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A foster child came to me asking for help... - Page 3

post #41 of 70
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.

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.
post #42 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by momo7 View Post
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.
It doesnt make sense though. People are acting like the OP saw an act of abuse and that she should report it. THe little girl said she was going to meet her caseworker right? so if the child didnt show up, wouldnt the caseworker just go to the foster home? Why is the caseworker meeting a ten yr old child on a corner somewhere instead of at the agency or in the FH? It can't hurt to follow up, i guess...but i take issue with how most posters seem to be putting this on the FM. I didnt really see anything in the OP that would make me want to report this to anyone, is it ideal that this child approached a stranger? no. but the child herself said the caseworker was already involved in the situation. So i'm not sure what else is supposed to happen.
post #43 of 70
Quote:
(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??)
Most 10 year olds aren't going to be familiar enough with the terms "foster kid" and "caseworker" to make a compelling lie to a stranger, or even be that comfortable approaching a stranger in a scenario like that, so I'm inclined to believe that she is, in fact, a foster child. Whether she was telling the truth is a different story. I also find it odd that the caseworker would be meeting her in some weird place that the child couldn't walk to.

I probably would have called the cops and let them sort it all out.
post #44 of 70
You did not do anything wrong. This girl is probably used to manipulating adults, and tried it w/ you. If the foster mom had not driven up, I would have called the police. Hopefully the girl finds the help and security and love that she needs, but there was nothing you could offer to her.
post #45 of 70
It seems a lot of people think that the girl's caseworker was A. expecting her and B. standing out on a corner somewhere.

I didn't really get that. Many times when I get directions to someplace, I'll be told it "at the corner of Broadway and Main". Its a pretty common way for someone to give directions. Is it possible that the caseworker's office building is in the location or general vicinity? Also, when she said she "had to meet someone" I didn't get the idea that the someone was waiting for her. She was running away. If the caseworker KNEW she was running away, she'd presumably have told the kid to stay put and come to her. It really not uncommon for someone in need of help to say they need to meet with someone whom they think can help them. I've worked jobs where I've had to screen the boss's calls because everyone thinks they have an appointment whether its true or not. I'm sure a 9 year old girl might think she could just walk into the caseworkers office and the caseworker would be waiting for her. And, she probably could. I mean, if I was a caseworker and a kid showed up unannounced at my office, you can bet I'd let them in no matter how busy I was. I guess I'm not getting any indication that the caseworker actually knew the girl was coming, and therefor would have no reason to be suspicious when she didn't show up.

I agree with most of the others, I'd either have called the police, or asked for the caseworker's number from the girl and called that. Not because I'd suspect the foster parents of abuse, but because the kid is a run away and there's obviously something going on that someone needs to look into. Not to mention, if the child IS a foster kid, she's a ward of the state and the state needs to know her whereabouts and what is going on. And, if it was my own young child who ran away/went missing, I'd hope that if someone located her, they'd contact the proper authorities. Once the foster mother showed up, I'm not sure what I would have done. Since the girl clearly stated she did not want to go with her, and was afraid of being in trouble, I'd probably have still called the cops. If nothing is going on, then they can sort it out, if something is going on, then they are in a better position to get everyone the necessary help.
post #46 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post
It doesnt make sense though. People are acting like the OP saw an act of abuse and that she should report it. THe little girl said she was going to meet her caseworker right? so if the child didnt show up, wouldnt the caseworker just go to the foster home? Why is the caseworker meeting a ten yr old child on a corner somewhere instead of at the agency or in the FH? It can't hurt to follow up, i guess...but i take issue with how most posters seem to be putting this on the FM. I didnt really see anything in the OP that would make me want to report this to anyone, is it ideal that this child approached a stranger? no. but the child herself said the caseworker was already involved in the situation. So i'm not sure what else is supposed to happen.
It's only hypothetical anyway.....like I said before.....if anyone of us was put in the same situation who really knows what we would do.....I would LIKE to believe I could do what is right..but in a situation like that....really what is the right thing to do? Who do you believe and how do you know what is really going on? I guess you don't, you just try and go with your gut and hope it's the best thing.

I think the OP did a great job, with the information that was given to her. At least she made an effort and that's more than a lot of people do at all.
post #47 of 70
I would not drop it. I would not call the case worker. I would call CPS and make an official report. It does not have to be investigated based only on a report to a worker. Technically, it has to go through CPS.

I believe the girl because of the way the supposed foster mom spoke to her. Anyone who is decent with children would have at least acknowledged your presence. If she is not abusing the child, then she will be cleared. If she is abusing the child, then she will probably be cleared anyway. But you need to call. I feel you are very obligated to call. That woman did not not get out of the car to be non confrontational. When she made the remark about you caused enough trouble for people today, she was quite accusing to the little girl. Just because the little girl is a foster child does not mean she is manipulative or the one in the wrong. In fact, there is a much higher rate of abuse amongst foster parents than biological parents. I am not saying all foster parents are bad, I am just saying abuse still happens.

