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A foster child came to me asking for help... - Page 2

post #21 of 70
I think I would have called the police. She was young and seeking help. I wouldn't have taken her to the corner in case it was a predator or something, because I can't imagine a caseworker not picking her up at her house or school or something.

I wouldn't have wanted her to go with the foster mom w/o the police or CPS checking out the situation.
post #22 of 70
I am surprised at the folks who don't know why this constitutes a serious call to 911 or CPS. This was reprotedly a 10 y/o girl, trying to reach a destination without a clear plan, at a gas station, asking for help. This child was in need of immediate help. The risk is high for unwanted attention, or worse, in this situation.

I don't think putting her in the car and driving her would be a good plan. Staying there until the police arrived, perhaps waiting in the gas station, would have been appropriate.
post #23 of 70
Thread Starter 
So, I made two phone calls. One to CPS, they said "You can not even imaging how many K****** G******** we have in our system, at least 1000 with that name." I told her what I could, and she said she'd do her best, but it would be very hard without a birth date or address of a foster home.

Then, I called the nearest grade school. They have only a few kids by that name, and none of them are in foster care.

I'm still sad, and clearly uneducated about how many kids are in foster care.
post #24 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by neetling View Post
I think I would have called the police. She was young and seeking help. I wouldn't have taken her to the corner in case it was a predator or something, because I can't imagine a caseworker not picking her up at her house or school or something.

I wouldn't have wanted her to go with the foster mom w/o the police or CPS checking out the situation.

I would have taken her to meet her caseworker (but called the police to let them know to cover my own hiney) and then I would have stayed with her to check the caseworker's ID and called CPS to verify that she was, in fact, a caseworker.
post #25 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
So, I made two phone calls. One to CPS, they said "You can not even imaging how many K****** G******** we have in our system, at least 1000 with that name." I told her what I could, and she said she'd do her best, but it would be very hard without a birth date or address of a foster home.

Then, I called the nearest grade school. They have only a few kids by that name, and none of them are in foster care.

I'm still sad, and clearly uneducated about how many kids are in foster care.
Would a description of the foster mother's vehicle help at all?
post #26 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by la mamita View Post
Let me clarify, as someone who works in child welfare: This is not a case of definite child abuse or neglect. However, a foster child is under the care of the state and CPS is their "guardian".
Okay, now I understand. If she knew how to reach her caseworker, then I think calling her directly and waiting would make the most sense. If you had the caseworkers number, then calling afterward so she'd know about the incident would make sense. I think it's good you called, and unfortunate they can't find the child in their system. Any chance she's not actually a foster kid, given what the school said? Didn't you say she looked like an older child you know?
post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
So, I made two phone calls. One to CPS, they said "You can not even imaging how many K****** G******** we have in our system, at least 1000 with that name." I told her what I could, and she said she'd do her best, but it would be very hard without a birth date or address of a foster home.

Then, I called the nearest grade school. They have only a few kids by that name, and none of them are in foster care.

I'm still sad, and clearly uneducated about how many kids are in foster care.
I'm glad you called. It does seem pretty unlikely, though, that there would be a large number of foster kids in your area with the same name. Even if you lived in New York City and the child's name was some super common name, I can't imagine hundreds. Was this the number for the state? Or for a local office? If it was a state office, maybe it would be possible to get a number for a local office?

I can imagine how hard being in that situation was and continues to be.
post #28 of 70
OP, you did the best you could. I think it's good you contacted CPS. Hopefully the person you spoke to will be able to track down the little girl. It makes me said she said she's "just a foster kid"

Since she risked asking a stranger to take her somewhere I wonder if there was something she wanted to tell the case worker that she's unable to say in front of the foster mother. In any event, I hope the little girl is okay.

I do want to suggest calling CPS again on another day. You may get another person on the phone who's willing to dig a little further.
post #29 of 70
That response from CPS seems weird to me. Even if her name was Jane Doe, they seriously have thousands of kids with an active file with that name? I don't believe that. Sounds like a brush off to me.
post #30 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
That response from CPS seems weird to me. Even if her name was Jane Doe, they seriously have thousands of kids with an active file with that name? I don't believe that. Sounds like a brush off to me.
I agree, 1000s of kids in one state with the same name all in foster care?

