Sunday, October 01, 2006

Strengthening the oversight of foster care

I linked to FosterAbba in a recent posting, because there are many dedicated foster parents out there, with good intentions. Foster parents whose idealism led them to pursue foster care, and who experience emotional pain when foster youth are removed from their home.

I wish every foster parent were like that... but since there are some nefarious foster parents out there, there needs to be nationwide oversight over foster placements.

1.) Each state should keep track of deaths in foster care. This is not happening.

2.) If one child dies in foster care, all other foster children should be removed immediately. Two-year-old Allison Newman was placed in foster care in November 2004, due to maternal neglect. Her Michigan foster family had expressed hopes that they might adopt her. Social workers documented that Allison appeared healthy and happy when they visited her.
Two days after a caseworker visit, Allision was dead. The foster mother claims that Allison "repeatedly hit her her on the side of the bed in the course of play." However, Allison's autopsy has led to questions and doubts about this explanation.

To their credit, Lutheran Social Services removed other foster children from the home immediately. Sadly, this does not always happen.

3.) National information sharing when it comes to sexual and/or physical abuse by foster parents. If an adult sexually abuses a foster child in one state, he/she should not be free to do the same in another state.

In my state, they are exploring the possibility of a statewide database of foster parents, so that adults who abuse the children in their care in one county or through one agency aren't free to do the same in another.

Sources
Ferretti, Christine. Questions surround tot's foster care, Detroit News, Sept. 26, 2006, Metro, pg 2B.
Miller, Carol Marbin. No list of kids on mood drugs. Miami Herald, Sept. 23, 2006, Metro pg. 1B.

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