Abuse Allegations - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 02-27-2011, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to move the conversation about abuse allegations and foster care away from the old thread, since it was a topic shift.
 
Some have said that abuse allegations are overblown or that they can be dealt with by keeping as anonymous as possible.  The fear is often that the bio parents will report the foster parents.
 
My case is different, yet abuse allegations are something I worry about quite a bit.  My daughter has violent tantrums and needs to be restrain.  In the course of these tantrums, she is often bruised.  Since she has a hard time working these events out in her mind, I worry that she will tell a teacher that I caused the bruise.  Or she will hurt herself so badly we need to go to the ER.   I have often thought that as dd gets older, we should consider restraint training.  But then that would be one more strain on our already stretched family.  So we have put all of our eggs in trauma therapy and hope this will help.
 
Realistically, I get it that we have all of our ducks in a row.  Our daughter's therapist knows the situation and knows how hard we have worked to get dd all of the help she needs.  But I still worry.  There was a very highly publicized case in our state of a foster daughter who got very hurt in foster care.  She was in a coma and and the press immediately ran with the story, blaming the foster mother and the system.  Her foster mother and foster grandmother committed suicide.  Parts of the little girl's records were released and it turned out that she has a long history of self injury.  I certainly don't believe the story is so simple that the foster mother was 100% innocent.  I am sure she has a little girl who was incredibly difficult to care for and events turned bad.  But we will never know what really happened.
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#2 of 12 Old 02-27-2011, 12:33 PM
 
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I worry sometimes about allegations with my special-needs first grader, who tends to cringe away from a lot of things (it's a sensory issue AFAIK). He's got a pretty extensive medical and therapy record, which please God would be some use in getting an allegation dismissed. I also preemptively explain the issue to new teachers, etc. It's diminishing with age - but NOW he likes to make up stories about hurting or killing people he's mad at. We're working on that, but I can just imagine how the public school will react if it surfaces there. I'm very much hoping it's a transient phase. 

 

WRT foster parenting, I think anonymity is 1) never guaranteed and 2) no guarantee of protection, but there IS a difference between a suffering bioparent who thinks in terms of "the system took my kids!" and a suffering bioparent who thinks in terms of "John and Sally Smith at 123 Locust Lane have my son." The reality is, John and Sally didn't seize anybody's child, don't control what happens to anybody's child, and there is no reason for anybody but the social worker to ever interact with them - especially if the case goes to adoption and the foster home becomes the forever home. 

 

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#3 of 12 Old 02-27-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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I actually think that when safe, meeting the child's biological parents can go a long way in preventing allegations from them.  I also can't imagine not participating in team meetings with the social workers, GAL(s), bio parents, foster parents, etc. I can't imagine not going to court (to hear what's going on and to talk about the child.)  Even if you are only known as Foster Mother, instead of your real name.

 

In my daughter's case, it turned out that her birth mother made threats at the meeting and a restraining order was put in place. She never knew my address and probably didn't remember my name. But the little contact we had was invaluable. And I still clearly remember her hello/goodbye visit with the birth father she never knew. Meeting him gives me information the file never would.

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#4 of 12 Old 02-27-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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I have now had two situations where IMO the agency completely overreacted to a situation that was no big deal. When my foster son first came, he ended up with some scratches on his forehead. His skin is very dark so they looked worse than they actually were, but his bdad was all upset about it. Then a few weeks later he got ANOTHER scratch on his face, the worker said it was "a pattern" so they had to call  CPS. That investigator came out and said it was ridiculous, he's  a toddler, they get hurt. The bdad was always complaining about something, i think he felt that if he could get his son taken from ME they would just give him back. Obviously it doesnt work like that.

 

Recently, our adoption worker (who is literally fresh out of college)came out for a home visit, and went back to the agency and said my house was too messy. Granted, i have alot of stuff  (we dont have a garage, basement, or shed so i have boxes i have no where to stash but in closets, a corner of my bedroom  etc)....but she came with no notice when i had been sick for weeks. My kitchen was clean, there was no safety hazards or filth. She was upset because there was "clothes and toys on the children's rooms floor"...i mean, thats shocking?? She took some cute little anecdotes i told her about my fson and made them sound awful. I wasnt worried at all when the "special investigator" from the agency came out, becauase my house looked essentially the same as it  did the previous zillion times workers were out. I knew it wasnt going to go well when the first thing she asked me was could i move to a bigger place.  She had an issue with so many little things, like there is a closet in my sons' room that i just had boxes stored in.The closet wasnt accessible to them anyway because you have to close the bedroom door to be able to even open the closet door which is directly behind it. And they keep their clothes in dressers. But she told me i had to have a garage sale, store the stuff in someone else's house etc. She told me i had to have my  9 yr old put her small toys (like dollhouse accessories) in "latchable" containers so my 3 yr olds wouldnt be able to get to them, and when i pointed out three is old enough to not put small items in mouths, she dismissed that saying "well you never know , i'd hate for something to happen and you lose your kids!" At one point she asked me if i could even afford to adopt the children and whether i just felt obligated!!! It was awful. I had to go rent a storage space and take a bunch of stuff out of my house, and now im under constant stress with the kids, not wanting them to make any messes at all lest a worker shows up. The worst part is the adoption worker never said ONE WORD to ME about this, she went behind my back. AND lied. I'm so done with my agency after we finalize.Done done done.

