my nieces and nephew are going into foster care... - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 28 Old 11-13-2007, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know what I can do.

I live in Las Vegas, the rest of my family lives in Massachusetts, where I am originally from. I am a married SAHM with a nearly 1 yo, my husband has a good job here, and we just bought our first home in April.

My sister, who has 3 kids, a 10 yo girl and 9 yo boy/girl twins, has been in trouble most of her adult life. She is younger than me. She has had problems being addicted to prescription drugs and with shoplifting, and she was arrested last November and spent a couple of months in jail. At that time, her children were taken and our dad and stepmom (our parents have been divorced for over 10 years and are both remarried) became the kids' foster parents. When my sister got out of jail, she was doing really well and went back to working for my dad (he owns several Subway sandwich stores). She was supposed to get her kids back during the summer,before school started again. Well, she got mad at my dad over soemthing and quit coming in to work, so he decided she must be on drugs again and reported that to her CPS social worker. They immediately stopped my sister's visits (by that time, she was taking them for extended overnights, etc). She went a little berserk and was coming to my dad's house yelling at him, and went down to CPS yelling, which wasn't good. She was taking all sorts of drug tests for probation anyway, which proved she was never back on drugs, but her CPS caseworker kept saying he hadn't recieved them. Finally, she was granted once weekly supervised visits at CPS.

Now, since it has been almost a year that they have been in foster care and with no sign of letting them go back to my sister, CPS says that if my dad does not take guardianship of them or adopt them, they will have to be separated and placed out to new foster families. My dad is willing to keep them if they can stay foster with him...but he does not want the permanent responsibility of adopting them. But CPS says no they can't do that.

My mom will not take them (LONG story, but suffice it to say it just isn't an option).

Would CPS let ME take them, here to Las Vegas? I would take them, but I just can't uproot our entire life and move to Massachusetts where my husband would have no job, to adopt 3 more children. If they could come here, I could make it work. But I have no idea if this would fly. I plan to call the CPS caseworker tomorrow, but I was just wondering if anyone here knew anything about something like this.

I can't let them be broken up and go to strangers...they have already been through so much. And the oldest...she is like my own baby in many ways...I still remember holding her in the hospital when she was born, and we have always been very close even though I moved so far away when she was only a year old...I can't let this happen to them if there is a chance I can help. :

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#2 of 28 Old 11-13-2007, 10:26 PM
 
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oh wow! i have no actual information or advice, but just wanted to give you a big .

i would really think that they would let you take them to las vegas though. i hope they do.

more

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#3 of 28 Old 11-13-2007, 10:26 PM
 
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Hire a lawyer that specializes in custody cases?? That's what I would do, but I haven't been in a situation like this. Good luck!
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#4 of 28 Old 11-13-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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What an awful situation! I'm crossing my fingers that they'll let you take them - maybe you can move there for a while, then move back again? I don't know anything about how your system works in the U.S., but it sounds like life has been difficult enough for your sister's children already, and to be split and removed from their family would be a disaster for them. I know taking on three extra kids probably is an enormous task for you, but it doesn't really sound like there are many other options. Good luck, I hope it works out for you all!
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#5 of 28 Old 11-13-2007, 10:38 PM
 
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I think you should call the worker ASAP and let her know you are interested. It can happen. I think you have a good chance of having them come to you since they are a year into it and your sister hasn't made much progress. Moving the kids far away isn't going to hurt reunification much since she's not doing her part- KWIM. Kinship is MUCH better than outright foster home.

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#6 of 28 Old 11-13-2007, 10:40 PM
 
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I don't have any advice but I'm sending love to you, your sister, and her children and hoping for a resolution that will keep everyone together.
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#7 of 28 Old 11-13-2007, 10:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by angelachristin View Post
Now, since it has been almost a year that they have been in foster care and with no sign of letting them go back to my sister, CPS says that if my dad does not take guardianship of them or adopt them, they will have to be separated and placed out to new foster families.

Sounds like bs to me. Your dad needs representation at court. It's really up to the judge, not cps.
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#8 of 28 Old 11-13-2007, 10:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
Sounds like bs to me. Your dad needs representation at court. It's really up to the judge, not cps.

I agree he needs representation. CPS can move the kids any time they want for whatever reason. If the children are not going home with the bio parent they will need a permanency plan and foster home placement does not count as a permanent plan for a child.

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#9 of 28 Old 11-13-2007, 10:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by angelachristin View Post
I . My dad is willing to keep them if they can stay foster with him...but he does not want the permanent responsibility of adopting them. But CPS says no they can't do that.
Tough situation all around. Seems odd that grandad isn't allowed to keep kids as foster kids. I am aware of a situation in CT where aunt/uncle are permanent foster parents to their neice. Can your dad go see a judge in the case? The caseworker should have input but not ultimate decision.

