Things that SUCK about being a foster kid…

March 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm 46 comments


Based on too many years…


FOSTER HOMES

Never knowing when or where you might be moved… so that you NEVER have a sense of comfort and security.

Waking up in a strange bed, in a strange room, with strange lighting, and strange noises….frequently.

Forgetting your address because well, you have had so fucking many.  And forgetting how to get home, for the same reason.

Always wearing hand-me-downs.

Getting your period… without your real mom being there.  And being too scared to tell “the foster mom” that you just moved in with yesterday.

Getting used to a new house.  Where is the bathroom?  Where is the TV room?  Where are the toys?  I’m lost.

Knowing that another “state-kid” slept in the bed that is now yours…you are just one in a bunch passing thru

Being beaten or raped again… see your bioparents did that, but foster care is *supposed* to be safe.


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GROUP HOMES

Being the youngest in a large group home…oh shit.

Working in a kitchen and kids thinking you could score some extras for them.

Fighting off unwanted advances from both girls and boys.

Bunking in a room with 3 other girls…no fucking privacy, ever.

Green jello.

The sterile white small-tiled bathroom…that all girls on the floor used; and where you could get the shit kicked out of you.

The point system.   Fuck you. -10 points!      Kiss My Ass. -Another 10 Points!

Having to sign out, even if you just want to take a walk at age 15….

Storage rooms or basements that are left open or have locks that can be picked.

Broken toys, ripped books, missing pieces. …

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SCHOOL

Sitting in a classroom and having no idea what is going on, because you just moved from 3 different schools.

When everyone gets a yearbook, but you because “there is no money.”

Teachers basically ignoring your work, because you will be moved again, so why bother?

Not graduating because you stayed back because you moved so much… and now you are aging-out without a degree.



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“THE SYSTEM”

Sitting in a workers office, for HOURS, behind all the piled paperwork, while she is frantically trying to find a placement for you.

Transporters who take you to and from appointments or meetings; because the foster parents can’t or won’t.  Who the hell are these people to me?  Talk about fucking uncomfortable. Just more people in our world that we don’t really matter to…to move us around.

Not getting braces or other medical care, because there is NO money, or the only doctor that takes Medicaid is booked for the next fucking month.

Sitting in a permanency hearing and “the system” blowing smoke up your ass, when they state that your permanency goal is “adoption” but you are 12 years old and even you know that no-one is ever going to adopt you.

When the workers and foster parents talk about you like you are not even in the room. Hey, STOP THAT.

Family court judges that reprimand your attitude, when your world is a mess.

When your foster brothers and sisters are moved, just as they were becoming your friends.

Social workers that never answer their phone or return voice mail. Almost all the workers I had, have this problem.

Family court judges who focus more on what you wear to court, than what you have to say.

GALs that never talk TO us, but talk AT us.

Having to sign papers, that you don’t have time to read, because the worker has not seen you in months so she did not bring them to you beforehand….

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why am i such a burden that everyone leaves me? the smurfs are so much like foster kids

46 Comments Add your own

  • 1. abbys_momma  |  March 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    major suckage

    Reply
  • 2. Facing West  |  March 14, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Yup. In the group home I work, the teens call those spaces “fuck closets.” We try to sleep the older kids in rooms of 2 and the younger kids in room of 4. Does not always work out that way. You should add some stats about group homes in your statistics section. Good list.

    Reply
  • 3. Jen  |  March 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Although I’ve read stories explaining what caused one move, I’m still confused about why the kids get moved so much.

    For those of you who know the system, what are the most common reasons for moves? What reasons are more rare?
    -foster parents moving out of town?
    -kids frustrating foster parents too much?
    -foster parents hurting kids?
    -kids hurting kids?
    -trial periods with birth parents?
    -mysterious reason not explained by social worker?
    -sent to some sort of residential treatment center / group home?

    Also, what decides whether kids are sent to foster homes vs. group homes vs. RTCs?

    I kind of had the impression kids were sent to group homes by birth parents who were frustrated with them because that’s what happened to the kid I volunteered with, but are there other reasons?