 

Also, i agree with PP in that the BETTER a bparent knows you the less likely they are to complain. My son's father never talked to me, just saw me as this person keeping him away from his son. But bmom and i really talked alot, and she asked me to adopt her son if  TPR went through.


Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
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#5 of 12 Old 02-27-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

WRT foster parenting, I think anonymity is 1) never guaranteed and 2) no guarantee of protection, but there IS a difference between a suffering bioparent who thinks in terms of "the system took my kids!" and a suffering bioparent who thinks in terms of "John and Sally Smith at 123 Locust Lane have my son." The reality is, John and Sally didn't seize anybody's child, don't control what happens to anybody's child, and there is no reason for anybody but the social worker to ever interact with them - especially if the case goes to adoption and the foster home becomes the forever home. 

 



I suppose i could see this working with an adoptive home and the bparent not knowing the child's new name. But if you are fostering, as i pointed out on the other thread, all a bparent would have to do is call CPS and say "during a visit with my child, he said his FP did xyz to him" and they (CPS) will be able to show up at your house. They dont need your name, as long as they give the child's name. CPS can just look up where the child is placed.


Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
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#6 of 12 Old 02-27-2011, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

WRT foster parenting, I think anonymity is 1) never guaranteed and 2) no guarantee of protection, but there IS a difference between a suffering bioparent who thinks in terms of "the system took my kids!" and a suffering bioparent who thinks in terms of "John and Sally Smith at 123 Locust Lane have my son." The reality is, John and Sally didn't seize anybody's child, don't control what happens to anybody's child, and there is no reason for anybody but the social worker to ever interact with them - especially if the case goes to adoption and the foster home becomes the forever home. 

 


While I agree with some of your feelings, I wanted to point out that these are safety concerns.  Abuse allegations are a completely different issue.
 

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#7 of 12 Old 02-27-2011, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, such a sad example of how foster parents are held to a crazy high standard.  So sorry Katherine : (
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

Recently, our adoption worker (who is literally fresh out of college)came out for a home visit, and went back to the agency and said my house was too messy. 

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#8 of 12 Old 02-28-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pumpkingirl71 View Post




While I agree with some of your feelings, I wanted to point out that these are safety concerns.  Abuse allegations are a completely different issue.
 

Exactly. Abuse allegations have very little to do with the bio-parents and their relationship to or knowledge of the foster parents. Mainly it's the caseworkers and their supervisors who seem to have no idea that kids get hurt and assume foster parents are always ill-intentioned.

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#9 of 12 Old 03-01-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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"I actually think that when safe, meeting the child's biological parents can go a long way in preventing allegations from them."

I can see how that would work.

(sorry for drift pumpkingirl but...)

I must be living in Bizzaro State, I swear. Team meetings with worker, GAL, bios and fosters? Seriously? I have never met a person IRL who was involved in that kind of process. I've also never met a person IRL dealt with accusations from their worker or seemed to fear such - what they fear from their worker is a sudden removal with no transition plan in a case they they'd hoped would go to adoption, because the whole "work towards RU" piece of the foster to puzzle seems to be sort of a joke here. Ordered visitation happens - often kids being pulled out of school by the worker and taken to Mickey-D's or the playground. RU and kinship placements happen. But as to anybody working as a team towards anything at all... I dunno, maybe I've met edge cases and my own experience will be different.
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#10 of 12 Old 03-01-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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Team meetings (often called permanency planning meetings here) are required by law in my state (and many others.) It's not mandatory for foster parents to attend but we are invited to attend and there's a line for us to sign when we do. Sometimes people attend by phone if they aren't able to come in person (or choose not to.) Lots of times, the parents don't attend but even still the case plan is reviewed. In my state, they are held in 30 day, three month, then six month intervals. Usually the week before court dates so that everyone's on the same page.

 

I LOVE PPT meetings.

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#11 of 12 Old 03-01-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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I have no real fear of allegations from caseworkers. They usually love me and acknowledge that they could never do what we do. I do know that it happens, though.

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#12 of 12 Old 03-01-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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My state has team meetings. Nothing gets accomplished in them (any decisions made in the team meeting is, in my experience, changed later without input from the team), but they do serve as an opportunity for "face time" to get to know people better and/or make a good impression. That is, if you get invited to them. Sometimes there are problems where case workers "forget" to tell the foster parents about them.

 

Regarding abuse allegations: I've never dealt with that, but I remember some talk about it during our training. They said the best thing is to document everything (use journals, photos, etc. to keep notes) and to keep in constant contact with the case worker about any injuries or whatnot.

 

Of course, that's no guarantee. I think you just have to trust that professionals will be able to tell the difference between real abuse and mere allegations. I know that's asking a lot, which is why some foster parents choose only to foster children who don't generate any allegations... and sadly, why some kids get passed around from foster home to foster home.

 

There's no easy answer. 

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