Foster parent and abuse...what would you do? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 5 Old 12-28-2009, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if this is the right area for this...sorry if it's wrong. I'm wondering what you would do, how you would handle this situation.

I am very good friends with a couple who provided foster care (they no longer do foster care). I have known them for years (about 20 years). I have always known them to be a nice, caring couple. They have 4 children of their own and have fostered many children over the years. I have always been close to the children as well as the parents, spending many weekends with the family and camping/vacationing together. I have always been an extention of their family.

Recently one of their grown daughters contacted me and asked to talk to me. She told me that she's in counseling because her Dad sexually and physically abused her while she was growing up. I am glad that she trusted me with this information. I have to say my first thought was "really?" but I do believe her. I see no reason why she would make this up. I have to admit that I can't imagine my friend doing what she claims, but I believe her.

I feel so bad that this abuse was going on and I had no clue. I feel bad that something so horrible was happening and she didn't come to me and felt that she had to hide it. I also hate that I trusted this man (and woman...Mom supposedly knew what was going on and did nothing) and mostly I hate that this man was trusted to care for children who have already gone through so much. I know there was one time when a foster child filed an abuse report against the Dad, but nothing was done as the foster child was known to make up stories. Now I wonder if something really did happen with her and were there others?

I haven't talked with my "friends" since their daughter talked to me. I don't want to be around them. I am there for the daughter and supporting her...but feel that I need to do more. What can I do? What should I do?
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#2 of 5 Old 12-28-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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If they no longer do foster care and there are no underage children in their care, I'm not really sure what you CAN do outside of being supportive to their daughter that is entrusting you (because it sounds like you don't mind being in that position).

But maybe someone else has more info.

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#3 of 5 Old 12-28-2009, 04:13 PM
 
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How long has it been since they stopped doing care?

If it were me, I would support the daughter as I could, but honestly I would really urge her to report this. It's not too late. Even if she lives in a statute of limitation state for sexual abuse, the system should be notified that there's been a 2nd complaint. That way any kids left in the system at least the workers might know that there might be a valid complaint if it comes up in the future.

And I think the risk is too great if this goes unreported...presumably eventually this guy will have grandchildren, might do other things related to kids.

I think as adults we have an ethical obligation to report things that we couldn't do as children because it wasn't safe and we were dependent on those who did the abuse.

So honestly, that's the discussion I'd have with the daughter. What she does with it is up to her. But I'm glad that A) you listened, B) you believed, and C) she felt safe enough to tell you. I hope that she will find the strength to take the next step, but even if that never happens, I hope you continue to love and support her. How horrible. I can't imagine what horrible betrayal she must have felt--not only because her father violated her and her mother covered for him, but also because the system which is supposed to check things out never caught on. That's a horrible lesson for a child to learn growing up, and hard thing to overcome that mistrust that anyone will do anything.
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#4 of 5 Old 12-28-2009, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's been quite a while since they stopped doing foster care...at least 10 years. The daughter (who is now 30) is in counseling. She's tried confronting her parents, but they place the blame on her. I don't know if she'll file an acutual report or not.

What do I do about our friendship? I haven't talked to them since their daughter shared with me. I don't want to see them or be friends with them anymore. I might have been willing to hear their side of the story if it wasn't for them now saying the abuse was their daughters fault and putting stipulations on when/where/what can be said in talks with their daughter. Would you confront them? Let them know that you know? So far they haven't denied the abuse to anyone (another daughter and their son confronted them as well as the Dad's sister)

I'm hurt and angry! These people are like family to me. I'm closer to them than my own siblings!!!!
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#5 of 5 Old 12-31-2009, 11:14 PM
 
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I would strongly urge her to report it. People who sexually abuse children don't just stop. Just because they no longer foster doesn't mean he isn't volunteering to teach swimming at the y, or teaching sunday school, or helping special needs children, or in some way gaining access to children.

He needs to be reported and stopped. If it's true he needs to be prosecuted and spend time in prison. Period.
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