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Think Tank discusses breaking the cycle of poverty

Children eat at free lunch youth program in Phoenix. (AP Photo, File)

Why is intergenerational poverty the rule rather than the exception? America considers itself the “land of opportunity,” yet so many cannot escape the poverty they are born into.

Why don’t the poor just “pull themselves up by their bootstraps?”

Francine Hardaway’s experiences document how difficult this turns out to be.

When she was introduced to a couple of young kids who were being warehoused in the foster care system, she decided to step in personally to help; she become their foster mom.

And Hardaway had financial, educational, and bureaucratic resources at her disposal, way beyond that of a typical foster parent:

• Francine was a highly-educated PhD who had run a successful company in Phoenix.

• She lived in the Biltmore and had access to financial resources. Money was not going to be an obstacle.

• And she was well-connected and bureaucratically savvy. Example: when she encountered bureaucratic resistance in becoming a foster mom for the kids, she got around this with a call to the governor, who took her call and intervened.

No, Francine was not your typical foster mom. One would think her success would be guaranteed.

But her experiences show how difficult it is, especially from the perspective of a lifetime.

The “kids” are now adults with kids of their own. One of the two kids has been in and out of prison (even after her help), and life has been a struggle for both.

This week’s Think Tank lets Hardaway tell this story.

Her book, “Foster Mom,” is a great read, and tells it in greater detail.

The Think Tank airs on KTAR 92.3 FM on Saturday 6-7 p.m. and Sundays 9-10 p.m.

Podcasts are available after broadcast.

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The Think Tank

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