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#10 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 12:12 AM
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My dad is willing to keep them if they can stay foster with him...but he does not want the permanent responsibility of adopting them. But CPS says no they can't do that.
Guardianship. Tell your Dad that he needs to look into legal guardianship.
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#11 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 12:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by angelachristin View Post
Now, since it has been almost a year that they have been in foster care and with no sign of letting them go back to my sister, CPS says that if my dad does not take guardianship of them or adopt them, they will have to be separated and placed out to new foster families. My dad is willing to keep them if they can stay foster with him...but he does not want the permanent responsibility of adopting them. But CPS says no they can't do that.
:: There's really not a lot more I can say without violating the UA. Good luck to you. I don't have any advice. Be prepared though - if you choose to go through with this - you could be in for a long battle and several trips to Massachusetts. In some places CPS is wonderful. In others, it is hell. Your post makes it seem like CPS there is the latter. I'm wishing you lots of good luck.
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#12 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 12:23 AM
 
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It shouldn't be a problem. My mom took my niece and nephew from New Jersey and she lives in Wyoming. I would just talk to their worker and hopefully you can work something out. If you can have them, you will probably have to go get them. My mom had to.

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#13 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 02:44 AM
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If you are willing to be a permanent home for these children, it is possible to get them moved from another state, they do it for adoptions. You have to have the homestudy and everything all done in the state you are in, and it can all take months before the children are transfered to you. If I remember right they do something called an Interstate compact or something.
Anyways, taking on three extra children can be a very stressful adn expensive thing, many states will also cut off the childrens stripend once they move out of state, money that would help you to feed and cloth three extra little kids.
You Dad doesn't have to adopt them to keep them in the home, he can become legal guardian, if he does that things pretty much will stay as they are for the kids and he will have the last word in thier education and medical matters plus they will continue to give the children finacial aid just like the foster care payments and Medicaid.
If he adopts all three chances are they will give him adoption assistance, and there would be no cost for the adoption. (they make you write a check and then they refund the money once it's all finalized)
If he adopted, the mother would not be able to come back later and petition the court to got the children back, even if she cleaned up her life, the childrens lifes would be more stable and he could decide how much contact if any they have with their mom.
It a tough position to be in.
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#14 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 12:03 PM
 
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I think it depends on what state your dad's in as far as permanent foster placement vs. adoption. Lots of relatives can't afford to *adopt* their relatives, and fostering them just leads to the permanency plan issue. Some states have something called "kinship care," which recognizes the problem and allows long-term fostering by relatives without losing the stipend.
If you're willing to adopt them, I seriously doubt the social services folks are going to farm them out instead just because you're out of state.
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#15 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 07:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alicia622 View Post
I agree he needs representation. CPS can move the kids any time they want for whatever reason. If the children are not going home with the bio parent they will need a permanency plan and foster home placement does not count as a permanent plan for a child.
No, but this is kinship care.
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#16 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 08:01 PM
 
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If you want to adopt the kids, CPS will let them move out of state after you're okayed for the adoption. It takes an interstate compact, and those can take months. But they're worth it. The compact makes it clear whether the state of origin or the state of residence holds responsibility for medicaid and monthly stipends.

Your dad can look into guardianship or kinship care. Tell him to go talk to the worker in person and ask about a way to keep the kids. If he doesn't get help there, talk to the supervisor. If he doesn't want to keep the kids permanently, I'd say you're the best bet. Kids who have been in and out of foster care at that age are really hard. Really, really hard. I don't think I could adopt three kids without some kind of state sponsored health care, either. Those children will need tons of counseling which the state should fund.

Good luck!
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#17 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 08:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
No, but this is kinship care.
I know it's kinship care but it's also foster care the state is likely paying a monthly board rate for. They want to move kids off the foster care books.

That's why they are pushing the family to look into guardianship- so they can stop paying for their care. Maine, where I am, has a newer program called subsidized guardianship that would be very helpful in this case.

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#18 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 09:02 PM
 
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#19 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 11:29 PM
 
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Dh and I adopted my brother and sister after my mother was no longer able to care for the children. My other two siblings went to my sister who is a couple years younger than I am. It was a hard decision, but definitely the best one for them. The foster homes they were in mentally,emotionally and physically abused the children. My brothers and sisters were always treated like second class citizens. So, needless to say, we wanted to do everything in our power to get them out of there and into our care. We started out doing kinship, but the social worker leaned on us to do something more permanent like adoption. Here in the state of Wisconsin, there are special needs adoption funds available to help with raising the children. Adopting siblings is also considered special needs. I know it's not about the money, but the funds have helped us secure the future of these kids for after they turn 18. It's worth checking into. It's a difficult decision to make....Take Care

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#20 of 28 Old 11-14-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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Without reading all the other replies...

