A visit! A visit! Even before Zeke's mom has been to court and gotten her case plan, they are arranging for a visit!
My DH is kind of hoping that they just give this lady her kids back and not torture her for six months, but I think that's unlikely. She hasn't lawyered up AFAIK, and the worker is inclined to pursue the "standard" six-month foster placement, even on the younger kids who were not involved in the primary reason for the removal. Better safe than sorry etc.
This morning, in the car:
Zeke: "Mom, are you happy to me?"
Me: "I am very happy to you! I love having you around! Are you happy to me?"
.. so he's doing OK, I think, and will do OK even if his separation from his Mom stretches out for months.
Question: what to send along on a visit when you really want to do everything you can to facilitate RU, but have to remain anonymous?
I got a disposable camera, so the worker can take pictures of mom and siblings all together. I am typing out a very generic note (he's doing well, such a good boy, likes his new school etc.).
What about something he made for her, like a picture or a card or some craft you do with him? If he goes to school, maybe one of his "projects" from there (not sure how old he is, but there must be something he brings home like paintings or stories) so she can see what he's doing in school.
I would keep it simple for the first meeting : ) I do like the idea of sending an art project. Whenever my daughter visits her birthmother, we bring a project to all do together. We love Oriental Trading Company, they have broken the ice for many awkward visits! If it is a picture frame, we take a picture that day and then I send her the photo in the frame.
Thanks for the suggestions! Unfortunately, all of the art projects Ike has brought home from school so far identify us by religious group, and given how tiny and distinctive the group is around here, that won't work for anonymity.
I do have a Melissa and Doug "paint your own piggy bank" kit that I could send along. Maybe I'll do that.
This kid is not potty-trained for poop. He's 5.
At first, I thought it was constipation, or the classic I'm-holding in-my-poop-because-I-had-a-hard-poop-once-and-now-I'm-scared thing that's so common at this age. But stool softeners didn't help, and an enema didn't help (although the trauma of it may have brought us closer). I am taking Zeke to the doctor this coming week to make sure there's no impacted fecal mass higher up in his colon, but I think it's purely a training issue. I think he went to school in the morning, came home in the afternoon, and pooped his pants everysingleday. Maybe she put him in a Pull-Up when he got home?
Anyhow, beyond saying "you need to poop in the potty," how do I train a 5-year-old to poop in the potty?
Just offering hugs. That sounds pretty serious. Glad you are taking him to the Dr. I can't imagine a five year old having usch a problem with out a deeper issue. How does he respond when he does poop in his pants? Does he tell you or try to hide it?
Having taught Pre-K, I can say that it's not entirely uncommon, especially with children from at-risk families. It might have been lack of opportunity. It might be from stress or having been punished for something bathroom related. It might be because he doesn't like the way the water splashes on his bottom when the bowel movement hits the water (I know a child who squats on the toilet seat for that reason.) There are a multitude of reasons that may, or may not, be physical.
It's good that you are taking him to the doctor. But, I would keep trying to figure out the "why." I would likely offer the toilet but also a pull up (or diaper) if he doesn't want to give the toilet a try.
I'm betting that bathroom issues are pretty common in foster kids, and even non-foster kids of that age. Pooping in the potty takes longer for some kids. Is he a young five or an older five? If he is in kindergarten this year then maybe he was in preK last year, and alot of kids in preK are still in pullups i bet. My kids will be four in Jan and Feb and they JUST now got pottytrained.
One additional thought: This may be one of the only things he is able to control in his life right now. In my experience, it is not uncommon for children in foster care to begin this at time of removal due to their lack of control over their life.
Thanks for all the poop feedback. The doctor can't find any physical problem, and when he had an accident at visitation, his mom was not surprised at all and dealt with it appropriately. So I think he was just not trained, and that this issue can be addressed with time and patience.
The worker is willing to apply for an slightly higher board rate due to "enhanced level of care," and I think we'll do that, unless Zeke and his sisters move to a fictive kinship placement that has just passed their SLED check. The GAL, who was just assigned, is hoping to check it out over the holiday weekend.
I really, really support RU of the siblings in this case, and I think RU with mom is going to happen and going to be successful after a case plan is worked. But I'm nervous about 3 kids being placed with two working parents who already have kids, and those working parents not having access to any kind of compensation (no board rate, no daycare vouchers, nada zip zilch). I feel like there will be tremendous pressure to use the oldest child for childcare, which is one of the reasons that they family had a meltdown in the first place.
Anyhow, Happy Thanksgiving!
Here, a child over 4 (i think it is) who needs diapers can get extra funding for that, i can't remember if that falls under the higher level of care, or if its a thing medicaid can pay for.
Its great that it looks like he may be back with relatives soon, if its an appropriate placement. If they are lower/moderate income (and having a bunch of kids certain pushes most people further down into the lower income bracket since it goes by family size!) the kids should qualify for things like free lunch, WIC (if age eligible), food stamps, medicaid, daycare vouchers (if available) etc. Head Start or other preschool etc.
