Through the Cracks: How San Andreas' Foster Care Fails Its Youth
By Lucas Tobias | October 27, 2020
Lucy McIntyre came to Los Santos with her mother and her stepfather, and the situation at home gradually became worse and worse, with Lucy elaborating that "[Her mother] never struck [her] before, but... [She] drew on the walls, and [her mother] smacked the heck out of [her]; screaming about the security deposit."
Eventually, Lucy discovered that they were abusing substances. Her mother had been overdosing repeatedly, "once a week" even, and it was up to eight-year-old Lucy to resuscitate her with Narcan every time. One day, her mother did not wake up after an attempted resuscitation. Lucy disclosed that she suffered even worse abuse at the hands of her stepfather. As she recounts:
"Without her there, it got bad for me. She'd smack me, sure, but he'd really put his hands on me. And with no one there to stop him, it got worse and worse... He knocked my teeth out of line, so I needed braces. Broke my jaw once, ribs, my arm as well... [He] stuck a gun in my mouth, told me if I ever told anyone, he'd murder me flat out. And since the CPS system here sucks, no one would know.
"Social workers took me out of his home for a while... I had some foster parents. They were pretty nice, but they had their hands full. When the time came to either adopt me or move on, they decided to move on. So, I got placed back with [Stepdad]."
When asked about her experience in foster care, Lucy responded, "There's really no such thing... There's maybe one person who checks on you, besides that they don't try to find you housing or adoption. They find a place to drop you off and forget you."
Fortunately, Lucy has found a happier chapter in her story through her adoptive father, Leon McIntyre. For his side of the story, he had this to say:
"The adoption process was the quickest thing that happened. What took me a while to figure was that Lucy was in trouble, I knew something was wrong. But this is Los Santos after all; it's a wild city, I wouldn't have been surprised if she actually had parents. I kept an eye on her, I was never fond of Idlewood, and I hated to see a child there. I was honestly lurking in the shadows if you can say that. But one day, I saw her speaking to a pusher. That was the last straw that broke the camel's back for me. So, when I learned that she was lost in the alleys of Idlewood with no home to go to, I took her to get breakfast on the other side of town, I wanted to learn her story. When she told me she never really knew her birth dad much, and how her stepdad abused her... I felt it was a sign."
Lucy added that whenever a good person talks to her, they talk her out of east side first.
When asked what her thoughts on how things could change, in regards to how foster care is handled in Los Santos, Lucy had this to say:
"I think simply taking notice is the first step... When a girl is twelve, and all alone at three [in the morning]... Is that normal? Taking time out of your day to find out if the kid is okay might make a difference. [Leon] noticed things weren't normal. And not only that, he didn't run up to me like an idiot. He approached me slowly, non-aggressive. He's a prime example of a real man."
In closing, Leon stated, "I think more should be done about the adoption process, sure Lucy and I were both lucky that it happened so fast. But not every person in Los Santos is a fit parent." Lucy added, "But the ones that are fit work too hard and have no off-duty life. Yes, I'm looking at you Fire, Police, and Sherriff's Departments. Prime candidates for parenthood could even reduce the crime rate."
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