    Reply
    • 4. LooneyTunes  |  March 14, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Good questions. Kids get moved alot for the following reasons:
      (a) The longer they are in the system, the more moves
      (b) Acting-out behaviors that the foster parents *can’t* deal with
      (c) Foster parents get pregnant and don’t want the foster kid
      (d) Foster parents move
      (e) Foster parents thinking of adopting, but decide they don’t want the child
      (f) Foster parents are abusive
      (g) Workers want to break attachment (this was actually a street rumor, but makes sense)
      (h) Workers move kids because they don’t like the foster parents
      (i) Workers move kids for stupid reasons
      (j) Kids get drug problems
      (k) Kids needs RTCs or therapeutic foster care
      (l) Kids run away and wind up in juvie or RTC

      Now in terms of group homes versus RTCS, here is my experience.
      Group homes are for kids that there are no placements for or for teenagers that no one wants. Or for a temporary place until a foster home can be found. Like I stayed at group homes between foster homes placements.

      RTCs are for kids with severe acting out behaviors that need 24-hour attention. Such as severe sexual acting out or violence. Also for kids that have multiple problems, acting-out, severe learning disabilities, etc.

      My brother went to an RTC because (a) acting-out violence and anger, (b) really bad learning problems, and (c) boy. I went into foster care because I was a girl. At least that is what I think and I was not as violent.
      I acted-in, he acted-out.

      Reply
      • 5. Jen  |  March 14, 2011 at 11:01 pm

        You might be right about breaking attachment. I just found this in a google search:

        —————————————————————————-

        ” My husband and I became foster parents (We both had been adopted, and felt strongly about doing this) – it was quite a few years ago, and at that time, the law stated that a foster child could not stay in the same home for more than 18 months, “because they would risk becoming too attached to the family” – - the problem with that concept, however, is that it does not take 18 months to become attached to a baby, and then to have that child taken away, simply because of that “rule” seemed very counter-productive, as well as heart-wrenching. ”

        —————————————————————————-

        OK, WTF? Why would a worker or judge or lawmaker or whatever see attachment as bad? What reasons, selfish or otherwise, would they have for not wanting kids & foster parents to get attached? Anyone have a guess?

        Reply
      • 6. Fi  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:20 am

        Could I add another…. where re-unification didn’t succeed and the original carer has taken in another placement.

        I don’t want to be carer who can’t handle acting out behaviours. How did you want these situations handled by your carers?

        Reply
        • 7. Sarah Redecker Sarich  |  August 25, 2013 at 7:47 pm

          Sometimes it happens. When a kid plasters herself over my husband despite other people being in the room and he only feels safe when he is LOCKED in our bedroom, that kid needs to leave our house.

          Reply
      • 8. Sarah Redecker Sarich  |  August 25, 2013 at 7:46 pm

        e) This one is almost us. One of our kids is up for adoption, but we don’t feel this is the right permanent home for her. (We are in this to foster, not adopt.) However, along with telling her case worker as soon as we knew this, we also made sure that her case worker knew that we wanted her to stay with us until that permanent home could be found. We can’t give her permanent stability, but we can give her that much.

        g) This used to be the case, but according to my training, the state finally realized that this was too harmful for the kids.

        Reply
    • 9. Sarah Redecker Sarich  |  August 25, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      I know one of my kids was moved because she was only supposed to be in a temporary home to begin with. Another was moved because she was supposedly dangerous, but really because the foster parents didn’t like her. I know some kids are moved because the new family can’t handle them for whatever reason — usually just because of personality conflicts. We had a kid removed because she was sexually aggressive toward my husband and had no boundaries with anybody else . . .

      There are a lot of reasons why kids move. Sometimes it is for a valid reason, sometimes it is not. It depends on who is making the request.

      Reply
  • 10. Laurke  |  March 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    That does stink. And from my short foster parenting experience thus far, it is incredibly difficult to get them to answer the phone or return calls. Therefore, the ONE time she answered the phone (in 6.5 months) when I called, I was literally speechless, LOL. And by the way, LT, I sent you blog address on to this same worker, telling her that she should send it on…

    Reply
  • 11. Joe  |  March 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    This should be required reading for anyone remotely involved in the system.

