Not only is tomorrow FRIDAY, but my son Dustin is going on his first overnighter. He is going to be gone from 6:30 Friday to Saturday about 3:00. Dang! Dustin has never been able to do this before. His behavior would not allow him to spend the night away. This time it is with a large group of children at our church. Dustin will have 2 adults assigned to him to make certain he is being appropriate and most importantly enjoying himself. I am so excited for him, and I'm embarrassed to admit it, but also for us. Sometimes it's nice not to have the trauma if possible. Actually he has been doing fantastically since the doctor up'ed his Serroquel and added Haloperidol to take the "edge" off. We haven't had ANY reports of difficulties at school for 9 days! That is awesome for Dustin. Hopefully he will behave and enjoy his time this weekend.
Now o the post I have been hinting about for a while now. My issues with DFC . . . Department of Family & Children. While we were foster parenting we had a child placed with us who was 12. This child was a bi-racial child and was quiet and mellow when we first met him He had been in a group home placement since he had been removed from his biological home about 8 months previous to our placement. We were told he was doing well at the group home, still had lots of visits with his birth mom and dad serperately and was able to spend the weekend at dad's home often. We had never dealt with so much parental involvement before, but decided to give this placement a try since we felt close to this child since we first met him. Our agency had just received the referral for this child and had never worked with him before. We had a meeting in our home (this will be important later) with the county case worker and our case manager from our agency. We discussed this child's anger issues (since Harrison was only 5 months old this was a concern) and spoke about strategies and emergency placement options if we needed a break. The county case worker went upstairs, checked out the room this child would share (also important) with Dustin for whom we had already put in a petition for adoption. We talked at length about Dustin and how this child would deal with and interact with him in our home. The caseworker said since we had some really successful visits and this child was appropriate with everyone involved she would place him in our home.
Months go by. We have some blow ups, we have some emergency respite. All in all things are going well! I get pregnant. We still make a commitment to helping this child. The time comes for court and low and behold his parents who have been fighting the termination of their parental rights agree to termination because they like us and hope that we will adopt the child. They were also told by the case worker IN MY PRESENCE and in the presence of our case manager, that visitation can continue and should continue at least every other weekend with his father if it continues to go well. We make no commitment to adopt at this time; in fact the child does not want to be adopted. He wants to simply be a ward of the county until he ages out, in Indiana a 14 year old can make that decision. We attend counseling; we do everything that will help this child. We continue visitation with dad.
Catholic Charities came to our home to do an assessment for putting this child up for adoption. We told her about the visitation. She blew a gasket. It seems the county caseworker lied. There was to be NO visitation. This was specified in the court order. She lied to us! One night in therapy this child broke down and told me he loved us and wanted to be adopted. We spoke with Catholic Charities and she put in an intent to adopt. The following week is Easter, the child starts saying things I'm not comfortable with, he complains that Dustin had been talking about sex. For a week or so Dustin had been saying really inappropriate things. We were frustrated; we thought it was due to the pregnancy. (We should've seen that the child was grooming Dustin, I feel really guilty about this.). I promised this child I would talk to Dustin after school. He starts "backpedaling" saying "NO! Don't make him mad", and "Promise you won't tell him I said anything" My husband mentions it to Dustin that night after therapy. He says "----- had sex with me"
This is not something a child lies about. Dustin was a liar, however, he would have no idea how to even lie about this. Robert called me on the cell and asked me to come out to the van. Dustin told me what he had said. I asked questions, he gave very real answers. I walked into my home called our case manager and said "Come get him now." I never said another word to this child. They came, I packed his bag and he was gone. The first call I made was to his therapist. She said something I will NEVER forget as long as I live, and I quote "I was afraid this would happen" WHAT! She then informed me that this had been an issue in this child's past. And that even after he had been placed in my home there had been an allegation of sexual abuse on another child in the group home who told after this one left. WHAT!
Back to what I said earlier . . . We had a meeting in our home with the county case worker and our case manager from our agency. . . . and this one . . . The county case worker went upstairs checked out the room this child would share. She knew full well this child could and probably would perpetrate on my son.
There are a couple of good things. This happened when Dustin was really having a difficult time with his medications. He was in a psychotic state for most of the time around when he was abused. He was extremely distraught and usually delusional during this time. Even though he remembered vividly what occurred that night and later told it on video to police and the prosecutors, he wasn't truly affected by the abuse. He will not speak this child's name and does not talk about it by choice. When asked to visit this issue in therapy, he will answer any questions asked in a very matter of fact way. I believe he looks at it as simply another crappy thing that happened to him in his short life. His therapist believes that it will not be an issue at a later time either. We are however cautious about the situations we put him in. We are cautious to not ever be too trusting.
My husband and I attended this child's court sentencing. He admitted to our faces that the abuse occurred. There was no doubt in my mind. I made him look at me as he was made by the judge to read a letter I wrote about the disappointment we had experienced due to his actions. and how his actions had affected Dustin right after the abuse. I saw in his eyes regret more so than I have ever seen before. It was a very sad day.
My anger is with the system. This case worker lied to my face. We had asked specifically about sexual issues. She KNEW the boys shared a room. She knew this was an issue for this child. She threw this child to the wolves . . . she knew he would be tempted. Her only priority was placement. My other children were not her priority. She was sworn to protect children and in the process of this placement SHE herself put mine at risk. If I as a parent would've knowingly put my children in that situation she would've taken them from my home saying I was negligent. ARGH! I GET SO ANGRY TALKING ABOUT THIS!
So, that's off my chest. If you email me, I'd be glad to give you real names of those involved. I will not do that in this public forum. I will however caution foster parents who accept everything DFC says at face value. We did, it was detrimental to my child. Do your homework! Please be careful!
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