Yes, as a family member you DO have standing as far as taking the children. You should call the children's worker ASAP, and then follow it up in writing. It couldnt hurt to find out who the lawyer (GAL...Guardian Ad Litem)for the kids is, and talk to him or her. Make it clear you are willing to take them (if you are)...they will tell you what you need to do in order to qualify to take them. And if you need an adoption homestudy, you will likely be able to get that done free of charge through an agency in your state (my agency doesnt charge for homestudies if you are adopting a state ward, no matter what state the child is in.)

Dont let them fall through the cracks...the worker may be overworked, she may not want to go through all the hassle of ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children...the agreement both states have to transfer responsibility for the kids)....or s/he may be delighted that a family member is willing to step forward and take the kids. But you may have to fight for them.


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#21 of 28 Old 11-15-2007, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies, everyone. This morning my mom spoke to my dad about helping him out with the children more, too. Which is really, really good.

Basically, what it comes down to is what a lot of PPs have said...it's money. It seems like CPS is pressuring my dad to do guardianship or adoption so that they can get them out of the foster care system and stop making the montly payments. Well, not only does my dad not want the permanent responsibility, but he needs that monthly stipend to care for them. I mean, it's 3 preteens, they are expensive! They have a hearing tomorrow, and based on what happens at that hearing, I will have to decide whether or not I will offer to take them. I would take them in a heartbeat...but again, if I were to adopt them, I wouldn't get any assistance, and I have no idea how we could afford to take care of them, in all honesty. We can barely make ends meet as it is (and often, ends DON'T meet, lately). It seems from what I heard today that it is pretty likely my dad will keep them for now. So let's all pray that when it's all said and done tomorrow he still has them. Thanks again everyone.

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#22 of 28 Old 11-15-2007, 03:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by angelachristin View Post
Basically, what it comes down to is what a lot of PPs have said...it's money. It seems like CPS is pressuring my dad to do guardianship or adoption so that they can get them out of the foster care system and stop making the montly payments. .
I don't really understand this....these children should qualify for adoption subsidy, regardless who adopts them. It should be the same amount that they are receiving in foster care. Check out this link:

http://www.nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy...achusetts.html

That lists the subsidy criteria for the state of MA.

It also mentions something about "subsidized guardianship"...your dad *should* be able to become the permanent legal guardian for the kids, without adopting them, and still receive subsidy. It makes no sense that they would give a complete stranger a subsidy, if they adopt the kids, but not family.

Please have your dad (or you yourself) talk to someone who really knows their "stuff" when it comes to subsidy. You might even want to call NACAC yourself, or the Dave Thomas Foundation or someone. I dont think you are getting the correct info here, i think they are trying to get your dad to take the kids without subsidy....he should not agree to it, he can fight for what is owed.


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#23 of 28 Old 11-15-2007, 08:18 AM
 
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From the link QJ posted above. Encourage your parents to find someone to help them kick the social workers butt into gear...they should have been informed of this option.

14. Does Massachusetts operate a subsidized guardianship program?

Yes. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides a state funded guardianship subsidy for children who are placed with an approved resource, in the custody of the Department and sponsored by The Department of Social Services. The program is administered through the Adoption Subsidy Unit. The child must be under the age of 18, continue to reside with the guardian that was sponsored by the Department. Annual re-evaluations are sent to the approved family. These forms must be sent back prior to the annual renewal date indicated on the form.

The amount of the subsidy is based on the needs of the child and cannot be more than the child would have received in family-based foster care. Health insurance is provided through the MassHealth program for children residing in Massachusetts. There are no transferable provisions for healthcare insurance should the family move out of state.

Application is made through the child’s social worker. The applications must be submitted to the subsidy administrator prior to the court legalization date. The Department will not provide a subsidy for any guardianship that was not sponsored by the Department of Social Services.

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#24 of 28 Old 11-15-2007, 01:27 PM
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If you took the kids to Vegas would you be willing to assist your sister in moving to Vegas as well, and supporting her transition, so that they are not completely separated from their mother, with no chance of visitation? Or do you think that she should not see her kids at all?
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#25 of 28 Old 11-15-2007, 01:31 PM
 
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Call their social worker. My family is also in MA and my siblings in foster care. My MIL is in the process of getting two of my younger siblings, one is here already. I think its called an interstate compact? That they do. But it is possible. My MIL also recieves a money to help care for him. Her ultimate goal is to adopt them though so im not sure if that makes a difference.
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#26 of 28 Old 11-15-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by angelachristin View Post
I don't know what I can do.