    K…I know I’m a freak, but….I kind of *like* green jello! :-D

    Also…I’m completely ignorant about this stuff….the deal with basements or storage rooms that are left unlocked or have locks that can be picked…is this just because these are creepy places (no matter whose house?) or are they dangerous? Is this what Facing West was referring to in the reference to “Fuck Closets” or was that something else?

    I know I’m completely ignorant. That’s why I love reading your blog, LT. It’s a real eye-opener.

    Reply
    • 12. LooneyTunes  |  March 14, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      yeah, that was pretty much the idea behind the storage rooms or basements.. whether consenusal or not, those places are *private* so that stuff can happen.
      it might be difficult to believe but in group homes, the rate of sexual abuse is more than 28 times that of the general population. REF HERE
      Bathroom stalls are another fuck spot.

      These are also places where beating the crap out of someone can happen or threats from groups of kids can occur because they are more private. Plus you can “post” kids to watch out for home parents or workers or tattlers (kids that rat).

      green jello all the time sucks. trust me.
      vanilla ice cream comes close in there too…
      and that crappy cake that they cut into squares and put white icing on that gets stale. crappy.

      Reply
  • 13. D  |  March 14, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Can I have your permission to share this post and the 5 simple things for foster parents, with the foster parent asso?
    You can email me your answer if you want.
    ddashby16@hotmail.com
    thanks

    Reply
  • 14. The Sleeper  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:40 am

    I AGREE WITH ABBY-MOMMA. TOTALLY SUCKS

    Reply
  • 15. LK  |  March 15, 2011 at 2:12 am

    LT

    Excellent post. You just have this natural ability to paint a picture with words. Through that I have gained a whole new set of eyes into the world you grew up in. I thank you for that.

    I really do hope and pray that you come to realize just how important you are.

    Reply
  • 16. h  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Great job as always…

    Reply
  • 17. michelle v  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:47 am

    love your commentors especially #12.
    you really are more special and smart than you give yourself credit for.
    ♥ michelle

    Reply
  • 18. butterflysblog  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:54 am

    Sweet LT – What a great post this is!! This should really be used by all social workers in the foster care organizations so that they can understand the kind of harm they are unintentionally inflicting. Thank you for sharing this post.

    Reply
  • 19. rene wallis  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Foster care is a drag. A nightmare.

    And, if you are foster parent who take the kid seriously and believes you should be the parent-for-real, and you stand up for the child in your care and demand the things the child is supposed to get, things “regular” kids get –

    spend the night with others
    take trips
    appropriate treatment
    bulding a loving family

    The system will find a reason to get the kid out of your home. A social worker will decide that you are “too involved” in the life of the kid. Or a mental health person will say you shoudln’t tuck the kid into bed at night, and that the fact that you do that shows an inappropriate relationship. Or that if the foster parent does something stupid (hey, we are people) its evidence that the foster parent can’t handle it and the kid should be moved.

    And the kid shouldn’t be adopted because… the kid is not adoptable.

    Foster care is a nightmare, it is cruel and mean to kids.

    I am very sorry that you were in that horrible system.

    I am very glad that you are speaking out.

    Reply
    • 20. Jen  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      But… why would “too involved” be used as an excuse?

      I mean, if you were bad boss firing someone for a totally unfair reason, the excuse you made up in order to get away with it wouldn’t be that the employee was ‘too involved’ or ‘too motivated’ or ‘too reliable’. You would make up something negative about their performance – like falsely accusing them of stealing or something.

      So, if a worker tells a foster parent not to get too attached or involved, what reason(s) does (s)he give for why getting involved could be a bad thing?

      Reply
  • 21. Loreley  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Yes, all those suck. Thank you for writing this down.

    I can relate to this feeling of strangeness, lack of safety when you are shuffeled from one place to the other, not informed about what’s up with you, and nobody really cares, nobody provides stability, love, a nurturing environment.

    Perhaps you might want to watch the movie “il ladro de bambini” (stolen children) which also relates to this theme…

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104663/

    Reply
  • 22. Erin  |  March 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    LT, you write so beautifully. I just hope that some foster parents out there read it.

