I've been at a few meetings recently where some children in foster care have been allowed to go back to their parents once they are considered old
enough to make decisions for themselves.
The family situations have been far from ideal and the foster placements have been good ones.
My question is, in your opinion, is a family which struggles to look after their own child preferable to people paid by the Social Work department to do the same job?
Depends if its by choice - of the child, that is.
That can't possibly be the sole criteria. For a start, I question how many children truly understand why they were taken from their parents in the
first place, and how they would know at any later age that those circumstances had changed for the better.
Do we assume that the social workers involved are themselves satisfied that things are good enough to consider a reunion, and only then seek the childrens' opinion? That would make more sense - except that it is surely how things work anyway?
Or, pray not, this is one way of dealing with the financial and other cutbacks in social services. Hardly seems like the best thing for the children involved.
They have a flow chart thing that they follow - and at the end of the day it is a judgement call. Nothing is perfect in either scenario.
If the parents are dependent on illegal drugs or alcohol, I think the children should not be returned (even if the parent is a functional
I think adoptive parents may be a better alternative than foster parents, if it is an option. Children who are passed around among families will have even greater issues than those whose second set of parents have made a greater commitment.
I don't think there is anything special about physical relatedness that makes an otherwise-bad-parent a good parent, nor do I think a good parent will become a bad one simply because the family of origin is someone else.
When children here are taken from the parents, they become wards of the court. All placements are done on recommendations of Social Service investigations and Court appointed Guardian Ad Litems of the children but the decisions are made by a judge in the court.
Maybe where you live. Here it is not the case. These children were not passed around. Both had been with families for more than 4 years but the birth families were allowed occasional contact in contact centres so they never lost their influence entirely.
My Sister participated in the Guardian Ad Litem program for many years. When a child is taken from their parents by DSS, Dss is required by law to
have the child in Court no later than 14 days. At that time the Judge appoints a GAL for the child who is responsible to investigate the case and
recommend action to the Court based solely on what is in the best interest of the child.
At the first hearing the child is usually placed in a temporary home until an investigation of case is completed. Since some of the places my Sister had to go to do her investigations could possibly be dangerous, I would sometimes go with her which required my signing of a confidentiality statement not to divulge any information I might hear.
Believe me when I say that some of the environment and treatment that parents subject their children to borders on the inhumane. I have seen refrigerators chained shut so the children could not get to the food. In Court, one father when told they were taking his child away remarked "go ahead, I can make more faster than you can take them." Makes you want to get out the scalpel and set to work.
Waffler, based upon your experience,and what you know of the situation, how do you think it was handled. What it the right thing for you? Do you think
you may have fared as well under your biological parents? etc. etc.
Of course you needn't give details or answer, that is your prerogative. Tell me to p*** off, if you like.
Thanks for your honesty, mate, I was blessed in that my family situation was stable, despite the fact that my father died when I was three.
The truth is that most teenagers are unlikely to be wanted by adoptive parents unless there is a family connection. Some of our best foster families are the grandparents who step into the breech until the alcoholic or drug addict parent cleans themselves up.
I would tend to disagree with that statement Mary. I've known many adoptees over the years and you'd not know that they had no familial connection with their adoptive families unless you were told or they were from a different ethnic background. I would suggest that your observation would be the exception rather than the norm, unless your rules for adoption are not as strict.
People who want to adopt want cute little babies or young children. The chances of a teenager being adopted are much lower. Foster carers get paid here adoptive parents do not. I did not say that all foster families had a family relationship, I just said that the grandparents who stepped into the breech were often doing it for non monetary reasons. There are no non-familial foster carers who do not get paid. For some who do it, it is a full time job as they take on several children.
You would be surprised at how many couples there are out there who for what ever reason and there are many who are perfectly willing to take in
children of any age including teenagers. They may have resources that they feel can be used to help a foster child and in many cases end up adopting
the foster child.
Children who are older often understand that foster care or adoption is the road to a better life than having to live with and endure the hardships of coping with a natural parents short comings. When you can have a safer more enriching environment, foster care does not look so bad sometimes.
One of the young people in question was with a family who not only wanted to adopt them but also their younger sibling. That would have meant a much better life as there was a family business to go work in and possibly inherit. The family are heartbroken because the older one has chosen to go back to their birth family and has now got minimal contact with the younger sibling.