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Nov 20, 2007

The Lovely System

I ran into another foster parent at the store today. I know the family by reputation, mostly, but the mother was very helpful when the twins first entered our care. She spoke with us on the phone several times and came to our house to meet them and talk with us about their day to day care and issues. I don't remember how long they have been foster parents, I want to say twenty years or more- a long time. Early in their career they had multiple babies in their home- up to six at a time. Babies, six of them, under a year. They moved from the big city to our area about five years ago and have continued to keep their home open for foster children of all sorts. They have also adopted close to twenty children over the years. Many of them live out of the home, however they do have, I believe thirteen at home. Their reputation in the foster care community, both foster parents and the professional folks, is wonderful.

I run into dad from time to time at the grocery store, usually. He always has a kind word, or three, and tends to remind us "that eight is a good start". Today, he gave me an update on the sibling group that they have had for three months. It seems that social services is now having second thoughts about placing them in this family. When they were initially looking for placement, social services called numerous homes in the hopes of keeping the siblings together. No one would take all three until this family was contacted and said yes. Good for the kids! Yay, team! Right? Apparently not. Now, social services is re-thinking the placement. They are saying that the family has too many kids...hmmm, not an issue when they were first looking for placement... Dad thinks it's due to issues with the older kids- there have been some spots of trouble over the last few months, bad enough that the parents called the police on their own children. Sounds responsible to me- knowing this family and the children that they have truly, devoted their lives too.

Of course, I don't know the whole story. Certainly, there may be details that have been left out. Dad says the kids have fit in their family very well and that things are smooth with them. I believe him. This is the first time the kids have entered care- it's working, why disrupt this placement? It would only disrupt these kids more. If social services believes they made a bad decision... There are other more legitimate reasons to disrupt a placement. This does not seem right. Dad is aware that he has little to no control over the situation. Kids come, kids go, some stay forever. He will, however fight for the children if he needs to. For now, they wait, to see what will happen and if they will need to fight for the rights of the kids.

And then I ran into this story. A little one that was returned to her birth parents and is now in trouble.


FosterAbba said...

The system is just oh-so-terribly broken.

Tricia said...

what to do????

FosterMommy said...

In our county, at least, a huge step would be to make sure the legal guardians actually do the job they're hired to do. That would be reducing their caseload and re-training them, but it's worth it. They're the only ones whose job it is to advocate for the best interest of the child. And, around here, they do NOTHING.