Monday, 3 September 2012

I was alerted

yesterday to the fact that there was going to be an article in today's paper about "kids in care".
It is there and I have just read it. There are the usual complaints that it is hard to find people who are willing to foster children and that some children are difficult to foster.
I do not think the article said anything new. I suspect the real reason for making a fuss is sheer desperation on the part of the department concerned. They need more people willing to foster children, particularly difficult children. This does not surprise me.
It would be nice to think of all children in a loving, safe environments where they are well cared for. It is also not going to happen.
I also think that the social welfare "industry" and the "politically correct" lobby have made it much harder to be a foster carer. They are partly to blame for the problems.
Foster care is seen as a last resort. The philosophy is to keep parent and child together if at all possible. That sounds fine but is it always the best thing for the child? It seems to me that, by the time the social workers realise it is not going to work, the child has suffered so much damage that they are going to have behavioural and other problems. When the foster carers are asked to take over they have the almost impossible task of disciplining the child and trying to alter the behaviour patterns brought on by years of bad parenting - and they have to do it within the guide lines laid down by the department rather than their own. 
Yes, children get abused in care too and nobody wants to see children being beaten or sexually assaulted but it is difficult to punish a child in any way at all.  I know two people who have fostered a number of children over many years. The children they have taken in have all had other disabilities and they have done extremely well with them.  Recently they were asked to "as a favour" take in a boy with serious behavioural issues "just until we find a place for him". Against their better judgment they did it.
He disrupted the household to the point where it was clear he could not be handled there either. He also made an accusation of sexual harrassment against the husband and, until the child was caught out in a blatant lie - coached by his mother whose visits they were expected to supervise, it looked as if the other three children would also be removed from what is a loving and caring home. The stress it has caused them all is unbelievable.
Life is settling down again for the foster couple and their charges. They have not given up on the other three children. The department in question is fortunate. They have three children being well cared for who would have been almost impossible to place elsewhere because of their medical issues.
After the disruptive child had departed the foster mother said to me,
       "You know Cat if he had been with us from a baby he surely would not have been like that. They kept him with his mother until he was seven and that is just too late."
I wonder what we are doing to some children in the name of political correctness and the social welfare industry.  Are we really doing the best thing for the child?

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