fucked up rules of foster care… anyone?

February 18, 2011 at 1:43 am 414 comments

I went to work today which in itself was a miracle, considering I am depressed. But I realize if I lose my job, I lose my apartment.  I have no desire to be homeless again, unless I was dead and then you could throw my ass in the ocean to sink and get eaten by sharks. Also trust me, if I were my boss, by now I would have fired my ass already; based on my difficulty with getting to work, so I needed to get there and show face.

As I entered I noticed there was a new paper hanging on the wall near the entrance.  The paper which was a sign and said RULES AS OF FEBRUARY 2011. Then it listed a bunch of rules, some which were really ridiculous.

As I looked at this sign, my head exploded thinking about all the fucked-up foster care rules that exist…Let me share some of them with you and feel free to comment or share ones that you know or experienced.  Please remember, foster care is STATE-BASED, so states have difference rules….  I am sharing my dumb-ass state rules or those I heard over and over again on the streets from aged-out kids.

Not in any order of importance…

Stupid Rule #1 — 15/22   know what that means?

It did not apply to me, because TPR in my case occurred quickly under what has become known as “aggravated circumstances.”  But this 15/22 means that a kid has to be in foster care for 15 consecutive months out of 22 before TPR proceedings can begin.  So, a kid has to sit in foster care for over a year… while the bioparents could be doing nothing.  15 months is a long time to sit in foster care while the bioparents are not working their case-plan, not doing anything to reunite.  How fair is that to the kid?

Don’t you think if a parent really wants their kid back,

they would be doing something ASAP?

This rule screws the kids.  Makes them sit and wait….and the longer a kid lingers in foster care, the more their chance of getting adopted slips away because they get old and hardened by the system.

I once read that it takes adults 2 years to finish substance abuse treatment and get themselves together.  If that statistic is truthful and  bioparents do not start working on their case plans until 8-9 months, a child could sit for 3 years before getting reunited IF the bios finish treatment.

The rule should be more like “Parents must start working their case plan within 3 months.  If they CHOOSE not to do so, TPR proceedings will begin.” And then some additional words about the number of times bioparents can drop out and come back before TPR happens.  Why should the kids sit and linger when the bioparents are out “playing,” running away, and not taking responsibility?

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Stupid Rule #2 —  No haircut.

Are you kidding me?  This is state-based, but where I was in foster care, haircuts had to be approved by the bioparents or workers.

Don’t you think the bioparents have more problems to worry about?

Fucking hair grows back.

I think the system considers it “changing your identity.”  Folks, if my hair was wrapped up in my identity, I would have committed suicide by now, as my hair is always messy.

Kids want to be cool like everyone else.  So if the neighborhood has mohawks, so should the foster kid.  Ever get gum in your hair?  If it is real bad, a haircut would save it.

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Stupid Rule #3 — Foster kids sit in the back of the car.

Am I a criminal?  Am I?  I fucking hated everytime I was moved or transported and was “forced” to sit in the back of the county gray or white car, with the BIG state seal on it.  Comon?  I understand the safety of young children, but do you have any idea what it feels like sitting back there scared and ALONE? By the time I was a teen being transported, I felt like a criminal sitting alone in silence in the back.  Put the kids up front with the workers.  And if the kids are too young, bring another worker along to sit in the back, so the kid is not alone.  It’s bad enough feeling all alone and scared, but sitting in the back in silence separated by a big seat makes it all worse.

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Stupid Rule #4 — Giving states money for kids that get adopted.

It corrupts the system.  Period.  Give money PER FOSTER CHILD in the system, irregardless of what happens to the child.  All children deserve the best treatment and goals.  Offering money for those adopted encourages the system to focus more strongly on those that are “adoptable” — younger, whiter, no problems, etc.

ALL KIDS should get equal focus.

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Stupid Rule #5 — No driving.