    Reply
  • 23. Kerryjo  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I am much older than you, but the group homes I lived in had 6 beds to a room and no door. The bunks were in the shape of a U.

    Keep writing LT. What you have to say is important.

    I am a foster parent and I am listening.

    Reply
  • 24. kindness  |  March 16, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I live in canton ohio i was in foster care as a child I was placed in a very bad foster home the foster parents was mean my foster parents stayed drink it was too many kids in the foster home the home was so bad i did not know if i would live or die the case worker she knew what was happening but did not do nothing about it i would like to help parents / families dealing with dcfs we need to start having group meetings anyone in ohio can contact me my number is 330 268-9342 we can all work together to try to fix a broken system we have to save our kids thanks

    Reply
  • 25. Rose  |  March 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Wow. What a list. I don’t understand everything on the list, but it makes me sad to read your experiences. Keep writing, as we are learning so much from your sharing.

    Reply
  • 26. Foster Mom in Training  |  July 6, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Thank you for sharing, LT. This is exactly what foster parents, and anyone in the system, need to hear.

    Reply
  • [...] goodness I’ve never experienced foster care. But I found an interesting blog, I was a Foster Kid and the author has written a no-holds-barred commentary about the [...]

    Reply
  • 28. Tiffany  |  February 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    We are foster parents. The state we live in trains foster parents to form attachments with kids and works hard not to move kids unless it’s REALLY necessary.

    My kids are little, but we try to include them in all aspects of our family…it’s just hard…there is a higher standard of appropriate with foster kids than bio kids. For example, our bio kids can harmlessly snuggle with us in bed in the morning…if we did that with a foster child we would be hotlined so fast we wouldn’t know what hit us. To compensate for that, our bio kids are prohibited from snuggling in bed with us anymore either (which causes some resentment).

    Also, foster children have issues (generally) Right now the kids we’ve had for 3 months are acting out, telling us how much they hate being at our house and how our bio children are mean (one of the bio kids is a baby…really?) My point is this. They are complicated. The kids love living in our house and are bonding with us and on some level they feel guilt and loss about that and do everything in their power to push our buttons. If I wasn’t well trained or well educated, I wouldn’t understand this behavior as a stage of attachment.

    Lastly, we are choosing not to adopt these children if (read when) mom loses rights. We love them..they are great kids…they come with MORE SIBLINGS (that they by the way BARELY know). The court refuses to split them up for adoption. I can’t reasonably handle that large amount of children. So, they will be moved from us…even though that’s not what we could chose if the cirrcumstances were different.

    I appreciate your perspective and share your frustrations with the system. But there are good foster parents and good case workers, even good judges…the system just sucks.

    Reply
  • 29. amie justice  |  November 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    My children are not being treated fairly in fostercare.can you help them? They are being treated like prisoners.we need help.they want to come home and I want them to come home.dss want them come home.God bless and thank you.

    Reply
  • [...] Photo Credit: http://looneytunes09.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/things-that-suck-about-being-a-foster-kid/ [...]

    Reply
  • [...] words to express how good it feels to read someone else’s words describing an experience that resonates with  the ones you’ve shouldered alone all these [...]

    Reply
  • 32. Annie Ansell  |  May 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I run a program for youths aging out of foster care, and I would love to share your blog with our group of youths. Could I have your permission to do so?

    Reply
    • 33. LooneyTunes  |  May 30, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      yup. hope it helps. hopefully they are aging-out into programs …so they are not alone.
      peace.

      Reply
  • 34. Jesse Larabee  |  June 15, 2013 at 9:04 am

    good post

    Reply
  • 35. Birgitta  |  July 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I just discovered your blog and I am blown away… I’m a social work major and we’re just beginning to learn about the Child Welfare System. Hearing from someone who has experienced “the system” firsthand and is willing to share about it like you are is so eye-opening. Your writing brings tears to my eyes. You are one badass SURVIVOR for having lived through this. Awesome blog.