I hope you do the right thing and make an official report.
post #48 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 can see you already called. Next step, I would call the county child and family services. They usually break down by the county. Chances are, she is from some place in the county. If they only check the county, they should give them a small enough number of kids to work from and check out. Or maybe even just one. Do you have a description of the car? It would be good to have the license plate, but it is too late for that now. Maybe though, if you made a police report, there would be security tapes, but I have a feeling the police would not care enough about a foster child to help her like that. Seriously.
post #49 of 70
BTW, I do think you did a great job with what you had. I feel so bad for that little girl. From the way the foster mother spoke to her, I am guessing that she is far worse at home, when people are not watching.
post #50 of 70
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.

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.
When you say kids can be manipulatives..or do you mean foster kids specifically? Because if you are making an attack on foster kids, I really resent that. The only blanket statement we know about foster kids is that they are a victim of something, either the system, or their parents. I do not approve of the blame the victim mentality. If she had RAD, I doubt she would have been in a foster home with a foster mom driving around speaking to her that way, she likely would have been in a therapeutic home and it would have been police looking for her, not just some woman who speaks to her in this way.

I think you need to be a bit more careful in generalizations you might make about foster kids.
post #51 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
When you say kids can be manipulatives..or do you mean foster kids specifically? Because if you are making an attack on foster kids, I really resent that. The only blanket statement we know about foster kids is that they are a victim of something, either the system, or their parents. I do not approve of the blame the victim mentality. If she had RAD, I doubt she would have been in a foster home with a foster mom driving around speaking to her that way, she likely would have been in a therapeutic home and it would have been police looking for her, not just some woman who speaks to her in this way.

I think you need to be a bit more careful in generalizations you might make about foster kids.
Hmmm. So kids with RAD arent in foster homes but therapeutic homes? Therapeutic homes ARE foster homes...?? Certainly children with severe behaviors may land in an RTC (treatment center) but the goal is always the least restrictive environment, a home environment if at all possible. And kids with RAD arent always diagnosed. Plus, a child doesnt have to have RAD in order to display really difficult behaviors.

Its not "kids" vs "foster kids"...if you know anything at all about attachment you know that children who suffer neglect in the early years of life (esp the first year) are at great risk of developing issues later on...whether these kids end up in FHs due to abuse/neglect by the bio parents, or continue to be raised in a neglectful bio home is beside the point. I was merely addressing the poster who said that no child would just approach a stranger like that. My child certainly would. She may or may not have RAD (she is not diagnosed with it), but she absolutely has no boundaries when it comes to speaking to strangers in fact putting a show on for strangers in public is one of her favorite things to do.

I guess our experiences color our perception of things...my daughter told a family friend over and over how my 2 yr old son chased her around with a butcher knife and tried to kill her. Seriously. So its well within my realm of reality to believe a 10 yr old would put on a show of being scared of the Big Bad Foster Mom for a stranger. I'm not saying that IS what is going on, i'm just saying that people tend to jump to conclusions.

Are you a former foster child? if so sorry if a touched a nerve. But i'm a foster and adoptive parent and yeah i get a little irritated when immediately the idea is "ohh foster parent...she's probably abusing the girl!"...I'll have to go reread the OP, but i'm not sure what you mean by the fp "talking to her like that"...if my dd ran away (luckily she doesnt have that particular issue), was talking up some stranger to try to get a ride, then looked all scared when i showed up after looking for her for hours (ONE possible scenario with the OP's situation) you BET i'd be pissed, not be taking any crap, might not acknowledge the stranger, but rather would say "get.in.the.car.now!" and yeah, when we got home there would be plenty of consequences esp of this was repeat behavior.

Now, if the parent cussed the little girl out then dragged her by the arm and threw her into the car or something....well thats a whole different scene entirely!
post #52 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
I think you need to be a bit more careful in generalizations you might make about foster kids.
BTW, my opinions come from my experiences with foster children i have parented, the experiences of my friends who are foster parents, online support groups and loads of reading about children affected by grief/loss/trauma etc. Its not like i'm just pulling these views out of my rear with nothing to back it up. Certainly not all foster children have major issues, probably not even "most"...but it is reality for some children and the people who are in the trenches parenting them.
post #53 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
When you say kids can be manipulatives..or do you mean foster kids specifically? Because if you are making an attack on foster kids, I really resent that. The only blanket statement we know about foster kids is that they are a victim of something, either the system, or their parents. I do not approve of the blame the victim mentality. If she had RAD, I doubt she would have been in a foster home with a foster mom driving around speaking to her that way, she likely would have been in a therapeutic home and it would have been police looking for her, not just some woman who speaks to her in this way.

I think you need to be a bit more careful in generalizations you might make about foster kids.

Thank you for saying what I could not formulate into words. These were my general thoughts as well.

