The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'Throwaway kids'

Troubled children find a haven at Oesterlen, an ELCA-affiliated agency in Ohio

Editor's note: Names of children in this article were changed for their protection.

Jordan, 13, has already seen more of life's dark side than most adults ever will. Sexually abused for years by his parents, Jordan eventually began abusing his younger sister and brother. Upon discovering this, the county immediately removed the children from their home and prosecuted the parents, who received lengthy prison terms.

Art therapist Heidi Wagner helps the
Art therapist Heidi Wagner helps the youth at Oesterlen Services for Youth, based in Springfield, Ohio, open up about their lives through creativity.
Jordan entered the foster care system. But his abusive behavior continued, so he was eventually admitted to a residential treatment program for adolescent sex offenders. He was dismissed after attacks on staff and peers, and repeated destruction of property. Shortly thereafter, he and his siblings became wards of the state.

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