    Reply
  • 36. Iggy  |  August 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    damn, i’m scheduled to enter youth programs/foster care soon, after my case reopened this summer when i turned 18…
    seems like there’s a wonderful world waiting for me :D
    I’m amazed that you survived through, maybe i’ll remember how bad schools were in the motherland and gain strength through optimism

    Reply
  • 37. Sarah Redecker Sarich  |  August 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I hear you on the medicaid. One of our foster daughters has a ton of medical problems, and they can’t treat her as well as they should, because medicaid doesn’t cover “alternative medicine,” even when all the regular docs say she needs it.

    Reply
  • 38. Karin L.  |  November 20, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Hey I’m writing a paper for San Francisco State University (actually a business plan and accompanying website, report and fundraising plan) about the need for educational enrichment for foster kids throughout their education, and the potential for connecting foster kids to grants and scholarships. You bring up many of the points I found in my research and I’m wondering if you would tell me your story. You could be quoted in my paper if you like, or you could be anonymous, You can let me know by reply to this note, or email me at theedugrantinitiative (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Reply
    • 39. kitkat00  |  April 14, 2014 at 7:38 am

      Yeah I just like to say to you that this has really helped me cause I’m still in foster but it helps that other people know what I’m going through.
      Kate (12)

      Reply
  • 40. alanamc  |  December 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I just fount this page less than an hour ago and already I have found some answers that people that should know them have failed to answer for years. Keep posting!

    Reply
  • 41. Jesse Larabee from Timmins Ontario and Sudbury Ontario  |  February 14, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    My name is Jesse Larabee and I am a former foster child of the CAS in Ontario. I am also suing the government.

    Reply
  • 42. Jesse Larabee from Timmins Ontario and Sudbury Ontario  |  February 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    The foster care system is a human trafficking system NOT a child protection system. The system gets all this money from government and donations and their using it to protect themselves, not the kids. Their funding formula is based on how many kids they have in their “care”.

    Reply
  • 43. Jesse Larabee from Timmins Ontario and Sudbury Ontario  |  February 14, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Dave Fagon had two degrees and had worked in group homes for 15 years. He was a respected group home worker in the eyes of the other workers and society. He was a predator in the eyes of the group home kids. He started his social work career in around the year of 1998. He was charged with SEXUAL ASSAULT in 2012 after an incident in 2008 he was alleged to have fondled a female co – worker at a group home during the night shift. In 2013 he plead guilty to the lesser charge of assault.

    Reply
  • 44. Jesse Larabee  |  February 14, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    I was born in Timmins, Ontario on April 26, 1998.

    I lived in Timmins, Ontario until age 10 years old.

    At age 10 years old, my mother and I moved to Sudbury.

    I was a happy little boy.

    I was happy until I went into the Sudbury group homes and I was trafficked for profit.

    The CAS in Ontario may claim to be heros and may claim to protect kids but thats simply not always true.

    Who am I? My name is Jesse Larabee and I was born in Timmins, Ontario but was child trafficked in Sudbury, Ontario.

    READ MY BLOG HERE:

    http://survivorsofgrouphomes.blogspot.ca/

    Reply
  • 45. carol  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:40 am

    hi everyone. i am new to fostering. i would like to ask you guys both in foster and fostering if you have any useful tips only know by experience. thank you to you all in advance. i want to be the BEST i can be.x

    Reply
  • 46. kitkat00  |  April 14, 2014 at 7:36 am

    This is what I feel right now.:(

    Reply

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE

This blog is copyrighted.
I know that means you can't take my writing without my permission. If you do, something can happen.
Plus, that is just a real shitty thing to do -- take someone's thoughts -- so don't do it!

I am happy if you want to use my writing to help those involved in the foster care system, but please, leave a comment asking if it is ok and letting me know.

Peace.

Copyrighted 2009-2013

WAKE UP FOLKS

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

This blog is copyrighted.
I know that means you can't take my writing without my permission. If you do, something can happen.
Plus, that is just a real shitty thing to do -- take someone's thoughts -- so don't do it!

I am happy if you want to use my writing to help those involved in the foster care system, but please, leave a comment asking if it is ok and letting me know.

Peace.

Copyrighted 2009-2013


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