Foster parents; Allegations 1

 

A word that strikes fear in every foster parent’s heart across the United States. You have heard from foster parent friends that have had allegations that it is tough but until you experience it for yourself you have no idea how terrifying this word is. Allegations!

 

Your nightmare may start with your foster child not meeting you at the school bus stop, or a social worker coming to your door demanding to see the children. The social worker may even have a police officer with her/him, suddenly they are standing on your porch.

 

What happened?  Someone thinks that you may have, or be, harming a child in your care; you will not know who accused you or what the allegation is. You are not entitled to your constitutionally given rights; you are "guilty until proven innocent".  No Miranda rights read to you, and you will not have the right to face your accuser. A recipe for disaster unleashed on the American foster parent.

 

Sound familiar?  If it has not yet happened to you consider yourself fortunate. We realize that we spend a lot of time writing about the following subjects; Allegations, Documentation, and Administrative Law our main themes. However, we also realize that these are the three areas lacking in most trainings available to you. In order to prepare for any event you need to be made aware of the event that will eventually hit you and your family, a major storm that your home is directly in the path of.

 

What if you were accused of neglect?  This is a drastic allegation, be aware it is one of the most frequently utilized. How do you prove that you are not responsible for a foster child’s bruising his knee? Or that you did not touch a child inappropriately? Do you assist in bathing any child in your home, if you assist this child wash him/herself, or dry the child you are guilty of this charge.

 

Did you hear of the case in Arizona of a parent developing pictures at a Walmart?  It was a few years ago but a very typical case in the lives of foster parents. Not the pictures in themselves but the allegations that are filed against these people only wanting to help a child.  A case like the one described below probably would have resulted in criminal charges against the foster parents. Ever take a picture of your little one in the bathtub covered in bubbles? We all have. Foster parents would face serious charges for this innocent family moment.

 

Quotes from story;

"I don't' understand it at all," A.J. Demaree told "Good Morning America" Monday. "Ninety-nine percent of the families in America have these exact same photos."  The eight photos in question were among a batch of 144 family photos the Demarees had taken to their local Walmart. The developer alerted the police and the investigation into child pornography began in earnest, even though the parents maintained they were innocent bath time photos.

More on the story; A Walmart employee reported what she considered pornography she viewed in pictures parents dropped off to have developed. To her this was child abuse, pictures of a child in a bathtub. As we said before we have all taken pictures like this; all parents are guilty of child abuse then?  

Now an update on where this is going below;

An Arizona coupe, Lisa and Anthony “A.J.” Demaree, have filed an interesting lawsuit against Walmart (and the state) after being accused of sexual abuse and having their children taken away the State. Their suspected crime? Developing pictures of their children taking a bath.

 

http://jonathanturley.org/2009/09/18/arizona-couple-sues-wal-mart-after-store-calls-the-police-on-them-for-developing-pictures-of-this-children-in-a-bathtub-and-the-children-are-taken-by-the-state/

Can you see the significance in this story? We are living in a scary world these days. When parents cannot take photos of their children, foster or biological we have arrived at a different plateau. What makes this kind of situation harder is the children sometimes make the allegations.

Whether an innocent comment or an out and out accusation coming from the mouth of a child, it often puts a foster parent into a new dimension, a negative light, a nightmare, what started out to be a way of helping children becomes an addition to the child abuse registry?

Something has to change folks. One of the realistic problems the Foster Care System faces is the lack of good foster parents. The statistics are alarming. So what can we do?  How can we change this out of control system?

1. Establish a State and county separate citizens review board.

 

No child shall be removed from the home, unless emergency services are required, unless three fourths of the board agrees. That emergency must be justified to the board, not with gut feelings but with substantial proof. Result of a social worker not submitting sufficient proof is automatic/mandatory loss of employment after three incidents. Board term is three years.

 

2. Foster parents who are in the process of adopting their foster child are too often faced with "false" allegations. Mandatory for proof of abuse submitted to the citizens review board prior to removal and interruption of the adoption process. Make it impossible to obtain adoption bonuses more than once, or a mandatory donation to a chartable organization of any secondary bonus.

3. Social Workers waste no time in placing the foster caregiver's name on the State Child Abuse Registry...without proof of wrong doing, without a trial in court of law, in other words without “due process.” This is to stop immediately, all states submit a bill to make this illegal without jury trial.

4. Many new social workers entering the system in this day and age are young, inexperienced and have no compassion for searching for the truth, a change the world attitude results in exaggerated allegations. No social worker without two years on the job will be designated investigators.

5. Social Workers already in the system and working in this field should be required to undergo mandatory psychological reviews on a regular basis.

 6. Social Workers must be required to disclose to the accepting foster caregiver family "any" and "all" pertinent information on  the child being placed with them.

7. Make foster caregivers part of the periodic court review of  foster children in their care.

8. Establish a Law Enforcement task force to assist in Child Abuse investigations.

 

9. Undertake more truthful and comprehensive training for foster parents

 

 

 

10. Agencies should be required to provide Foster Parents with legal services equal to their own and that of the children.

 

11. Social workers are over-worked, under-paid, and do not have sufficient time required to do their job completely and efficiently,  it seems there are many professional college grads out of work  these days, would they be thrilled to be employed and overworked? Always remember, no one is irreplaceable. Hire college students to complete on the job training as a requirement class for graduation. This would give them practical experience half the cost of an experienced social worker, as well as employment to assist with college expenses, or have their pal grants forgiven after four years of service, and signing a contract to stay with this agency for an additional period of four years.

The suggestions above are gathered as they take place as ideas from the many discussions involving our nfpcar.com chat group, our think tank approach to problems presented, and hopefully offer partial solutions to these on going problems.

Many times a think tank approach works better than other methods, especially if the thinking and discussing is done by those who experience the other side of the coin, so to speak. Our discussion group is made up of foster, adoptive, and biological parents who have experienced first hand the nightmare called CPS.

Something has to change folks. One of the realistic problems the Foster Care System faces is the lack of good foster parents, the statistics are alarming, so what can we do, how can we change this out of control system.

We are taking a closer look at suggestions made by nfpcar.org for changes within The Foster Care System, positive changes that will make a difference in both the way foster parents are treated and social workers function.

We were talking about our devastating shortage of good homes for our children who have been forced into The Foster Care System. We offer this statement in reference to the way foster parents are treated by the system, if you have good foster parents and mistreat them what is going to happen? If you are consistently, frantically seeking new ones, starting new trainings each month would you question the system that is seeking or those that are training?

Yours truly questions both, you see, they are both dysfunctional, both inadequate and do more harm than good. CPS traumatizes children and then puts them on drugs, The Foster Care System traumatized the foster parents who are trying to assist the children, is this logical?

What do we mean?

The final insult after an allegation takes place and a foster parent stands accused of harming a child in their care, they face the Administrative Inquiry, then the Hearing (a kangaroo court) this same foster parent who serves faithfully can have their name placed on the State Central Registry. Did you know that?

Question; is this the same State Central Index is the registry that pornographers, child molesters, and sex offenders are placed on. Unbelievable, Yes it is!