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Readers Respond: If I Could Change the Foster Care System I Would...

Responses: 86

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You don't have to be a foster parent to know that that there are always ways to improve upon the foster care system. It seems that no matter where we go in the world, the problems, concerns and short comings with the foster care system remain the same.

So take this moment and share. No matter where you are in the world or how you play a part in the foster care system. If you could change it, what would you do?

BELIEVE IN YOUR FOSTER PARENTS

Social workers are often much younger than the foster parents and have not brought up kids themselves - yet here they are giving lectures on how to bring up kids. Oftentimes social workers seem entirely on the side of the foster child and are suspicious of the foster parents. More support needs to be given to foster parents. I have brought up 3 kids as well as a number of foster children. I have learned quite a bit about children and what does and doesn't work with them. Young social workers need to be mindful of this and stop lecturing on areas of life they know very little about.
—Guest Mike

Bio parents threats...

My situation is a little different.. My boyfriend and I have been fighting for custody from dfs for almost 3 years. My boyfriend is the kids bio Father and I'm consider by the state as the caregiver/ supporter. Dfs, has placed the kids with us for over a year now. The bio mother is unfit and the kids were taken from her a few times in the past as well...and they still allow way too many chances for her. During visits she send the kids home with threaten messages for me. Even during a supervised visit the kids aren't safe. This past week at a visit; she used a hair pin to clean her daughters ear causing canal damage and punctured her right ear drum... When is enough going to be enough?? I thought they took the kids for the well-being of the child and safety? What's safe about this? The kids a lot have told me things that I have stressed to the case workers but nothing has changed. Mind you these kids are 11 and 9 years old. Any advice would help..
—Guest Debra

Putting children first

I fully believed in the system when told they put children first. So when our foster daughter came up for adoption, I had no worries. Boy was I wrong. The state came in and did the home study for us and her grandma. And after the finding we filed an objection. Long story short, the court and the state didn't do what was best for that little girl who believed we were her parents, but grams got an expensive lawyer and the state on her side. And I think what should change is that an agreement needs to be signed so that they foster parents and the foster child can have visitation rights because her grandma is holding a grudge against us. So what was best for that little girl? And the State and county worker need to talk to each other. Our case worker couldn't believe that they gave her to grandma.
—Guest Cathy

Change the Conversation

If I could change the foster care system I would change the focus to preventing child abuse, educating people before they become parents, and supporting families. Foster care may serve a purpose for some situations but we need to find better, less traumatizing alternatives. "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." We need a variety of tools to protect children and support families so that foster care is not the only solution. Crisis family care is one of a few options I have suggested (Child Welfare Blog: http://wp.me/pZmRi-72).
—Guest Connie Hayek

Sad...

It makes me really sad to see all of these responses. Having been a foster parent for a good while- I can ASSURE you that we get NO handouts. (Foster parents can't be on any type of welfare...) The money I believe you are speaking of is a REIMBURSEMENT. It pays you for what you have previously spent on the child. I hate how people view the foster care system- spend a couple months in our shoes and I'm sure that you would change your mind. You will see how much we REALLY want to help our children succeed with friends, school and just life in general. I'm sure there are some bad foster homes out there (as I'm sure there are good and bad bio homes...) but don't let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.
—Guest Pete

Fosterparent support

I would like to see agencies offer more support for foster parents with special needs. I have had my foster daughter 7 mos and have had a great team but the agency is getting ready to transition all services. My daughter has been the most stable in my care. Prior to placement with me she was placed with 3 other families. She has been through a lot and I want to see policies change in the foster care system. I would also like to see biological parents that cant get themselves together to lose their parental rights and not be able to keep having kids lost to the system
—Guest tljenk

Infants Should be Evaluated Differently

We just lost our foster daughter after three years. We've had her since she was two months old. The system as it stands now looks at every foster situation the same whether a child is 3 months old, 10 years or 15 years old. Our foster daughter always regarded us as her parents. If a parent cannot get their life together after 6 or 8 months of their infants' life, then their rights should be terminated. All I keep thinking about is our "daughter" waking up at night crying for her mommy and daddy. The only parents she's ever known.
—Guest Lisa Robinson

Mandate Proof of Purchases for all $$$

Well first off... I just love the invasion of privacy some of you think we, as foster parents, should be subjected to. Having keys to my home? Hidden cameras? You've got to be kidding me! What country do we live in again? Maybe, just maybe, the screening should be a little more in depth? Maybe every dollar of the child care "payment" should be accounted for on items for the child. I foster newborn-2 and of the $392 I get for my little one now... I only have to account for approximately $50 of it! That covers clothing and an allowance. I spend all $392 on my little one (and then some), keep all receipts and can prove I'm not in it for the money whatsoever. If we eliminated the "fostering for the paycheck" foster homes, we'd have a safer, more loving system that HELPS children. For those swayed by the stigma of bad foster homes... know that there are good ones, too. I'd do anything for my foster kids. They may not be my blood but I couldn't love them any more if I tried.
—Guest Brittan- Foster Mom

