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Last month our family became a certified foster home. We stated during our home study that we wanted a little girl between age 2 and 4. We also told them that we could not handle children with Special Needs as we both work full time and have a biological child with Autism in the house. They brought us two little boys ages 4 and 6. They are beautiful children. We were informed that they had some issues regarding tantrums but nothing beyond that. After having them in our home for less than a week their social worker began telling us all of the therapies that the older child needed because his behavior was so severe. I told her at that time that we simply could not meet such a demanding schedule for him along with parental visits 4 times a week. I am now at a loss to know what to do. In less than a week I have caught the older child strangling the younger one, He has threatened to bash my head in with a hammer, He said he was going to cut my husband and yesterday he attacked me while I was driving forcing me to pull over and while attempting to calm him he managed to kick me in the face. He is on the verge of being kicked out of school because he received 3 referrals in 3 days for assaulting other students and a teacher. I have been in constant contact with our social worker and have documented everything but it seems when we attempt to contact their social worker she is no where to be found. WE are concerned for the safety of the youngest child and feel that the older one would be be able to have his needs met if placed alone in a home where someone could give him their full attention. We offered to keep the younger one but were informed we would only be allowed to keep him if we took his youngest siblings who are in another home and going quite well. We declined since we do not have room for 3 or the time to care for so many little ones However, last we heard their social worker is looking to place all 4 in one home
 

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Sounds like this has been a rough experience. One of my wish list items is that social workers would be up front with foster parents and give them the proper training to work with and parent children in need of care. The reality is that the system is so desparate for foster parents that social workers sometimes gloss over the facts to get the placement, and then cross their fingers that all will be well. Which it isn't 75% of the time.

I also wish that there was a way around parents trying to build their families through the foster care system, because it's very existence is because children who have been abused and neglected need a safe place to live until their parents can get their act together. So by definition, any child who has been removed from a parent has already lived through some very very awful things or they wouldn't be placed. And we now know that adverse experiences for young children alter brain development, brain chemistry and change everything. So foster moms and dads need to be clear, that any child placed with them will have 'issues.' Even a girl between the ages of 2 and 4. It's just a matter of degrees. Even an infant removed from a mom and placed at birth may already have issues because we now know that even in utero exposure to violence and substances has an impact. I think if foster parents had all this information and could approach foster care with the therapeutic needs of the child in mind, they could get on board to promote healing as fast as possible. There is no regular schedule and regular routine for kids in foster care, and therefore not the foster parents either. These kids need healing from their past situations, no matter how brief.

It is also important, and we now know, that kids are just as attached to siblings as they are to parents (if they are attached at all), even sometimes more so. So splitting up sibling groups is not considered appropriate or best practice any longer. I have seen kids ripped apart and seen it cause life long damage. Social workers are not playing hard to get, they have high caseloads and too much to do and it is in a crisis situation in most states and counties. Call the supervisor if you need a quick answer to something. They are in the office more often.

So what to do? It does sound like this particular set of siblings is more than you are prepared to handle so you should probably help hasten the move to a new home for both of them. Before taking the next set or child, do all the research you can on early childhood trauma, brain development and healing from trauma. I can link you to several excellent websites. Next time vow to be part of the solution and create a healing home for the child to safely recover in. There is no way a social worker will ever be able to assure you that 'this one is o.k.' No child removed from parents is going to be o.k. Children also express things differently in different homes based on trauma triggers and how close or safe they feel to foster parents. Sometimes they react worse the safer and closer they feel, because close and safe are feelings to be guarded against: these feelings have only led to pain and suffering for them. This is just a reality, but it is treatable. Next time vow to dive in and be part of the treatment team that brings new skills and emotional release for kids by attending their therapy appointments, doing OT/PT, whatever it takes to restore them to a better place.

So sorry you didn't get good information and I would be happy to provide you with those links if you would like!
 

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I'm so sorry that you were put in this difficult position, but I believe you need arrange to return these children tomorrow morning. You were very specific with the agency that you were only able to handle one child and they gave you two. They made this poor child's behavioral problems in to your problem, but honestly, it isn't. I'm sure the social worker was desperate to find a placement but it was not fair or ethical to involve you in a situation you very specifically said you did not want to handle.
 
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