Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Something Has to Change - How?

One of the biggest issues I've encountered with trouble in foster care is burn out. Several of my friends and family members have been foster care parents, or temporary family homes for foster children. Both in Iowa and Nebraska. In cases where those folks have stepped away from the system it's because they have witnessed the case of a child or children being returned to a very broken family scenario and they've lost heart.

Foster parents are expected to love a child like it is their own but remember it is not. What a wonderfully impossible goal. But that goal exists because reunification is the best alternative and the legal best outcome in Iowa. So helplessly, a foster parent watches a child return to a home where they will likely be fed, clothed, cleaned and nurtured in a way that is not going to lead to a successful outcome.

Some children are resilient and can overcome great odds and grow up to be super achievers if given a few breaks. Others will end up in defeat sinking into the road cut for them by nature and it turns out nurture. We have reached a point in the foster care system where many of todays parents of children going into or residing long term in foster care have been foster care children themselves.  Multiple generations of children in foster care might mean that the system is broken or breaking.

Not every foster care child has a safe family that is willing to adopt them. Which means that if termination happens, they become wards of the state or "legal orphans" as stated in an article I read. In this scenario is a broken, possibly dangerous family a better outcome than a facility?

Federal foster care laws state that termination must happen if a child spends 15 of the previous 22 months in foster care. Each state interprets that statement its own way.

What to do? Is there a solution that can lead to a better outcome?

to be continued