View Full Version : Class Action Status Granted in Child Care Review Case



kevinpate
05-06-2009, 05:19 AM
This will become rather interesting as it continues to unfold
Tulsa World: Judge grants class-action status in Oklahoma child care lawsuit (http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=12&articleid=20090505_298_0_Afeder563996)

PennyQuilts
05-06-2009, 05:43 AM
Thanks for posting, Kevin. I agree that, depending on the facts of a specific case, that it is hard to pick an arbitrary number on how many cases are too many. Certainly, you want to err on the side of caution. That being said, some of the best social workers I know, by virtue of their skill and abilities, get assigned the most horrible cases. Two or three of those cases can create more havoc than 20 - 25 garden variety (if there is such a thing) foster care cases. I have no idea how the states would be able to afford or recruit the number of foster care workers needed if they drop the caseload to 15. There is tremendous burnout and turnover as it is. Of course, if they reduce the caseloads substantially, that might help avoid so much burnout. I'm not saying they shouldn't do it, I am simply looking at it from a practical standpoint of how it would be done. There is no magic wand you can waive to suddenly have people beating down the door to become a foster care worker or foster parent.

In my own practice, I have had kids abused in foster care. Not many, but it happens. The combination of difficult children, too many in a home, and the pathology that affects certain people drawn to foster care creates a stew. Most of our foster families are wonderful. Some are amazing. Some are predatory, mentally ill or just plain mean. I always am sketical of people willing to take in horribly damaged children or adopt kids that are going to take round the clock care for the next couple of decades. Some people are just saints but others have other motives or simply bite off more than they can chew. Plus, the clientelle can frequently be so unpleasant that some workers are going to go into avoidance mode - just a sad fact of it and while it doesn't excuse not following up, it increases the likelihood that it will happen, unfortunately. Additionally, some people are great at manipulating the system and are so sweet and nice that the workers are lulled into a sense of security and don't look as closely as they should. None of that excuses not being dilligent but it sets up a situation that can go bad for these kids.

A lot of the kids are sexually abused before they go into care or have other problems that make them be perfect victims. I had one child who was sexually abused by her foster father (he is in jail, now) and it was hell getting the truth out. She was as willing an accomplice as a 13 year old can be, looking for love and all that. If the b*stard hadn't fessed up, they'd have never gotten a conviction. I'd had bad vibes for two years and wanted to move her but she was doing well in school and the community and had begged me to let the family adopt her. I blocked that - sent her into orbit - but am sure glad I did. The guy was always appropriate, as was his wife. I still got a vibe but could never pin it down to anything other than a bad feeling. When you have a child who, from the outside, is thriving and wants to stay, you don't yank them out on a vibe. But that case still haunts me as you can imagine.

possumfritter
05-11-2009, 08:39 PM
I am interested in seeing how this plays out as well. See Childrenís Rights is a national watchdog organization advocating on behalf of abused and neglected children in the U.S. ó Childrenís Rights (http://www.childrensrights.org/)

PennyQuilts
05-12-2009, 06:01 AM
I am getting more concerned about our nation's foster care system. And I already had great concerns. Just in the past 6 - 7 years, I've seen some developments that I don't know how we are going to work through with the resources at hand.

In the first place, the kids coming into foster care are frequently more damaged than in years gone by. For example, we have seen an escalation in kids who are sexual predators, even kids as little at 6 years old. I don't mean that they are going to immediatelyy rape their peers but I also don't mean they are just playing doctor. These are kids who are secretive and into "power." They can't put these kids in with other children, especially younger children, so you have far fewer foster homes to place them.

Additionally, with the kids being so much more messed up than they used to be, your typical well meaning foster parent simply can't handle them. These kiddos frequently have multiple appointments every week to therapists or medication evaluations or visitations or school appointments. One child with that many things going on is hard enough. A foster parent doesn't get paid all that much to spend their life carting around kids from one appointment to the next. It completely can take over a family. The only real way you can make any money to even break even with foster care kids is to take in several, and they just take so much time and energy that we are losing our foster care families. So there are less to pull from with kids that are more damaged.

Even in this part of the country (outside of DC), these parents get about $300.00 a month plus a clothing allowance. How ridiculous is that? But there isn't more money. People take them in out of the goodness or their hearts or, sometimes, for bad reasons.

There are lots of reasons the system is circling the drain - these are just a couple of them.

Midtowner
05-12-2009, 08:03 AM
This subject reminds me of a recent editorial in the Oklahoman about how the damned lawyers should just leave the state alone so the state can fix its own problems and not have to pay attorneys fees.

Completely absurd. Here's something for ya -- the state knows for a fact that it's going to lose this case, so why haven't they fixed anything? Here's why: Because they know it's cheaper to pay the attorney's fees for their own lawyers and for the other side's lawyers than it will be to remedy the problems now rather than later.

The trouble is (for me) with this type of expenditure, that no amount will ever fix the problem. Further, I'm not even concerned that more money will even mitigate the damage done. I've had the experience of working with kids like ECO is referring to. Honestly? They're beyond help. The best thing you can hope for is that they'll end up locked away in some psychiatric facility for the rest of their lives upon reaching 18 so that they don't hurt anyone else.

possumfritter
05-25-2009, 08:17 PM
East Coast Okie,

I really appreciate your posts, especially given the fact that you have practical hands on experience and knowledge when it comes to Foster Children.

