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View Diary: My July 4th in prison, or what it really takes to be a foster family (141 comments)

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  •  Oregon has something called permanent placement (22+ / 0-)

    My daughter took in one of her students (a young teen) as a foster child. The situation was such that it would have taken years to terminate parental rights, if it could be done at all. It probably was better for the child to believe that her parents did not want to give her up and that they were not so bad that the court terminated their rights. These cases are complicated.

    •  There are similar programs in our state (20+ / 0-)

      And certainly when a TPR (termination of parental rights) is not warranted or possible, a permanent placement makes sense.  There are many kind-hearted folks who provide this opportunity to kids and we should support them with thanks and accolades.  It is good work they do.

      Even in those cases I wish the kids were better protected. I don't know the laws in Oregon, but in most states "permanent" or "long-term" is an arrangement that almost no thinking adult would enter in to contractually from the youth's side because they have so few enforceable rights.  

      And there is another side to this.  If there is a TPR--which most "waiting kids" have, and many more should but the back log causes agencies to move slowly-- should the state be ordering children permanently in to families in which they have no legal standing and where there is no desire to give them legal standing?  Permanency and family are not simply a roof over your head or a place where you are assured you will be welcomed at the holidays. Unlike a legal family, if a foster family decides they don't want a kid due to behavior, personality conflicts (sometimes with a newly arrived foster child) or any other circumstance, the youth can simply be moved even if the placement was "long term" and there is no legal consequence for the parent (try doing that with your teenager after a big fight and you will be investigated for neglect or abandonment).  Further, if a family experiences a difficulty--death, unemployment, relocation--the foster child is typically moved to take the strain off the family, whereas legally protected children stay--to suggest otherwise would be greeted with shock.   Legally protected children experience life with their families, cannot be rejected without legal consequences,  and most enjoy the continuity and stability of extended family, of facing challenges or changes with the same people by your side, and of knowing that your siblings, cousins, parents and grandparents are still yours, for better or for worse, at age 18, 21, 40 or 60.  The wonderful privileges of family run deep--even in less than ideal families--and it is almost impossible to replace unless the relationship bears the same cultural and legal weight.  And for kids who have been traumatized, it is imperative that we fulfill our inherent promise to make their lives whole after the courts act on our behalf to terminate parental rights.  The social and cultural cost of what happens to far too many kids who age out demands that we do better.

    •  Then the laws need to be changed, so that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      two roads

      the parental rights could be terminated: IF it was not in her best interests to live with them.

      Children need to belong in every way to their new families, who need to understand they will still have some belonging to their bio-families, whether parental rights are terminated or not.

      There is one good thing in this story, the state allowed the teen to live with someone she had a relationship with.

      When the state prevents foster children from being placed with people who love them and want them -- and trust me, it happens all over the country, and frequently -- the child loses.

      This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

      by AllisonInSeattle on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 02:40:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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