Fostering for Profit
is scenario where a foster family treats the raising of a foster child purely as a business. They are in it only for the money the kid brings in. Therefore they spend on the kid as little as possible. They are also emotionally and often physically abusive towards the children.
There are several possible ways this scenario can work. In some stories, the real parent of the child (almost always a single mother) is still alive, but can not take care of the child herself, so she makes her own arrangments to have a family take care of the child while she sends them her own money to assist in raising the child. A
In modern stories, a more common scenario is for the children to be in the custody of the state but placed in a foster home. In this scenario, the government gives the foster parents money that is supposed to go toward taking care of the child.
This can be very similar to an Orphanage of Fear
. See also Abusive Parents
, Department of Child Disservices
and Wicked Stepmother
- Taken to evil, and all too real, extremes in Slumdog Millionaire.
- In the movie Hotel for Dogs, near the end of the film, the brother gets shipped off to one of these... and is miserably unhappy.
- There's a family like this in Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's "not quite a remake of The Parent Trap" movie, It Takes Two.
- In The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Squeers takes in unwanted children for a high fee, and starves and mistreats his charges while using the money sent by their parents to pad his own pockets.
- In the book White Oleander, the main character ends up in one of these, with a woman who lives in an opulent house funded by the checks sent for the various girls she takes in, spending very little on the girls themselves, including putting a lock on the fridge when she isn't home (which is most of the time). The movie version left this out.
- The Tenardiers in Les MisÚrables bleed Fantine dry with their demands for more money for Cosette, while coercing labour from the girl and stinting on her food and clothes. They repeatedly try to up the price when Valjean comes to rescue the child.
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- An episode of Criminal Minds features a couple who does this. Doing simulated drownings on their kids to keep them in line, and padlocking the fridge. One of the serial killers of the week attempt to get one of the kids to shoot the abusive step mother, but the kid desists and shoots the staged "happy family" pictures, calling them all lies.
- The French-Canadian series Les Bougons featured one of these, on a farm no less. The parents refer to the kids as numbers, and one of the kids notes that this kind of foster home ain't so bad since "Here you don't need to sleep with the old man for food at least."''
- Shows up in a few Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episodes -- the cops go to a suspect's (or a victim's) last known address and find out the person hasn't been there for months. The foster parent or caretaker hasn't reported them missing so they can still collect the checks.
- In Doonesbury Duke starts an orphanage and acquires as many kids as he can in the expectation of a big government payout.
- Seen in Futurama, where Bender is told the goverment gives checks for adopting orphans. He learns later he's supposed to use that money to take care of the kids, and that the government stipend barely covers it. Ironically, despite the abuse, the kids love him. He then tries to break even by selling the kids as food.
- Parodied in the third episode of 'The Cleveland Show. The forster parents lock the kids in the basement and see them as a source of income only. The kids are starved enough to resort to cannibalism. The parents also treat their operation the same way drug dealers would treat theirs: When a hearing could cost them a welfare check, they resort to shooting the parties involved to keep the kids (and associated cash).