I live in Las Vegas, the rest of my family lives in Massachusetts, where I am originally from. I am a married SAHM with a nearly 1 yo, my husband has a good job here, and we just bought our first home in April.

My sister, who has 3 kids, a 10 yo girl and 9 yo boy/girl twins, has been in trouble most of her adult life. She is younger than me. She has had problems being addicted to prescription drugs and with shoplifting, and she was arrested last November and spent a couple of months in jail. At that time, her children were taken and our dad and stepmom (our parents have been divorced for over 10 years and are both remarried) became the kids' foster parents. When my sister got out of jail, she was doing really well and went back to working for my dad (he owns several Subway sandwich stores). She was supposed to get her kids back during the summer,before school started again. Well, she got mad at my dad over soemthing and quit coming in to work, so he decided she must be on drugs again and reported that to her CPS social worker. They immediately stopped my sister's visits (by that time, she was taking them for extended overnights, etc). She went a little berserk and was coming to my dad's house yelling at him, and went down to CPS yelling, which wasn't good. She was taking all sorts of drug tests for probation anyway, which proved she was never back on drugs, but her CPS caseworker kept saying he hadn't recieved them. Finally, she was granted once weekly supervised visits at CPS.

Now, since it has been almost a year that they have been in foster care and with no sign of letting them go back to my sister, CPS says that if my dad does not take guardianship of them or adopt them, they will have to be separated and placed out to new foster families. My dad is willing to keep them if they can stay foster with him...but he does not want the permanent responsibility of adopting them. But CPS says no they can't do that.

My mom will not take them (LONG story, but suffice it to say it just isn't an option).

Would CPS let ME take them, here to Las Vegas? I would take them, but I just can't uproot our entire life and move to Massachusetts where my husband would have no job, to adopt 3 more children. If they could come here, I could make it work. But I have no idea if this would fly. I plan to call the CPS caseworker tomorrow, but I was just wondering if anyone here knew anything about something like this.

I can't let them be broken up and go to strangers...they have already been through so much. And the oldest...she is like my own baby in many ways...I still remember holding her in the hospital when she was born, and we have always been very close even though I moved so far away when she was only a year old...I can't let this happen to them if there is a chance I can help. :
I really hope you can. Your sister and her children would be better off with your love and support. I hope you can take them and that your sister moves out to LV to regain custody of them.
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#27 of 28 Old 11-15-2007, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you took the kids to Vegas would you be willing to assist your sister in moving to Vegas as well, and supporting her transition, so that they are not completely separated from their mother, with no chance of visitation? Or do you think that she should not see her kids at all?
Before all of this mess happened, with her getting arrested, I have offered before that she could bring her kids (when she still had them) and come live with us so that she could try to get a fresh start, away from her ex-husband and ex-SIL, who are also drug addicts and bad influences.

Now, honestly, I am sort of leery because when she is using, like most users, she is just scary to be around, and I have to say I don't want her around my baby. When I visited family in MA over the summer, she kept saying things like she was going to steal my baby and when we were all posing for a family picture, she got mad because I wouldn't let her hold Jackson in the picture. I told her, "He's my baby, I want to hold him," and she kept saying, "No, he's not your baby, he's MY baby." It might sound like no big deal, but it was scary. She is scary. I want my sister to get better, but she scares me and I don't want her near Jackson. She's also done a lot of screwed up stuff to me, like when she got arrested in November, she initially told the cops she was me, and gave them my name and social security #, which she has had memorized since I was in college. She has done this lots of times. I probably have a criminal record in MA. But that's a whole other issue.

THANK YOU to the pp with that link. I saw that they qualify as special needs due to being a sibling group of 3 or more and also on another point being over the age of 8, so that's great. I'm going to send that info on to my dad. Their case was not heard today due to the children's GAL being unavailalbe, so nothing will be decided until January.

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#28 of 28 Old 11-15-2007, 09:39 PM
 
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Location: 44° 48' N 68° 50' W
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Thinking of you.

It's good nothing will happen till January. That gives you all time to make a plan that will really work. I wouldn't be too concerned about the relationship with their mother if they do end up coming to you. You have time to work that all out in the time to come. It's also nice they won't have to make a big move (whether to your house in another state or worse, to a stranger foster home) during the holiday season.

Alicia DH Mike DS Gage Lola & Zeus Fishy Dishy, Charkey and Shark
RIP Sidney 1994-2010 RIP Charlie Brown 2008-2010
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