Also, i dont know how it is there, but here even when relatives were not required to be licensed (i think they are now? cant remember) and did not receive a board rate, the child was STILL considered "a foster child" (had a worker, the judge was involved, there was a case plan etc) and so the child would STILL be eligible for all of the things listed above that a foster child pretty much automatically gets due to having no income. The FP getting a board rate or not would not impact that. Even kinship. Dont know if things are different where you are.
Same here. A child over four who isn't potty trained can get significant subsidies. We had no idea, until we went to finalize. The money has been a huge help when our stress level was high. Good luck Smithie. I hope that everthing works out for the best, but that is such a moving target with fostering : )
"Also, i dont know how it is there, but here even when relatives were not required to be licensed (i think they are now? cant remember) and did not receive a board rate, the child was STILL considered "a foster child" (had a worker, the judge was involved, there was a case plan etc) and so the child would STILL be eligible for all of the things listed above that a foster child pretty much automatically gets due to having no income."
These are not relatives. But in my state, because they are choosing not to get licensed, they will get nothing except Medicaid. Not even daycare subsidy. It's horrible.
DH and I have decided to go to court and listen to the proceedings, and express our concerns if it seems appropriate. Zeke should not be punted to his sister to take care of - she's a kid, she has school, time enough for her to change poopy pants multiple times per day when she has her OWN baby.
If the family's income qualifies with the extra children, they will qualify for child care subsidy. They need to get in touch with their local child care resource and referral agency and see what they need to do. Here, ours has a separate stream of funding for child care subsidy, apart from that that DSS gives out. The children's risk factors will bump them up on the subsidy scoring criteria. There may not be subsidy available right now, but they do need to start the process.
I will mention that, thanks. I have the transfer-of-provider paperwork to send with him if he goes, so they can TRY to get money from the same pot we are right now, and it's possible that the number of kids in the house will make them poor enough to get DSS coverage.
Court went well. Older sister will remain in therapeutic foster care where she belongs, and the fictive kinship placement will take the two little ones. I think all three will ultimately RU with mom.
Zeke is mildly angsty about the transition, and I'm a little worried that his new foster parents are going to take a belt to him in an attempt to resolve the pants pooping, but as I cannot control it I am trying not to freak out about it. I don't think they are bad people - but uneducated and very old-school, yes. The kids will see their mother every day, however, and that's the most important thing.
I'm glad court went well. But ugh about the handling of the pants pooping.... Is there any way you can provide "advice" under the guise of co-parenting/aiding the transition where you can say something like, "The doctor said punishment will definitely not help... This is what we have been doing.... xyz seems to be starting to work...." So that maybe they WON'T go the way of the belt? And would they really do that if they're a certified foster family? I mean, I know it's not all perfection, but here (and I thought most places) corporal punishment of any kind is simply not acceptable. Even the "harmless" spanking of a toddler's hand when they try to touch something or smacking a child's lips to get them to stop biting people. Or is that not the case where you are? (Sorry, I know you know what you are talking about, I just don't want to think you could be right about that!!)
"And would they really do that if they're a certified foster family?"
They're a fictive kinship placement. They've passed a criminal background check, but have had no training and (more importantly IMO) have had no chance to go through the emotional and intellectual process of deciding to foster, really thinking about what in meant in a no-pressure hypothetical way, and then choosing to pursue it. This situation got dumped on them .
I expressed my concerns to the worker, her supervisor, the clinical social worker and the GAL. That's pretty much all I can do, since we do not want to break our anonymity (we're an adoptive resource if RU doesn't work out, and we are not interested in open adoption). The GAL promised to stay on top of the issue and make it very clear, in the language the new foster parents speak best, that corporal punishment for any reason will lead to removal of the children. The GAL thinks that the foster parents are, despite their age and upbringing, very laid-back individuals who are unlikely to lose their patience to the extent of hitting, even if they wind up cleaning up poop five times a day for a while.
Zeke went to his new placement yesterday. I miss him.
Have they said or done anything that would lead you to believe they WOULD hit him for this?
As far as foster parents or kinship placements spanking, my friends were in pre-adoptive visitation with a sib group of three, they had them off and on all summer for up to ten days at a time, and once the older boy (six years old i think?) casually mentioned that the FPs (who had them for years) "whooped" them with a BELT. They were due to go back to the FH that night, and my friends didnt know what to do. I told them to call the agency and report it, in the end, it was determined that it was a "training" issue, not an abuse issue, and not only did the kids have to go back to the foster home, but my friends were "punished" by not being able to see the kids for like two or three weeks. Ultimately, it was decided by the agency (after SIX MONTHS of preplacement visits with three young children and just days before official placement papers were to be filed) that my friends complained too much, and they didnt get the kids. It was crazy. So yeah...at this point, i think ANYTHING is possible in foster care, and many many workers/agencies are willing to look the other way. When my friends met with the CPS investigator she brushed that off as old school discipline, and when my friends spoke with the children's GAL she said "these are good foster parents, they've been doing it for years, and you just dont know how hard it is to parent kids like this, its just a discipline choice." It was made very clear that keeping this particular foster family was more important than anything else. My daughter says she was hit in foster homes. So it happens unfortunately.