I have to say call again, many times you get some really unhelpful person dealing with DSHS, CPS, family services type stuff....There are social workers who care and those who just don't give a crap. I dealt with calling the state a few times with my pregnancy medical because my paperwork was screwed up and I had 3 instances where the people were plainly grumpy and awful(2 women, 1 man). Then I finally got a woman who was awesome, she said she didn't understand why I was denied at first and then qualified. She actually took the time to help in my time of need instead of the others who treated me like I was just another loser looking for a handout.
post #31 of 70
Honestly? I would have brought her to her case worker. After the mom showed up, I would have called CPS and let them know the situation. The girl was trying to reach her case worker, so I would do my best to make sure her case worker is aware that this girl needed to speak with her.
post #32 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norasmomma View Post
I agree, 1000s of kids in one state with the same name all in foster care?
.
\

No.. she said hundreds... I got crazy with the zeros.
post #33 of 70
Quote:
However, a foster child is under the care of the state and CPS is their "guardian". An incident where a child is attempting to run away from a foster care placement is something that CPS definitely NEEDS to know about, so they can do a further investigation.
I would have taken her to the police so the police could deal with it too. Most people would not know whether it was a foster child or a non-foster child. Taking her to the police(or calling the police & waiting for them to come) would give the police a chance to find out who she was & then CPS/Caseworker would be involved then.
post #34 of 70
I would have tucked the child in my car and called 911. I would not have moved my car one inch for fear of being accused of abduction. If the foster mother had happened upon the scene as the child was getting in my car, I would have calmly asked her to wait with me for the police. While the child was in my car, I would have tried to get the case worker's number.
post #35 of 70
Same here. Call 911, wait for the cops, don't let that kid out of my sight until I have a cop or social worker on-scene to establish identities, make the judgement call, etc. And same goes for a kid who approaches me in a parking lot caliming to be running from their biological parents. How am I to know that the lady cruising up in the van is really (foster) mom? 911 for sure, for anything more complicated than a wandering child being immediately pursued by a frantic caregiver who had just turned their back for a minute.

But as others have said, hindsight is 20/20. Don't beat yourself up, OP - but do call CPS again, and see if you get somebody a little less hideous on the phone. They do NOT have hundreds of kids with the same name in foster care. See if you can get through to the social worker. For instance, if you said "I have information relating to a possible safety issue in KidsName's foster home, I need to speak to her worker ASAP," you might get more traction. Refuse to discuss details, leave a message, and maybe you'll get a call back. And if they then claim that there is no KidsName in the system - well, maybe you encountered a biokid telling a lie in the hopes of getting a lift from you.
post #36 of 70
I work in foster care and I don't see anything wrong if you had called the police at the time, especially if she was saying she was planning on running away (we get enough "elopements" in the program I work in that it's not surprising, but it's usually teenagers).

But a lot of people here have commented on a child seeking out a stranger; that doesn't surprise me. I've worked with a lot of kids over the last 8 years, and because of the multiple transitions they've had, it's not surprising that a child in foster care would be comfortable just talking to a stranger.

However, I also don't think you're going to get anywhere with CPS or whatever the Department of Social Services is called there. At least, they aren't going to tell you anything, even if they followed up on your call (which they might have done, regardless of what you were told over the phone). You're not a party to the case, and therefore, they won't and legally shouldn't be revealing any information to you.
post #37 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
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No.. she said hundreds... I got crazy with the zeros.
Well that makes it much more sense.
post #38 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by momo7 View Post
At the risk of getting flamed.....here's my 2 cents.

I would have taken her where she wanted to go and I would have asked the foster mom why the child was so afraid of her. If foster mom called the cops that would have been great, then the little girl would have more advocates.....then I get to tell my side of the story and the little girl has another advocate. Obviously the child was afraid, I don't believe she would have approached a total stranger unless she wasn't. If the little girl had caused some kind of trouble the case worker would have been a mediator between the little girl and the foster mom. Of course the foster mom isn't going to cause a ruckus in a parking lot out in public, of course she is going to play it completely calm and "together". The little girl clearly did not want to go with the foster mom. Huge. Red. Flag.

Hind sight is always 20/20 and we can say what we would have done, should have done or could have done but there is really no way to know unless it happens to you. Maybe you did the right thing....I wish the system was 100% but it's not and it really sucks for the children, who are the point anyway.
Um, wow. Yeah certainly its ONE possibility that the little girl is being abused by her awful FP, is afraid of her, and someone needs to look into it further.

But its also likely, perhaps MORE likely, that this is a little girl with emotional issues, with a history of running away, etc. The fact that you said this little girl woudnt go with a stranger unless she was afraid....have you never heard of RAD (reactive attachment disorder)?? MANY kids who have grown up with neglect have this, and even if they dont have RAD they may have a total lack of boundaries, of understanding what is safe and what is not. If the child was "afraid" its POSSIBLE that she knew when she got home she was in for some heavy duty consequences for her actions (no tv for a week, stay in her room all night, no phone,whatever.) Who knows if she was REALLY meeting her caseworker (why would the caseworker not meet her at home?!?) Maybe i'm jaded but the fact that she said "im just a foster child" doesnt make me feel all it makes me ...i'm thinking "oh she played the 'pity me im just a foster child, now give me what i want' card!"

