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DHS Retailiation against foster parents - myth or reality?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm on the fence about filing a complaint with DHS (Michigan) regarding the egregious mistakes that have been made with my two foster children's case.  Two different people, from private agencies, have warned me that retaliation is very likely and DHS could really hinder the adoption process.  Has anybody had any experience with this? 

post #2 of 12
Is it something the GAL can address for you? You always have the right to make a complaint and advocate for the children, and I find it very immature for the private agencies to try to use scare tactics when it comes to the safety of the children. The state of MI needs to get their act together. They are already resolving a lawsuit and if they don't knock it off they are going to have more. My friend is also going through a bizarre placement situation right now that is just so screwed up it makes my head hurt.
post #3 of 12

It can and does happen, but not always. However, I have been through it. Had to testify against a DFS worker in court on a totally non child related issue. We lost our foster kids when were just a few months away from finalization. Almost lost our natural kids as well. We ended up moving out of state. I would look at the relationship between the courts and DHS. In our situation they were all in bed together. If that's not the case, you might come out ok. Different state, different situation so hard to say what could happen in your case.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the replies.  My kid's LGAL is as uninvolved as possible.  I can't even get him to come see the kids in our home.  I had an appointment with him for next week and his secretary just called to cancel, UGH!  I spoke to another person today who told me to just sit back and wait for the TPR hearing (which has been adjourned THREE times!)  The consensus seems to be DHS is not required to be accountable.
 

post #5 of 12

Well i can only tell you my experience with a private agency (not DHS)...my friends were adopting a sib group of three and had been doing pre placement visits for SIX MONTHS with these young kids. To the point where the kids would stay for ten days and go back to the foster home for an overnight, then back to my friends. They were like days away from signing adoption consents when the agency decided they "werent a good fit for the kids after all." This was after months of my friends bringing concerns to the attention of the worker/agency...they were not really complaining about the foster home but when the children would show up with marks they would report them to the worker (not pointing fingers just saying Child showed up with marks around her neck, here's an emailed pic just so you know...that sort of thing)....but it seemed like whenever they would say anything they were "punished" by visits being postponed for a week or two. The children were kind of neglected when they came to my friends, youngest clearly had dev delays (likely environmental), middle child significant emotional issues and yet these kids were not in therapy or having any kind of interventions. When the oldest child told my friends he got beat by a belt in the foster home, they reported it. they did not feel they could return the children to the fh knowing corporal punishment (with a belt no less) was used unless the agency gave the go ahead...then CPS got involved...it was a mess. They didnt even get to say goodbye to the kids. They complained to the children's ombudsman, the state guardian's office got involved (i forget the actual term)....but in the end the state sided with the agency. The agency, ironically, ended up on provisional status shortly thereafter, a bunch of people lost their jobs, and the agency was prohibited from taking new children til they were off that status. And they have a terrible reputation now. I think if my friends had to do it over, they wouldnt have said a WORD and would have just gone along with whatever until those adoption consents were signed. (And, sadly, the children ended up on MARE 2.5 yrs after they could have been adopted by my friends.) 

 

So...i dont know what to tell you. Its a difficult balance...you have to advocate for your children but if you make too much noise they can punish you by snatching the kids out of your home. greensad.gif

post #6 of 12

I was 9 when this happened, so I don't know the exact details and hopefully it has changed, but: My mom was fostering an infant, we got him from 11 days old until he was at least 4 months (IIRC November through April). My understanding of what happened was that she got on someone's bad side, they found out that she had breastfed me and so believed she might be breastfeeding the foster child (she wasn't, formula only), and so had the baby taken away. I didn't know all of the details, but she had reason to believe that if she tried to fight it- they might have tried to take me away as well.

 

I really don't know what to tell you. It seems like some people in that line of work know how to work the system to make your life hell and will do so just because they don't like you. I'm certain that plenty of people, maybe even most, want to do right.

 

I hope that it works out for you. It sounds like things are really frustrating right now. You mentioned in another thread that the agency is the worst in your area. It seems like the problems you're facing are possibly delaying adoption- but if they aren't putting the kids in immediate harm's way, if it's possible it may be better to grit your teeth and deal with it...

post #7 of 12

My story is not much different than those above. Foster kids (siblings) had been in my home 2 and 4 years (they came separately). Plan was adoption by me, date was set, and all. Their other sibs had already been adopted. I fell out of favor with DHS (long story) and the kids were removed on practically no notice, and I was not allowed to contact them, although there were never any allegations of any sort against me. The kids were returned to their bio-mom, who had just lost rights to the younger two. I am happy for them, and wish them the best. But there is no way this was anything but retaliation.

post #8 of 12
The same thing happened to someone I know in Canada. She had three siblings for years and had worked through a ton of issues with them. She was going to adopt. Right at the last minute she offended someone and they were taken away. She didn't even get to say goodbye. She fought it and got no where.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for sharing.  We seem to have a real consensus here and I'm going to let it go.  As for the LGAL, ugh, he is useless and cancels every meeting I schedule with him.  You would think the SECOND time one of his clients comes back in care he might show more interest.  
 

post #10 of 12

Glad you're not going to make waves. My experience tells me that criticizing your workers or they system does zero good and has potential to harm you.

 

My experience is that they have absolutely no accountability. You can take them to court, win, and still nothing will change. You might get to keep that one kid you fought for in court, but the system doesn't change. The unfounded beliefs that harmed your kid won't change. The incompetence that harmed your kid won't change. No one will get reprimanded or fired.

 

I do think, however, that some things can be done at a higher level. You can write to your political representatives and ask them to make laws or changes to laws that address the situations of your kids and how they were harmed while in care.

 

Point is: fight for your kid if you have to, but don't try to fight the system. It's pointless.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post
 

Glad you're not going to make waves. My experience tells me that criticizing your workers or they system does zero good and has potential to harm you.

 

My experience is that they have absolutely no accountability. You can take them to court, win, and still nothing will change. You might get to keep that one kid you fought for in court, but the system doesn't change. The unfounded beliefs that harmed your kid won't change. The incompetence that harmed your kid won't change. No one will get reprimanded or fired.

 

I do think, however, that some things can be done at a higher level. You can write to your political representatives and ask them to make laws or changes to laws that address the situations of your kids and how they were harmed while in care.

 

Point is: fight for your kid if you have to, but don't try to fight the system. It's pointless.

 

Yep. My friends were ultimately "vindicated" in that the state felt that they were appropriate adoptive parents for the children. That the agency acted improperly on many points, and most likely due to this and other actions by the agency they were put on provisional status, couldnt take in more foster kids, etc...but yknow what? my friends STILL didnt get the kids back. So what was the point in it all. 

post #12 of 12

Reading the posts reinforces what I was going to recommend: Walk on eggshells until finalization then decide if you should then take action. CPS can still take the kids away at that point, but they have a much higher standard they have to reach at that point.

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