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.
mmm...well.....there is THAT side as well, but you know I think I'd rather be wrong about someone than take the chance and the opposite happen. Yeah, I know kids play you...I have nine children of my own that TRY do it all the time... but this little girl was asking for help and there is just no way I would let it pass without at least TRYING to help her.
How many kids have had people make that kind of judgment (the whole "she must be playing me" idea) about them and they do absolutely nothing about it, and then it turns out they were wrong? I know it's not an overwhelming amount, it's probably not even a medium amount....but I'd rather be played by a kid (who probably does it as a survival instinct anyway) than to be part of their problem.
We don't know what this little girl's situation was...but I choose to give the benefit of the doubt and then hope that I AM wrong.