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fosterring a friends child?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have a neighbour who may lose her kids soon to foster care....a DD (11) and a DD(3).

My own take is that she needs help - not her kids being removed - but who knows what CPS (called CAS here) will decide? She has been called on many times - mostly for neglects.

CPS was at her house yesterday - and she expects them to be back today. I have a not-so-great feeling about the whole thing....

Her DD (11) and my DD are best friends. Her DD is here all the time (9-9 on weekends, 3-9 on weekdays). Should she go into foster care I would like to take her. From what I know of her family none of them may be able to take the girls.

It saddens me to say that I do not feel I can take the youngwer child. My life is just not set up for a 3 yr old. If they could find a family locally who could keep the kids together - that would be better - but who knows if that will happen??

I am not sure how to proceed.

Does anyone know anything about foster care in Ontario?

Here a few circumstances that may make me not a good fit. I do not want to invite CPS into my life if I know I do not meet criteria:

1. My house is messy. I do not think it is dangerous (and the child in question is 11, not 2) but it is not spic and span. We have been doing minor renovations lately, and this has added to the mess factor.

2. I have a big dog. He barks at the door and is a little scary to outsiders. We tend to put him away when strangers are in the house. The neighbours DD is absolutely fine with him, of course, as she almost lives here.

3. Her school gets out at 3:30. I work, 2 days a week, from 3:30-5:30 (well, beyond that, but DH is home after 5:30). My son who is 14 would need to watch her, or she would need to go to a sitters.

4. Otherwise I am your usual crunchy mama - my kids are HSed, they are unvaxed, etc. I do not think this would cause issues.
post #2 of 9
I don't know a lot about services in Canada (you might want to ask on fosterparents.com if you don't get help here) but most of those wouldn't be a problem for a kinship placement.
post #3 of 9
Can you be sort of an "un official" foster parent? I grew up in BC and moved from foster home to foster home,but before I was in government approved foster care I lived with some families from the church that I was attending at the time. I'm not quite sure how all that was worked out though. Maybe have a chat with mom and see if she like her DD 11 to live with you and your family and it might be possible to make an agreement with her that you and your husband become her guardians and she can live with you,but the mother would still have custody. I think that might be all right.
post #4 of 9
Well, I see two things you must deal with.

1. As a foster parent CPS/CAS WILL be involved in your life, at least indirectly. So if you absolutely in no way can handle that at all, I don't see a way for you to get around that.

2. (and this is the big one) Are you prepared to potentially destroy this friendship? As we have seen even from discussions on this board, even with the best of intentions on both sides to many parents the foster parents naturally become an extension of CPS/CAS and all it stands for. It's an emotional reaction that most people understandably can't help all that much. In addition, there is a (however slim) possibility that you may learn things about your friend that you NEVER wanted to know if there is a reason for this happening. While there are too frequent "unnecessary" removals, the brutal blunt truth is that more often than not there ARE reasons for the removal. You probably won't be told why from the worker, but if your DD's friend truly trusts you, she may tell you things you will wish you never knew. And at that point, if you really love her and care for the child primarily, you are going to have to be able to deal with that and believe the child. And if there truly is no reason then you will have the privledge of seeing the immense suffering and fallout on BOTH of their parts. As well as some very mixed feelings on the part of your friend. I know that probably you think that won't happen, but I'm telling you it's a very strong possibility because she will be going through hell and while she might be happy that her DD is with someone she knows, you are the most accessible and visible representation for her fear and loss and there are very few people who aren't affected by that.

All the other stuff (messy house, construction, dog) can be worked around. I wouldn't get distracted by the details, it's the big core that you need to really look at. Siblings are sadly not guaranteed to be placed together anyway, so even that is sad but not a dealbreaker.
post #5 of 9
You could be a provisional foster home, but chances are excellent that they would place the kids in an approved home while vetting you (home visit, police check, at the bare minimum), which can take at least a couple of weeks (as opposed to the months for regular foster parent approval).

If you can't take the younger girl, they probably won't even consider you - keeping kids together is a priority, there's only two of them, they are the same gender, it shouldn't be too difficult to place together.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much for the input. Lots to think about.

Tigerchild - excellent point about destroying friendships. I really do not care if I destroy my friendship with the mother (which really isn't a friendship...the mother in question is not capable of that) - but I really do not want fostering to destroy my DD friendship with the girl in question. I imagine it would get messy - we live beside each other, and why wouldn't there be anger that I had her DD and she didn't? Sigh. The whole thing is sad and hard

post #7 of 9
Well, it might and it might not destroy the girls' friendship. In a way, it might be easier to talk them through it than it sometimes is talking adults through things, KWIM? Not every friend is a great roommate or housemate. So you'd have to talk things through with both girls so that they know that it's expected and normal to have fights, to feel jealousy and annoyance even though they are best friends, ect.

Even if you decide not to try to go for placement, I wonder if there would be any way for the girls to stay in contact. I know that especially with kids new to care, having that ability to have a phone call from a friend or a letter or whatever can be really really comforting. Not sure how to go about doing that though, it sure would be nice if it could be done.
post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
Are you prepared to potentially destroy this friendship? As we have seen even from discussions on this board, even with the best of intentions on both sides to many parents the foster parents naturally become an extension of CPS/CAS and all it stands for. It's an emotional reaction that most people understandably can't help all that much.
I cannot agree with this enough. I wasn't adequately prepared for how much of an impact it had on things in my life when I stepped up to take an old friend's child. We were already very distant since her life has spiralled so much for so many years, but I think since we have a background, it has hurt in many more ways. I can't possibly list it all out here, but believe me having a history makes a difference.

Another thing that would concern me, and potentially the state, is the proximity to the family home. Since you guys are next door (I believe that's the case??), the state may not want to place the kids. So many factors. Could be good (kids can see mom as much as needed), could be bad (not enough distance for safe boundaries). And there are long-term implications with that proximity. If she doesn't go home, and rights are terminated, she won't be able to "start over" so to speak, watching her household continue right next door.

I too would be concerned about separating the siblings. This will impact them so much; staying together is only going to help them get through it.
post #9 of 9
I really think the best thing you can do is to give your dd's friend your contact info on a card, with a note to the sw that this child has been spending lots of time in your care and you would like to help maintain the relationship between the girls in the event of foster placement. The proximity of your houses would, I think, be a big problem. It would be very hard to enforce boundaries, and it might turn into a real nightmare if the case went to TPR.
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