Monday, September 23, 2013

Why foster parents like me will never agree with the courts decisions.

Yesterday one of my fellow foster moms walked into a court room and was blindsided with a judges decision to move their foster children THAT day.

There was no warning.  The children were not even allowed to say good bye to their teachers, classmates, friends....nothing.  As far as everyone is concerned it will be as if they suddenly disappeared.

The number one problem is the lack of rights that these children have.  From what I have seen, children have no rights at all.  They don't get to express if they would like to even say good bye to someone, more or less where they would like to live.

The thing that literally keeps me up at night is that the decisions that are made in court are. NOT made in order to keep the child as safe as possible.  The judges and lawyers will even tell you that.  It isn't about what is safest or best for the child.  It is about putting families back together in hopes that they won't do anything TOO bad to the child.


As a parent I will never understand that way of thinking.


As a human. I will never understand why a child does not have the right to be as safe as possible.

I will never get it.


I will never agree with it.


Everything is such a broken mess.  Kids get hurt and then are put in foster care.  Then, sometimes, they are hurt even worse in foster care (if they get bad foster parents).  THEN, let's say they don't get hurt in foster care, they easily can be put in harms way again when they are returned to their bio family because of bad decisions or rules that mean nothing.


It gets old fighting a fight that is impossible to win.

For every win I am sure there is a loss.  I so wish the losses were not the norm.

16 comments:

Msmoozy said...

This is so true and so well written hun, I am going to share this on my facebook and my blog to being awareness to our flawed system. I am just saying a prayer for the kids and foster parents. Also just saying a prayer for our fellow foster Momma dealing with this loss.

Aspiring Foster Mama said...

:'(

StarfishMom said...

I just doesn't make sense!

Sandra at Precious as Rubies said...

I've only been doing foster care for 4 months and the two little girls we have pay a daily price for what their parents did. The system is enabling the parents to continue living how they want to while their children get taken care of for them. All the while the children are getting emotionally broken for the rest of their lives. Great post!

Mommy Jess said...

Agree wholeheartedly. I tell people who are considering becoming foster parents that they need to know ahead of time that the child has no rights, the foster parents have no rights, only the biological parents have rights and they call all the shots and hold all the cards. It is very frustrating. It is hard enough trying to help kids through the issues they are struggling with, but then to have to deal with such a broken system that just adds stress on foster parents and foster children makes it almost unbearable at times. I will never understand many of the decisions made by the system- it needs to be totally overhauled. When I ask the social worker what can be done about certain things that I know are causing our foster son emotional distress, her reply is always "My hands are tied- I have no say so in this." Very frustrating.....

Karen said...

Amen to everything you said. It is so true. So so true.

tashapork said...

This so saddens me and it is not an isolated situation by any means. Not that it will do anything, but I am planning to write to my representatives about making sure that when there is no emergency, kids aren't ripped out of homes with no warning or chance to say goodbye. I wonder how these judges would feel if through no fault of their own, they were told that they had to leave their homes, families, and jobs to possibly never see these people again. This simple act of consideration is irregardless of whether a move is even in kids best interests.

r. said...

I kind of disagree with the statement that there was no warning. Yes, the ultimate move happened more abruptly than the foster family thought it would, but if you read through the blog history, this day was coming for a long, LONG time. The kids were going on weekend visits to transition them to Dallas for MONTHS. This has been the Department's stated plan for SEVERAL MONTHS.

I do agree that the kids should've gotten a chance to say goodbye to their friends and classmates. Some commenters seem to have interpreted your statement about this to mean that the kids didn't even get to say goodbye to their foster family. It should be clarified that that's not the case. The foster mom's beef was that she felt like it wasn't enough time to say a "proper goodbye."

Also, I have to gently disagree with this statement:
The number one problem is the lack of rights that these children have. From what I have seen, children have no rights at all. They don't get to express if they would like to even say good bye to someone, more or less where they would like to live. If you read the blog posting, the kids were in court and they did get a say. The problem is, they apparently said the wrong thing.

Could things have been done better? Yes. I think the attorney/guardian ad litem should've taken more time to get to know the kids before asking where they wanted to live. But even if they had, it's not clear that the outcome would be different. If you read through the blog, there's a pretty consistent history of the kids' housing preference being entirely dependent on the person asking the question. If foster mom asked, the kids said they wanted to stay with her. If other people asked, they were known to say they wanted to go to Dallas. You can question whether it's a fair burden to put on kids that age, whether they can be considered reliable, etc., but you can't say the System never asked them.

Sorry if this seems harsh. But I see where CPS and the judge were coming from. This has been in the works for months. There was court today, and court is when decisions are made. Every time things get dragged out, the foster mom--again, this is from the CPS/the court's point of view--tries to obstruct, comes up with a new objection to the Dallas home, etc. So the judge said, "Let's just do this. Today."

