Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Foster Parent Allegations

What exactly does it take to substantiate an allegation of abuse against a foster parent?

In court today, play therapist Susan Honeck said that she reported evidence of abuse four years before Ricky Holland was murdered by his adoptive parents.

Honeck had noticed a very deep rope burn on Ricky's wrist. Ricky told her that he had been handcuffed and tied up with dog rope. Honeck immediately informed Ricky's psychiatrist and filed a complaint with his social worker.

State officials dismissed Honeck's complaint as "unsubstantiated," and proceeded with Ricky's adoption. The Hollands were also approved to adopt Ricky's sister and two brothers.

Shortly after Honeck filed the complaint, Ricky's counseling with her was terminated.

Looking at it from multiple points of view

1.) The foster parents: To become a foster parent is to put yourself at risk. In training, foster parents are often told to expect allegations of abuse from troubled foster children. An Ohio foster parent has expressed her point-of-view eloquently in this blog:

2.) The foster children: What if foster daddy is truly putting the moves on you? What if foster mom really isn't giving you enough food? Among the many wonderful and dedicated foster parents, there are some serious freaks and losers. like Ricky Holland's and Marcus Fiesel's foster parents, for example.

Being in foster care = lack of credibility. If you as a foster child report abuse, it might be viewed as lying, seeking attention, etc. -- even if you are telling the truth, and the abuse is truly happening.

"False allegations" are a concern because they discourage potential foster parents.

Yet, I must be honest and tell you that my primary concern is for the child or teenager in foster care. Please listen to them. Being in foster care does not mean being a liar.

Ricky Holland told his play therapist that his foster parents were abusing him. The Hollands were allowed to adopt him and three of his siblings. Now, Ricky is dead.

Bouffard, Karen. Witness: State ignored abuse - social worker testifies Ricky was tied up, handcuffed before Hollands adopted 7-year-old. Detroit News, September 20, 2006.

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Did you read that woman's website in depth? She sure left a bad taste in my mouth. First of all, the way she talked about that girl sure was wicked. She made it seem like her problems were all her fault. Secondly, how did she expect the girl to feel about her and her family? All the other foster children were considered "her kids", but yet for all those years, she was certain she didn't want to adopt the oldest girl. Why even have her in your home then? The way she said that they tried to explain why they "couldn't" adopt her without hurting her feelings pissed me off. Then the double standard by stating that they wanted her to feel like she'd always be a member of the family because she didn't have one of her own? Huh? If you want her to always be a member of your family, then adopt her. Don't think of her differently than the other children. Also, if she was so sexually advanced, then maybe she shouldn't have been in a home with any men or boys, period. Maybe she should have been with a single foster mom. But then again, single moms aren't social worker's picture of perfection so there may not have been this type of home available.
All throughout that woman's website, she was snippy. Her disdain for the girl showed. So maybe the girl did lie, but when kids do lie, there is always an underlying reason. She felt unwanted, hell, she WAS unwanted. She was young, uneducated, betrayed, and wanted to get back. Can you blame her? "That woman kept me lingering in her home for five years but never really loved me or wanted me" wouldn't have gotten any attention.
"He had sex with me" did. This girl knew that.
Maybe this woman would have been a better foster parent if foster parenting was her first choice instead of some last resort after years of trying to "have her own".
Grrr, now you have me angry, Lisa.

You are awesome.

I love your response to my posting. Please don't delete it.

You asked some great questions.

I'm trying to be fair and balanced in my postings because I've been talking with a lot of foster parents who feel that they are vulnerable to allegations.

So, I am trying to share their side of the story. And I was asked to share that site.

But, I agree 100% with you,
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