I know there are many good foster parents here on MDC, but casting doubt on one foster parent doesn't mean that I think all foster parents are bad. I don't think that at all, but I am suspicious of that particular foster mother's treatment to a child. That little girl may or may not be manipulating. It's not right to lump all children into the same mold and everyone does deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Queenjane throws out the idea that maybe the girl has RAD. It's an assumption so it may or may not be the truth. I guess my point is that what if the little girl is completely normal and has been placed in a bad home? THAT is possible. It happens, we know it happens, so what is wrong with making the assumption that she really does need help, instead of making the assumption that she has another outlying (no pun intended) problem and ignoring her?
post #54 of 70
I think folks are over-thinking this situation. The OP had a gut level feeling that the situation wasn't right. She's right-it wasn't. A 10 y/o asking a stranger for help getting somewhere, at a gas station is enough. She wasn't safe in that situation. End of story.

It doesn't matter what her motivations were, whether she has RAD, whether kids in the system can learn to manipulate in order to get their needs met, whether she was a habitual runaway......none of it matters. She wasn't safe, period, which warrents a call to the police. You deal with the most pressing issue first-young girl asking a stranger for help. Everything else can be addressed later, but safety is always first. This was a child potentially at risk for exploitation.
post #55 of 70
Any closure?

I don't want to get tangled in the drama, but if this happened to me, I would have done the same thing you did. Kinda stand there and wonder what to do until foster mom showed up.

In the event foster mom didn't show up, I would have started making phone calls, first to the case worker (which can be a nightmare to call DJFS (what my county calls the caseworker place) but when you say, I have so and so standing in a gas station with no parent, saying she's meeting the case worker. If DJFS was a bust I would call the cops.

Like PP mentioned, gas station+10 year old alone = no good. I would be more concerned with getting her into safe hands since she fell into mine. What if she asked a creep to take her to the meeting next? Would she ever get there?
post #56 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
I think folks are over-thinking this situation. The OP had a gut level feeling that the situation wasn't right. She's right-it wasn't. A 10 y/o asking a stranger for help getting somewhere, at a gas station is enough. She wasn't safe in that situation. End of story.

It doesn't matter what her motivations were, whether she has RAD, whether kids in the system can learn to manipulate in order to get their needs met, whether she was a habitual runaway......none of it matters. She wasn't safe, period, which warrents a call to the police. You deal with the most pressing issue first-young girl asking a stranger for help. Everything else can be addressed later, but safety is always first. This was a child potentially at risk for exploitation.
Absolutely this.

I don't understand anyone who could look at the basics of this situation and say there was nothing to act on, or who would suggest that this 10 yr old is "used to manipulating adults" so therefore there's nothing to do. The above post says it all: 10 yr old alone at a gas station asking a stranger for help is absolutey a bad situation (and a potentially disasterous situation in the making, given that pimps and other exploiters of children all over the country are looking for children in exactly that type of situation).

Btw to whoever said that in their area CPS has nothing to do with foster children in private foster homes, I'd be interested to know which state you live in (or maybe you're not in the US?). I've worked closely with ACF (federal child welfare agency in the US) and in every state in the U.S., a child removed from their family because of abuse and neglect, no matter what type of foster home they're placed in (private agency, private institution, public institution, CPS foster home) they are ALL still in the legal and physical custody of the state agency and therefore, CPS is involved. By definition. So calling CPS/the child's caseworker should be the same thing in every state. The child might also have a caseworker at the private agency (and usually they do), but there is always a CPS caseworker who is supposed to be monitoring how that child is doing and who needs to know if a child is not doing well. 10 yr olds running away = not doing well, even if the foster parent is awesome and the child running has nothing to do with problems in the home. It's still something CPS needs to know because maybe there's more they need to be doing for this child.

Are you sure it's different in your state?
post #57 of 70
I probably would have called the police... although not because I'm making any assumptions about anything that may or may not be going on in the foster home.

The only facts we have are a 10yo little girl, claiming to be a foster child, asking a complete stranger for a ride to somewhere.

Doesn't mean there is abuse going on anywhere, doesn't mean the child has any kind of mental health issues, it just means that in that moment... the child is not safe. And IMO, the police are the best ones to get involved when immediate safety is at risk.
post #58 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by momo7 View Post
I don't think that at all, but I am suspicious of that particular foster mother's treatment to a child
What did the FM say or do in that situation that would cause you to have concern?
post #59 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanniesue2 View Post

The only facts we have are a 10yo little girl, claiming to be a foster child, asking a complete stranger for a ride to somewhere.

Doesn't mean there is abuse going on anywhere, doesn't mean the child has any kind of mental health issues, it just means that in that moment... the child is not safe. And IMO, the police are the best ones to get involved when immediate safety is at risk.
I totally agree that before the parent showed up, one possible logical response would be to call the police. Once the mom showed up and the child acknowledged it was indeed her mother....would you still have called police?
post #60 of 70
I could see calling the police if the child's foster mother hadn't shown up to take her home but not after that. Same as if the child's biological parent has come to get her. Unless there was something more than the OP described.
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