I wasnt there and cant judge the "vibe" the OP got from the girl, but please PLEASE be aware some kids are REALLY good at charming strangers and getting what they want. I'm living with one!!! It really sucks for everyone to think how wonderful and sweet and problem-free your kid is, wonder why you are so strict, even "mean" to her, wonder why you are so quick to give a consequence for some "minor" transgression...when they dont live with her. You have no idea if this girl has a mental health diagnosis, a history of running away, etc. You dont know if this is the tenth time this month this girl has run away.

Where i live the caseworker has nothing to do with CPS, most foster children are placed with private agencies with their own caseworkers, totally independant of DHS...you would probably eventually be able to get to the agency worker via a call to CPS but frankly they have so much stuff to deal with they might not really have the incentive for "this little girl said she was a foster child, she looked to be running away, then her mom showed up, was mad about it, and they drove away." That sounds like a pretty *average* day with a (possibly) troubled ten yr old foster child.

(i'd have to reread the OP but is it only what the girl said, that we know she IS a foster child? she could have just been saying that! did the mom confirm??)

I think there may have been different responses had this been posted on the Adoptive and Foster Parents board.
post #39 of 70
Ditto all PPs who said they would have asked for the caseworker's name and number and called myself, then waiting with the child. When the foster mom pulled up I would have said "the caseworker is on their way" or whatever the worker said and that instructions were for to wait for the worker, and I would have waited with the child. Foster mom may have been pissed, but especially if you'd been able to really talk to the worker it might have been exactly the right thing to do.

Now that you've called CPS and they kinda blew you off, I'd say call again and as a PP said, ask whether a description of the foster mom and her car would help. Also a description of the child. You can even tell them you don't care if they tell *you* whether they know who you mean, you just want to make sure if the child is in trouble that someone is looking into it.

But even in a bigger city I agree, the idea that there would be HUNDREDS of kids with the SAME name in foster care with open cases... that sounds ridiculous and almost impossible. Please call again, and if you get the same person call again after hours or at a different time and try to get someone else.

Best of luck, the girl is lucky you're still thinking of her and trying to figure out how to help. And please don't assume that because you didn't get a bad feeling from the foster mom, there isn't real serious trouble. We just had foster parents in our state who everyone swore were totally great badly abuse a child and part of why they did it for so long is no one could believe they could/would do it. Looks mean very little... bottom line a 10 yr old alone at a gas station asking for help is an indication of serious trouble no matter how you cut it, even if the problem isn't necessarily her foster mom.
post #40 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
I just feel bad that any child is in this situation at all. She's a beautiful, perfect kid who's been forced by the adults in her life to live with people who don't love her the way her real mom should love her. Nobody should feel like they don't belong. (these foster parents may love her... but, it's not the same as a normal loving mature biological parent, or adoptive parents)
I know you want to help. I'm sure this was a difficult encounter. But, you really don't know if the child is a "perfect kid" and how her foster parents (if she is, in fact, a foster child) feel about her. I adopted one of my foster kids and will be adopting another next month. I've never given birth, but I can't imagine loving my kids any more than I do. And for these two children, my feelings kicked in really early on in our relationship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post
Um, wow. Yeah certainly its ONE possibility that the little girl is being abused by her awful FP, is afraid of her, and someone needs to look into it further.

But its also likely, perhaps MORE likely, that this is a little girl with emotional issues, with a history of running away, etc. The fact that you said this little girl woudnt go with a stranger unless she was afraid....have you never heard of RAD (reactive attachment disorder)?? MANY kids who have grown up with neglect have this, and even if they dont have RAD they may have a total lack of boundaries, of understanding what is safe and what is not. If the child was "afraid" its POSSIBLE that she knew when she got home she was in for some heavy duty consequences for her actions (no tv for a week, stay in her room all night, no phone,whatever.) Who knows if she was REALLY meeting her caseworker (why would the caseworker not meet her at home?!?) Maybe i'm jaded but the fact that she said "im just a foster child" doesnt make me feel all it makes me ...i'm thinking "oh she played the 'pity me im just a foster child, now give me what i want' card!"

I wasnt there and cant judge the "vibe" the OP got from the girl, but please PLEASE be aware some kids are REALLY good at charming strangers and getting what they want. I'm living with one!!! It really sucks for everyone to think how wonderful and sweet and problem-free your kid is, wonder why you are so strict, even "mean" to her, wonder why you are so quick to give a consequence for some "minor" transgression...when they dont live with her. You have no idea if this girl has a mental health diagnosis, a history of running away, etc. You dont know if this is the tenth time this month this girl has run away.

{Snip}

I think there may have been different responses had this been posted on the Adoptive and Foster Parents board.
I agree. I've never fostered an older child but I have many friends who have (including you) and it's impossible to know what's really going on from a casual encounter.
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