I am a "product" of Foster Care. Now, I wasn't in any kind of therapy, or on medications, or a "problem" child. My Dad was in the Navy and always out on a cruise, and my Mom was an alcoholic (something I came to understand after I found out about several "incidents" that took place when she was younger, 1930's to 1950's).

Anyways, I lived in 13 different Foster Homes, mainly because after the second one I simply ran away to go back to my Mom. I was placed in two different "children's homes," juvenile hall, and a boys camp. I was in a Foster Home during my last year in High School. The day I graduated, my Foster Parents gave me a sleeping bag and wished me good luck.

Of all the Foster Homes I was in, the second one was the best...they were like Grandparents. But ya know what one thing I never got in any of those Foster Homes...a hug.

By the time I "aged out" I was not ready for what I was about to face. I'll skip all those details. 2 1/2 years after graduating, not being able to successfully navigate my way through collage, I enlisted in the Air Force, and had a somewhat good career track...until I met Jack Daniels.

But ya know, with the exception of that 2nd home, those folks didn't care. For the most part, depending on which home I stayed in long enough, my foster-sisters, foster-brothers and I were cheap labor, and I sincerely mean that.

I would have loved to have attended only one High School so I could have participated in Sports. I always thought I was good enough to take Willie Mays position when he retired. I attended seven different High Schools in 4 years.

But it is what it is. I just hope it is better for the children caught up in Foster Care today.

kevinpate
05-25-2009, 09:28 PM
> But ya know what one thing I never got in any
> of those Foster Homes...a hug.

One of the worst things to ever come out of the late 20th century was the silly arse notion that we should be afraid to give a hug to a youth, for fear of being blackmailed, brought out on charges or held up to public scrutiny.

We've heard it for near on all of our adult lives. We heard it from idiotic hand wringers when we were houseparents in a temporary placement shelter. We heard it when we were weekend fill-ins for a specialized group home. We heard it when we would watch the children of friends so they could enjoy an eve or weekend away. We heard it when we were active in Scouting, both GSUSA and BSA, last century and the current one as well. We heard it when there was a house full of infants and toddlers and toddlerettes via a home based day care.

We heard it, we even thanked folks for their concern, which we believed then, and believe still today, was/is misguided, nonsensical, and absolutely not in the best interest of children.

We heard it, we discounted it, and for over a quarter of a century as adults, smiles, kindness and yes, even hugs have been freely given. Not one lawsuit, not one investigation, but upteen gajillion thanks, smiles, happy faces and huge ol' bless you hugs were received in return.

There's appropriate touch and there is inappropriate touch. Unless one lives under a rock in abject fear of the remotely possible, it ain't exactly rocket science to know the difference.

I regret you didn't have foster peeps who knew this to be true.

PennyQuilts
05-26-2009, 04:24 AM
So sad. Back in the days before foster care, a lot of kids who needed a home ended up with relatives - it was either that or the street. A lot ended up in the street. But a lot ended up with relatives. Many didn't have a good situation but I have to believe that plenty blended into a loving family who weren't afraid to love them.

Some foster care people are just saints and I want to give them all the credit. But for someone to take in a child with a, say, $300.00 stipend, I have to wonder if they have a problem - even if it is simply just a benign pathology. The best fits that I have seen are kids that go to family members or perhaps a coach or something that already had a relationship with the child. A lot of foster parents take in multiple kids for the money. And as was posted, a lot of these kids run again and again back to mom. Who, no offense, is frequently not worth shooting. But the kids don't know that.

Truth be told, I don't have all that many kids go to foster care homes, anymore. Most of my kids coming into the system end up in residential placements. It may be that the judges tend to send me the hard cases since I specialize but so many of my kids are so damaged that they can't function in a regular foster care home. And where I work, if there is a relative that is willing and able, the kids almost always go there instead of coming into care in the first place. The laws have changed to encourage that. It is a relatively rare child that comes into care when there is a relative available in my jurisdiction.

But right now, I have three little girls who are in foster care. Their mother is a nutcase, seriously. She tried to kill them, the father of one of the girls and herself. Or at least she made those threats. When someone called the police, the woman insisted she didn't know the location of the fathers (a complete lie - she'd just driven from a wedding that she crashed of one of the dad's relatives and had a lawsuit she'd just filed against one). So the kids came into care. After a few days, they found the father of two of the girls and realized I was the GAL of the third one (pursuant to the lawsuit filed by the bat**** mom). I gave them the contact information for the dad of the third one. I have been trying to get social services to place those girls back with their dads and they are making me crazy because they haven't. I understand the situation, somewhat - federal law requires that they do a home study. I get that but it means that the kids stay in foster care for three months or so when they could be with family. I tried to get the judge to make an exception but we had a substitute judge that wasn't going to go out on a limb.

At least they are staying together. Eventually, I expect they will end up with their dads but that means they'll be separated. Sad, sad case. If the mother had given up the dad's contact information when they first came into care, they'd be with their relatives, right now. She isn't "insane," she is just mean and twisted. She knew exactly what she was doing and was punishing one of the dads because he has a new girlfriend (they separated 1.5 years ago). Grrr.