I'm not unsympathetic to the foster mom. I was among the people suggesting that she get a lawyer months before she finally did. I agree with her lawyer's assessment that there are grounds for termination. I don't agree that the kids should've been moved to Dallas. But I don't agree that this move came out of nowhere, that the kids didn't get to say goodbye to the people most important to them, or that the kids didn't get a voice in court.

r. said...

Quick correction about my portrayal of events. I wasn't there in court, so I obviously don't know what the judge actually said. But I thought about it, and I'm guessing--again, just a guess--that the judge didn't actually say, "Let's do this today." In my experience, what usually happens, is the judge signs off on okay-ing the move and the Department says, "Great! We have permission. Now let's get it done as soon as possible, before something happens to throw a wrench in the plans." Not that it makes a huge difference in the outcome, but I realized that my portrayal of the judge's reasoning might be wrong, so I wanted to correct that.

LK said...

I have to disagree with some of this.

Real parents have to work very hard to get their kids back. After the kids go back they are monitored very closely for long periods of time. While there are cases where this fails, some end up back in foster care or a few that hit the news where the outcome is even tragic, you are not even beginning to mention the fact that there are success stories too.

I do agree with you that foster kids are too often uprooted too quickly, but more often than not they're just bounced to the next foster home. The only cases I know of where the foster kid was removed immediately and given back to the real parents were the cases where the parents were able to prove that the CPS Agent either lied, fabricated accusations or that the removal violated their and their children's rights.

Usually, reunification is a slow process with increasing visits, over nights, etc.

MamaFoster said...

LK aka Legally Kidnapped...

Have you ever fostered???? From the name of your blog I am guessing not, but with that said...

My first foster case totally disproves everything that you just said. The bio mom DID NOTHING to get her child back besides come to visits. I know her personally now that her child was returned and NOTHING is any different than it was before the child was taken. ALL the same issues are there and the child is still in a high risk situation.

And as for being "monitored closely" NO THEY WERE NOT. That is a huge joke, at least in any of my cases.

r. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
r. said...

Lawyer here. MamaFoster, I don't know the specifics of your first foster child's case. I don't know what state you live in or the laws of your state. But I will say, in my state, a lot of the hoops the bio parents have to jump through aren't the type that would be immediately visible to the foster parent. Parents often have to do some combination of parenting classes, drug tests, therapy, etc. (And yes, visits.) I've seen cases where the foster parent is feels like the kid is going home despite the mom doing "nothing," when in reality the mom has completed a whole list of services and jumped through a bunch of hoops. The thing is, the foster mom doesn't know mom's exact case plan, so she has no way of knowing this. I'm not saying that's what happened in your foster child's case, but it is a possibility to consider.

MamaFoster said...

R. Back during that specific case I was given a copy of the bios list of things that needed to be completed. It was normal back then. Things are a bit more confidential now. Also, when I use the word blindsided in this post I mean she had no real reason to think the kids would be being moved that day. I am EXTREMELY close to this foster mom and know details she is not plastering all over the internet. If you have never been a foster parent you don't really understand how everyone can be leading u to believe that nothing "should change" in court, but then everything does change. Yes, we know it is a possibility, that doesn't make it any less shocking to us. It does sounds like you see this for both sides, so I assume you aren't trying to bash anyone. I just don't think you understand where I am coming from.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with mamafoster. We have had twenty plus children through our home including four that that were return cases meaning at one time or another they were in foster care and retuhome and came back onto the system at a later date and usuworst then if they would if just been adopted out the first time around. If those twenty plus children my family has adopted 6 them. The others were adopted out to family members or other adoptive families. One them was returned to bio mom. She is 27 years old about to give birth to her seventh child. Four of those seven she does not have, two we adopted, one is with his father, two with her on the verge daily of being removed along with the one that is waiting to be born. One is also dead because her father shook her to death. Yep great success story.

Rebecca S. said...

the decisions that are made in court are. NOT made in order to keep the child as safe as possible.

This is the part that is killing me. This SHOULD BE the #1 goal in CPS. ALWAYS. EVERY TIME. But somehow? Biology wins out. EVERY TIME. Tell me....how the heck is it in the best interest of ANYONE for an INFANT OF SIX WEEKS to JOIN her mother in drug rehab???? And this is not a court decision, but a CPS/DHS decision.
I see the "biggest problem" with the system is it seems to be based on the basic premise that reunification is ALWAYS the first goal. IT SHOULDN'T BE!! This is a kid's LIFE we are talking about! You shouldn't get multiple chances to COMPLETELY screw them up. The "feel good" sentiment that the best place is with a mother, no matter how messed up that is. Let the kids have a chance!