged themselves with debt. Huge LCD TVs, mortgages too large for their income, no savings, poor investment judgment, new car every 5 years, etc, etc,

    • Buckus says:

      To deflect attention away from their allowing the TSA to do whatever they feel like with little or no repurcussion. Yeah, I just went there.

  23. dg says:

    So what, we need to spend another gazillion dollars because someone’s kid might get his feelings hurt? It sucks, but the sooner these kids learn that life sometimes sucks – sometimes for a long time, and learn WHY these things happened, then the better off we’ll all be a few generations from now.

    Mainly because these kids will become the new bunch of old farts that say “Well, in my day – during the Great Recession…” – and they’ll save money, not buy a bunch of crap they don’t need…

    Sure, some will become serial killers as a result, but they probably would have already…

    The Feds and States don’t need to spend a dime on this crap… It’s up to the children’s parents to handle it…

  24. ZenMasterKel says:

    Just breastfeed them in public, and they’ll be fine.

  25. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    wonder if there will ever be a study showing that children who change schools often make friends more easily.
    no, i don’t like the foreclosure mess and what it does to anyone, kids or adults. but i’m curious.
    my best friend and her three kids have had to move for their dad’s job, a foreclosure and now for a divorce.
    the long term effects obviously aren’t apparent yet but they’ve already made new friends at the new school, started taking part in community activities and they seem to be holding up pretty well.
    this won’t be the case for everyone of course and some kids will take it harder than others. i changed schools as a kid and had a hard time fitting in which left me with some social issues for a while. but it was very educational.

    • humphrmi says:

      I can speak anecdotally – 3 elementary schools, one middle school, two high schools – I had a hard time making friends in the moves when I was younger, but then high school was really easy and I’ve been about average since then.

      Don’t know if that’s average or anything, but it didn’t hurt me in the long term. Did I like it? No. And I’ve tried hard to keep my kids in the same school system. But I don’t think it’s something that we need to develop a national policy or legislation or anything like that.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        Your story is almost like me too. It was hard but in the long run I have found during my professional career and odd jobs, that I am more capable of handling change and assimilating to new environments whereas my friends that had the same school, same house, same parents (just kidding) don’t like change. It’s a double-edge sword I suppose. I moved around a lot as a kid from Seattle to Grand Rapids, MI, but I think that because of this I enjoy traveling and don’t mind moving for a new job. I find it exciting whereas my friends back home will remain in the same small town that all of us ended up graduating high school.

    • Draw2much says:

      It depends on the kids. Many will adapt, and then some will be like me.

      It was not that I was unfriendly or mean. I was just apathetic about the whole friend making process. I didn’t try anymore. I was friendly to everyone, I treated everyone the same. People who wanted to be friends with me, could. But I wasn’t going out of my way to hang out or anything. I never initiated anything.

      I did still have a few friends. When you’re nice, people will overlook your apathy. >_>

      I’m not like that anymore. Mostly now it’s just hard to make friends because of the whole… being an adult… thing. Adults are much harder to make friends with. >_>

  26. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Gee, when I had a severe long term illness, had to quit my job, and we had to sell our house and move into my parents’, my 3 year-old did fine. Then, when we finally got back on our feet and moved to a tiny apartment with a “bad” school, guess what? She did fine. When we moved again right before she started 2nd grade this year to get in a nice place with a good school (hopefully for good), she did fine. She has stayed happy and healthy even through my illness, having to move in with my parents, her parents’ bankruptcy from medical bills, and 3 total moves.

    This sounds like a ploy to get people to feel sorry for people who make bad decisions or lose their jobs. Kids are resilient, especially if their parents go with the flow, are honest, and try to keep the fighting and anger to a minimum.

    • Shield Ramrod says:

      Hey, quite sincerely, congratulations on your success! Best luck to you and your family.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      How old is this kid now?

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        She is 8. She has no behavior issues, isn’t acting up in school, she does all of her school work, she is respectful, loving, and very happy-go-lucky. She hasn’t had it east, but you would never know it.

  27. joescratch says:

    “Children are an overlooked victim in the mortgage meltown.”

    Subject-verb agreement is an overlooked victim in the lede.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Subject-verb agreement is fine — “Children are…” The problem is that the object doesn’t agree in number with the subject.

