Friday, May 11, 2007

My Foster Parent Friend

Yesterday I visited my friend who has had 6 children of her own (2 married and not living with them) and they have fostered over 100 children. She is a trauma nurse and sees the worst cases but always has enjoyed giving these unloved children as much love in the time they are given. They have adopted three children...two of which the judge said in court were "useless, throw aways" (right in front of them). They are the two sweetest boys you could ever know.

The baby she is fostering now was born to a mother of 12. She jmped out of a 2 story window with the baby (for fun) and now the baby has brain damage.
The baby she had at the beginning of the year was dunked into a pot of boiling water by her 15 year old mother because she wouldn't stop crying.

These are two of the many stories we hear from just THIS foster care mother. These poor kids need love, and who will provide it? Some will go back to these mothers who have hurt them...that blows my mind. After three or four times the state urges them to sign off on their parental rights. Are these particular children better off with these mothers?

Where do we draw the line?


MomEtc. said...

The line should have been drawn a while ago in the two examples you give. You would think people would see this as a no brainer.

LeRoy Dissing said...

In cases of severe abuse where parents are given time, opportunities and resources to improve and do not, there is little choice but to terminate parental rights. I have been involved with a number of cases directly where I have recommended TPR (termination of parental rights). In a lot of cases, the parents see the proverbial "hand writing on the wall" and voluntarily give up their rights before it gets to an involuntary termination.

However, I would like to know additional information on each of the cases Petunia mentioned. The mother who jumped out of a 2 story window with her baby probably has a severe mental health problem and/or could have been under the influence of some substance. Without knowing more about the other 11 children and her history of parenting, one could not rule out that this incident could be isolated - but nonethess life threatening to her and the baby. It is as mometc said: "a no brainer" in terms of placing the child to protect him/her.

Same goes for the second case. Dunking a child in a pot of boiling water indicates she had a very deluded view of her child. Again, was she on drugs, mentally ill or just overly stressed. More likely a combination of some or all the above.

Both are very sad situations that demanded placement of the children for their protection. I would like to believe that every resource is being made available to treat the children and their parents so that this doesn't ever happen again.

I can tell you that federal regulations (Safe and Stable Families Act) requires social services to diligently work on reunifying children with their parents unless it is unsafe to do so. If that cannot be accomplished within a set time frame and/or there is insufficient progress toward that goal by the parents, a petition to terminate their parental rights can and should be filed according to law.

BethGo said...

That is horrible!
But I'm confused. Are you saying children should automatically be taken from their teenage mothers simply because of their age?
I have a good friend who was raised by his single mother who had him at fifteen. He has had a good life, went to college, spent some time as a rock star and is now a music producer. I do not believe he has suffered any abuse in his life at the hands of his mother. Should he have been taken away at birth because of her age and the off chance that she might abuse him?
My amom's mom had her at seventeen. Should she have not been allowed to keep her?
How do you determine who is fit to raise their child and who is not fit? How do you draw the line and when?
I see you pointing out a problem here but I'd like to hear your solutions.

petunia said...

I don't think anyone should rais e a child that would endanger them like this...not because of their age. I would have to think more about the age thing. There are 14 year olds who could raise a child with help but others who barely can take care of themselves. It's just a mystery to me how these young girls are living if they are getting pregnant at 12.

Tishslp said...

I didn't get the sense that petunia was saying that these children should be taken from their mothers due to their age. I think she was just relaying two horrible instances of abuse as is pertinent to the ongoing discussion.

As far as who should determine which children are placed....that's up to the social agencies in charge in each county or state. It is not a perfect system, but then again, there is not a lot of public support or resources, either. Sometimes I wonder.....if we put more money into support and resources for those who watch over our children, would they be, not only safer, but also more often re-unified with parents who love them and truly need help in raising them.....

BethGo said...

Many girls who get pregnant at 12 are victims of incest or rape or both. I'm not saying all of them but many.

It's a scary world we're living in.

Gershom said...

I think what needs to be addressed is the fact that these girls, haven't been treated right obviously to be doing things like this. When do we stop making more problmes in the family and leaving it at that, and start healing the problems themselves. It could be generations of problems, but we need to help these people with their problems instead of soley taking their children away and causing more problems on each. I'm not saying these kids should have been left with their abusive mothers, but just separating them and not doing any follow up care to either is only going to cause more problems to each in the future.

When do we begin healing?

LeRoy Dissing said...

Gershom...nice to see you! I agree that a complete assessment of the family should be done and services provided that aid in alleviating the conditions that made the children unsafe while in their mother's care. That takes time, creative energy, commitment, and resources. Most children do end up back with their parents - believe it or not! In fact, I would say the vast majority do and probably some that shouldn't have. It is not a perfect science yet but the development of risk assessment tools are evolving. The goal is to get children into a safe, stable and permanent home environment as soon as possible - that usually being the home they were removed from or a relative if possible.