Hearing it from the mouth of a Child

I've been reading the responses written from finish the sentence, and you can see what I was talking about most of these children would rather be with their own parents then in the care of someone else. No not all foster homes are bad there are some very good homes out here but still rather then have the child mistreated and made to feel like there really only taken in for the money is horrible. There already coming out of a dysfunctional home then to be put into another one is a shame. My heart goes out to all children who've been taken away from their parent(s). I've heard them cry out, "I want my mother" when they were delivered to me late at night not knowing why did you come and take me away from my mom. Children don't understand, all they know is that they're now with a perfect stranger. Then as they grow older and no one hears their cries for help no wonder they become problem children and adults. I just feel so sad for these children because they need their parents and really their parents need them. There are so many good parents that with the proper social and living skills could take care of their children just as well or better then strangers can.
—Guest Terry

Long Process

How do or would background checks make a person fully capable of being a foster parent?? Not ever being arrested or imprisoned?? No one is perfect, but I feel what the state feels in order to become the caregiver of a child is sufficient and a great job on their part!! I also feel even more effort should be taken before placing these children back in the homes of their parents! In my opinion, there will never be a sufficient amount of good foster parents to fill the needs of all of the children that should not be in the homes of their parents, raised by their parents because I also feel that the whole system is ABOUT MONEY!!
—Guest grandmother of child in foster care

Learn About Foster Parents First

Find out what foster care is and what foster parents go through before making such crazy statements!!!! We too have lives!!!! The classes and inspections and training that foster parents go through maybe should be mandatory for all parents...then we might have people who think twice about having children!!! Some parents are great and go through bad times and just can't handle their situations during those times. Others......well they have their issues that the poor kids have to deal with. Not ALL foster parents are mean...not all are abusive. Unfortunately the minority is ALWAYS focused on and people make assumptions based on those people. Think people before you make idiotic statements.....maybe you should do a little research before making judgements about all foster parents!!!!
—Guest LMM

Keep Children with Parents

Children need their parents, and so much money is wasted taking these children out of their homes and put into foster care. Nobody loves a child like their parents, the ones that gave birth to that child. I use to be a foster parent and you can't really care for the child because you're constantly battling the system trying to give a child a good life. Parents should be made to be more responsible for bringing children into the world and unable to care for them. A lot of young woman and young men have never been taught how to care for a child because they're just children themselves. And who suffers but the child that's born to a parent who may have been abused themselves and gets into a situation and that's never been taught coping skills along with living and budgeting skills.
—Guest Terry

In-house Training for Families

I would take the money used for foster parents to remodel a factory building make apartments for families and train mother's how to care for their children while they are still in their care. I would have all of the services in the same building for the parent and child. That is my dream that is what I would do.
—Guest Terry

What about parental rights to family?

I ADOPTED MY NIECE SHE WAS ABUSED BY , I WENT THROUGH MUCH TO GET HER .NOW IM IN THE PROCESS OF GETTING HER BROTHER HAVING SUCH A HARD TIME GOIN ON THREE YEARS WITH THE SYSTEM WISH THEY WERE HARDER ON THE REAL PARENTS, FOR ME BEING A FAMILY MEMBER I DONT ALL THE BENEFITS LIKE A FOSTER CARE DOES TO ME THAT SHOULD CHANGE. CAUSE I LOVE THEM AS MY OWN BUT BEING single mom with four kids and working full time is hard, and the the foster parents who abuse the system that they don't even care for the children get more support that's whats wrong with the system.
—Guest r4\gv40

Foster parents Deserve More Respect

I am a foster parent and do foster care because I love children and truly want to help them. However, knowing that foster children often act out and have learned to manipulate because of their past life situations does not give them the right to disrespect you. Nor does it give the system the right to disrespect you by believing everything the children say against you when they don't get their way. This is not right. As a parent, I had proof from FaceBook messages that my foster child was instigating fights at school and lying about them. The principals saw the messages, but when the child lied to the system, they chose to believe her. This child continues to lie, runaway, be sexually active, cheat, be involved in fights, etc. Turns out she was bi polar and had oppositional defiant disorder. Why does the system not back up their foster parents more and give them help when they ask for it?
—mamawince
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