  28. bananaboat says:

    Could be worse. I was reading an article today about the orphan trains but I guess we can’t do that anymore: Designed to remove unwanted, neglected, or orphaned children from the streets of New York City, in its 75-year history, from 1854 to 1929, the Children’s Aid Society placed over a quarter million boys and girls into homes in the rest of the country.

  29. MikeM_inMD says:

    “…and there isn’t currently a public policy response to address the issues.”

    And why should there be? I’m not heartless, but the government should be the answer to all problems.

  30. daemonaquila says:

    Seriously, this is a non-issue. PEOPLE are being hurt by foreclosures. The whole “Won’t someone think about the children” noise is pathetic. Kids don’t count any more than single adults, seniors, etc. Cut out the pointless emotional appeals.

  31. OnePumpChump says:

    You’re going to be shat upon your entire lives, best you start learning how to take it now.

  32. cecilsaxon says:

    LOL- kids. They are so silly.

  33. OnePumpChump says:

    Fuck children, seriously. When have children ever done anything for anyone? If they aren’t going to pull their weight in this economy, then the invisible hand is going to give them the finger.

  34. Blue387 says:

    If I had my way, parents and educators should take this opportunity to teach children about spending habits and how banks work. What is interest? What is debt? What is a mortgage? If people knew basic facts about the financial system, we’d probably avoid a few problems down the road.

  35. Battlehork says:

    House? You were lucky to have a HOUSE! We used to live in one room, all hundred and twenty-six of us, no furniture. Half the floor was missing; we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of FALLING!

  36. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Maybe the government can fund a new agency to help the children of this mess. They can make those wonderful rubber bracelets that say I love boobies…

    Then we find out Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters were behind the agency and it was a front to help some friends out and some forgetfulness on disclosing some financial matters . But all will be forgiven as there was no “no evidence of corruption” it was just a matter of “sloppy personal finances.”

  37. RogerX says:

    “…there isn’t currently a public policy response to address the issues”

    But the real question is… Does there need to be?

    (I vote no.)

  38. okcancel says:

    If a parent is abusive or neglectful, the child should be removed from the home so they can be properly cared for. It may sound a bit harsh, however a roof over one’s head and a bit of stability are pretty far down on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and a truly caring parent would sacrifice their own needs (having their children in their possesion) for the (ugh, I hate this phrase) good of the children.

    Once the children are given a solid roof over their heads and a warm place to sleep, we can start restoring the self-esteem that they lost when their parents messed up. The easiest way would be to give them age-appropriate work. This will instill a strong work ethic in them that their parents were clearly lacking (otherwise they wouldn’t have been foreclosed upon) and they will become responsible adults. Some of the money earned would go to the children, some in the form of credits that can be spent at the institution’s shop and some that is put into an account only accessible when they become an adult. The remainder would go towards supporting the program.

    If the program is run competently, it could not only be self-sufficient, but actually turn a profit. And since government shouldn’t be involved in a for-profit enterprise, it should be handled by the private sector (and lets face it, the government couldn’t run it competently, anyway).

  39. DragonThermo says:

    I hate the “think of the children” argument because it’s always used by those who advocate for greater power by government and less responsibility and power to individuals, and doubly so if that advocate is someone who wants to be in charge or be the Czar of a new or expanded bureaucracy to “handle” the crisis.

    It is the parents’ responsibility to provide a home and education for their children. If they don’t, then they need to be held accountable. Making parents’ mismanagement the taxpayers’ problem is not the answer. It only absolves them of responsibility of their duty to their children, and puts unreasonable burden on taxpayers.

  40. ElizabethD says:

    Honest to god, when I first skimmed the headline I read, “Foreclosures Are Hurting the Chickens.”

  41. Verdant Pine Trees says:

    I guess I’m a jerk for thinking a rise in the number of homeless children is a bad thing? A friend of mine went through something like Valeria Jones’ experience. Having the locks changed and everything the family owned thrown into the street was a traumatic experience that she remembered years later.

    The Depression had a huge and largely negative impact on my parents, who were children at the time. It made one of them become a pack rat, and the other feeling horribly guilty whenever money was spent. We are now trying to get one of them to stop investing so heavily in gold. Both of them also became too afraid to take critical financial risks that not only would have bettered their careers, but ultimately benefited the family.

  42. muralivp says:

    By bailing out the banks that granted these loans and there by increasing the debt aren’t the children of parents that were responsible also seriously affected?