Lately, we have been hearing more and more about foster care. Some of things we have been hearing aren’t very flattering. Some of the things just plain break our hearts. And lastly some of things that are being said are help people become aware of the need this country has for more good foster parents
We all basically know why a child goes into custody. For some reason the parents of that child isn’t able to meet the physical or emotional needs of the child or the child is being mistreated. The parents may not be able to meet the child needs due to illness, money problems or even their own mental problems. Then there is another major factor that places children into the foster system, abuse. Abuse is brought on from a number of reasons. We all know the signs of when a child is being abused. And if you see these signs please take action, call your local police. Help them protect the child.
Now do you know what happens when a child is taken out of the home?
Generally, the child will be removed at night; around eleven o’clock is a popular time. Why? There are usually less people at the home and the ones there are usually just the people living inside the home. At this time of the night, people are also usually starting to wire down for the night, they aren’t as combative. Friday nights also seems to be the popular night of the week.
Of course, the family has been investigated first and there has been a finding that shows the child is being neglected or abused.
A social worker usually travels along with a police officer, sometimes in the same car. The police officer will knock on the door, speak to the parents, show proof of what is happening. The social worker will then go to the child and if the child is old enough gently wake the child. The child will then be told that he/she is going have to leave with them. Imagine this poor child. Remember this child has probably been woken. There is a stranger in his/her room. Mom could be crying. Dad could be cursing. The social worker hands him a bag and asks him/her to pack a bag of his/her stuff.
After the bag is packed, the child is taken passed mom and dad to the police car. Again, try to imagine how this poor child is feeling.
The child is now placed into the car and taken to the local children service building. He/she is asked a series of questions and is examined for head lice. He/she may also be asked to change into some other clothes, so the social worker can see if there is any bruises on his/her body.
After the social worker is finished with his/her duties the soon to be foster parents are called. They will either be called to pick up the child or the social worker will bring the child to them.
Either way, the child is put into another car and taken to this strange home. He/she is left with strangers.
The strangers may be nice. The strangers may want to help. The strangers may live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood, yet they are still strangers.
If you are the foster parents what should you do?
How you act, of course, will depend on the age of the child. The best course of action is to get the child back to sleep as soon as he/she is emotionally able. If he/she is old enough, offer him/her some hot chocolate. Talk, if he/she wants to talk. Above all, no matter how dirty this child may be (chances are, he/she will be extremely dirty) allow the child to go to bed, the way he/she is. Don’t worry about the sheets or the bed. You can wash the sheets and air out the bed in the morning. Just help the child get through the night.
In fact, that is your first job, getting the child through the first night, the second night, on and on. . . If you manage to do that, you are on your way to helping the child.