In some states, youth in foster care are not allowed to get a driver’ license.  In other states, the decision rests with so many different people;  bioparents (sometimes), foster parents, case managers, or county directors that it takes forever to get a license.

In many cases, foster parents don’t want to sign off  or social workers do not have authority to sign for foster youth or the department won’t authorize a teen to drive.  In any circumstance, there is ALOT of red tape.

Furthermore, to drive, teens need insurance.  If teens are not working, where does the money for insurance come from? — foster parents?  the system?  Ideally stipends should be given to cover the increase in foster parent insurance rates.  Makes sense…huh?

I left care at 18 with NO license and did not get one until a couple years later, when I decided to get off living on the streets. I learned to drive from a fucking pothead!  If you expect us to be adults at 18, doesn’t one of those privileges include driving?

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Stupid Rule #6 — Some states do not allow single people, gay people, or those cohabiting to foster.

WTF?  So, it is much better for kids to linger in group homes or hotels or shelters than in a foster home, because a potential foster parent is single or gay?  Who the hell thought of this?  Why?  I would have been happy in any stable home, with someone who cared about me… Kids are looking for caring and understanding and love…and don’t usually care who is sleeping with who, as long as they (the kids) are not in danger.   Additionally, don’t you think in some situations, these individuals might be ideal for children; for example, those children that have been abused by men or those children that may be gay/lesbian.  Why are we excluding people?  Why?

I just wanted a family…SOMEONE to love me.

I believe  states, like Arkansas and Utah, don’t allow people to foster if they are cohabiting with a sexual partner outside marriage.  So, like you can’t live with your long-term boyfriend or girlfriend and foster.  Um, really?  I bet you a million bucks that  foster kids have seen and experienced a hell of alot worse than “people living in sin.”  And again, is living in a group home or shelter or worse so much better for our psyche….

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Stupid Rule #7 — Foster parents can’t have pets.

OMG.  Yes, this is true.  No dogs.  No cats.  No pets.  While it is possible that some (not the majority) of foster children are cruel to animals, the truth is that animals can provide ALOT of healing and connection for a child who is alone and scared.

The “liability” regarding injury is ridiculous… bike riding, playing ball, climbing a jungle gym or swinging….all have “liability.”

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Stupid Rule #8 — No trampolines.

I personally have never been on one, but I heard this on the streets from kids who were in foster care in the south, where I guess trampolines are *in*.  Apparently even with the safety net, trampolines are not allowed.  LOL, because I really don’t know what they are..  I knew one kid on the streets who was foster care in Texas who said they could have trampolines, but they were prohibited from doing somersaults — he said WTF, that is what kids do…..  I’m from the city..we don’t have these things where I am from…

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Stupid Rule #9 — Required “case-loads” workers should have.

You read statistics that say caseworkers should only have 12 kids or 16 kids, but they have 25 kids or 32 kids.  CRAP!  Remove the numbers and focus on the kids. Most caseworkers can’t do a good job with alot of kids.  Period.  I’m stupid and I know this.  Reduce the number and stop making rules about how many kids a worker should have.  Some of the things number  should depend on is:  age of kids, long-term kids vs. reunification kids, kids with problems vs. kids without.

How can you make a rule like this?  Stupid.  Some kids simply need more attention.   Fuck, it should be about the kids, not numbers.  Hire more workers with all the dam money you are getting for getting kids adopted!

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Stupid Rule #10 —  Access to foster care records.

FREE MY RECORDS!

Under social service laws, my records are considered confidential. That is years of my life that I should get to keep for memories, to help piece my life together, or to fucking burn IF I WANT. In many states the records are confidential.  Some states allow access, but it takes years.

How fucked up is it that I have to petition a court who 99.99% of the time DENIES the requests for records.

WHAT ARE YOU HIDING?

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.

With all the stupid rules that exist in foster care

you would think it would run like clockwork.

Yeah….

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Foster kids and food… It sure can be a fucked-up relationship. all about sweets .. to overcome a sucky day

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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.

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