Possible kinship care situation - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 3 Old 08-22-2018, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Possible kinship care situation

This is kind of long story so please bare with me.

I'll start by saying I'm in Pennsylvania as is the child.

On Thursday 8/16 I received a letter in the mail stating I may be of relationship to a child that is in custody of a children and youth agency on the other side of the state (4.5 hours by car). It included paperwork indication that a kinship care opportunity was available and what kinship care is. A survey was enclosed for us to complete if we were interested in providing kinship care or being a resource to the parent by 8/24.

Here's where things get interesting. This was how I learned I have a niece, who upon further digging I discovered is 7 months old. Her biological father, my sibling, and I have not truly spoken in more than 15 years with the exception of my mother's funeral 2 years ago.

Her biological father is a convicted sex offender who served 12 years in prison and was released in 2015. His crime was against a 5 year old boy. He is a Tier One Megan's Law offender. He currently lives in a rooming house and does hold a full time job.

Her biological mother I'm told is having her rights terminated. CYS has been involved in the child's life for some time because mom's drug use. The final straw I'm told is when she left the baby alone over night to go out and party. I've heard the child has been in care for 5 months now, but I'm not sure if she was removed from the home 5 months ago or if that's when CYS became involved.

I have completed the survey indicating I would consider becoming a kinship care home for the child. I faxed it back on 8/17 and called the CYS worker. I did not receive a response until I sent an email on Monday 8/20 asking her to confirm she received it. She responded she did and will be in touch.

I'm looking for anyone who might have been in a similar situation who can lend advice. I'm concerned distance may be an issue as the biological father has supervised visitation twice per week. I can't possibly drive the baby 5 hours each way twice per week. I could consider driving half way once a week if they were to arrange supervised visits there. Would they consider something like that?

According to the biological father (I'm hearing this information third hand so keep that in mind), all he thinks he needs to do is a pass a sex offender evaluation (it has been completed but he doesn't have the results yet) and get an apartment for him to get the child back. Obviously I'm struggling with this, given his past. He was a legal adult when the crime was committed. I just don't see how a child could possibly be safe in his care.

I've talked to a few people who used to work at CYS in PA who all seem to think they might be making dad jump through the hoops because legally they have to even if they plan on asking a judge to terminate his rights. I don't know if this is true or if dad actually has a chance get the baby back.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 of 3 Old 08-31-2018, 03:31 PM
 
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I think this is a wonderful thing you are offering to do. I don't understand how they could have been so irresponsible to rate a child molester as level one (not saying I don't believe you, just that I find that very dumb of the government).
Because he is level one it does increase his change of being able to get his child back. So if they can not find other things to show that the father is irresponsible you do risk only having the baby for a short while.

oAlisha- eternal companion to mike:, mother to three energetic boys (02):, (05), and (07) and one sweet little girl 3/13. Four in heaven.7/21/2010, 11/05/2011, 9/16, 4/16/2017
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#3 of 3 Old 09-01-2018, 07:28 AM
 
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An important piece of information to find out, is the consistency, quality and type of foster home she is in. Was she placed with the foster parents at birth? Is this the only family she has really "known" after the all night binge by birth mom. Are they a pre-adoptive home that has been also waiting for a baby to raise? Foster parents in this situation often get totally screwed over by the system, and in fact, this baby IS attaching to them, babies are hardwired to attach, so removing her from them (if they are great) will be traumatic for her (and them).

Legally they HAVE to explore kinship care options because they (CYS) will need to tell the judge they did. The baby could have a wonderful pre-adoptive foster parent and they still have to explore all kinship options, legally. So I would tread carefully with this part of it, and don't assume she isn't wanted right where she is now, just because they are contacting you.

These types of things can also drag on for a long time. A parent can just barely get their act together and be given more time by a judge. A TPR (term of parental rights) hearing can be continued/delayed. Even getting a date for a TPR hearing can take a year. Meanwhile the baby is in limbo. And as the previous poster said, the father can get the child back if there is not enough data or evidence that he is not able to raise the child. And then the judge may be very pro-father. So many variables.

I think I would talk to the worker, and also travel out for one of their legally required case conferences so to get more information close and personal. There would not be value, and possibly irreparable harm, to disrupt this baby more times than is necessary, in her bonding and attachment. Perhaps make it clear that you would be willing to be the last resort if the system fails her.

 









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