On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Friday, May 6, 2011

Custody relinquishment

Custody Relinquishment -
What do you need to know?

Some parents are faced with a very difficult decision, they must choose to either keep their children at home without the means to give them the mental health and supportive services that they need or have their child placed in the child welfare and or juvenile justice systems to obtain mental health services.1

For youth placed in the child welfare system 52% will reunify with their caregivers, 20% will be adopted, and 10% will emancipate or age out of foster care.2

More than 1/3 of homes seeking to adopt a youth with special needs back out because of their prospective child’s emotional, mental or behavioral problems.3

Of youth who age out or emancipate from the foster care system, ¼ are incarcerated within two years and only ½ graduate from high school. 4

Research on youth who emancipate from foster care suggests a nexus between foster care involvement and later episodes of homelessness5

The majority (80%) of youth in foster care have developmental, emotional, or behavioral problems6 and yet, of this majority, less than 1/3 receive mental health services. 7

Bottom line, placing a child or youth in the foster care system for mental health services can create more risk than it does supports. We should never ask parents to make such a decision.

“I believe that if my adoptive parents and I had better supports in our home, I could have stayed there. Instead I was moved around and wound up homeless when I was 18 and still in high school.” – Eric Tennessee, Foster Care alumni (age 26)

Make a Change Today:

· Educate your legislators, and policy/local decision makers to support policies that keep families together

· Reach out and develop supportive, caring relationships with youth and their families

· Engage children and youth in community activities and services before they enter foster care

original document sent in email format to FFCMH members in support of national children's mental health awareness week. Support FFCMH by becoming a member today.







1 United States General Accounting Office. Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Federal Agencies Could Play a Stronger Role in Helping States Reduce the Number of Children Placed Solely to Obtain Mental Health Services. Washington D.C.: United States General Accounting Office, 2003.

2 http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report16.htm.3/16/2011

3 http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/barriers/family_3.htm#barriers 3/30/10

4 Time for Reform: Aging Out and On Their Own. (2007). Kids are Waiting Fix foster Care Now. The Pew Charitable Trusts.

5 Fernandes, A. L. (2007). Runaway and Homeless Youth:Demographics, Programs, and Emerging Issues. Washington D.C.: Congressional Research Service.

6 http://www.cwla.org/programs/bhd/mhfacts.htm 3/30/09

7 Austin, Lisette. (2004) Mental Health Needs of Youth in Foster Care: Challenges and Strategies. The Connection, 20(4).

5 comments:

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I worked for CPS a long time ago in Phoenix and I had a supervisor tell me that 90% of children removed from their families homes return when they turn 18. It was a stat that shocked me.

Mental health care in this country is appalling. The lack of care available for children is shameful.

JM2C

Diana said...

I have a friend who was pretty much forced into doing this. Not only is it not working so well, she still has to pay for all the services out of pocket AND retain an attorney because the state is bullying her and not holding up their end of the bargain. It is now a crazy, messy, completely screwed up situation. As one might well imagine, after having been through what a family goes through in order for this to even be an option, she also has pretty severe PTSD herself and is highly fragile and has limited coping tools to process or deal with any of it.

aceobase said...

For youth placed in the child welfare system 52% will reunify with their caregivers, 20% will be adopted, and 10% will emancipate or age out of foster care (aka grow the fuck up and be an adult like everyone else on this planet)

More than 1/3 of homes seeking to adopt a youth with special needs back out because of their prospective child’s emotional, mental or behavioral problems. (also can be described as they're shitty parents who aren't assertive enough to control the behavior)

Of youth who age out or emancipate from the foster care system, ¼ are incarcerated within two years and only ½ graduate from high school. (they don't deserve to be sent to jail though because they have RAD and that's what makes them commit crimes. a behavioral sticker chart might work instead)

Research on youth who emancipate from foster care suggests a nexus between foster care involvement and later episodes of homelessness (it's hard to find housing when you refuse to get a job since you have RAD)

The majority (80%) of youth in foster care have developmental, emotional, or behavioral problems and yet, of this majority, less than 1/3 receive mental health services (extremely hard to believe since they're all on medicaid)

Rose said...

I provided childcare for a child who's family faced that situation. Eventually, after struggling for years, his mother gave up custody of him because a foster family would be given better support and the child would receive more services in foster care than he would receive if he stayed home. This was an extremely painful decision for her and she villified by the social workers.

Silly said...

I'm going to preface this by saying that while I've never parented a child with RAD, I have foster parented a teenage son who had been severely physically, emotionally, and sexually abused.

Aceobase, just because that 10% turned 18 and aged out doesn't mean they're ready to be adults. I'm a high school teacher, and I know a hell of a lot of NT 18-year-olds raised in a stable, biological family who aren't ready to be completely alone in the world when they're 18.

I don't think the people who back out of special needs adoptions are shitty parents. I think they weren't prepared for the depth/breadth of the child's issues, and realize that it's not something they are willing or able to cope with.

And as far as your last one, my younger foster son had been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused, but flat out refused any sort of therapy whatsoever. Wouldn't go, wouldn't do it, wouldn't participate, wouldn't talk. To anyone. We tried paying out of pocket for therapists who didn't accept Medicaid. Didn't matter who it was, he wouldn't talk.

And how do you get a teenager (he was 16 when we got him, and moved out after high school graduation) to cooperate? You can offer him carrots like a new cell phone or driving lessons or whatever, but if he doesn't care about getting things because he's scared inside that they'll be taken away and therefore has no incentive to work for them, then what?

Or you can try to punish him. Take away his cell phone? He doesn't care. Don't allow him to play sports or do other extra-curricular activities? He doesn't care. No TV/internet/whatever? He doesn't care. Seriously, we tried every consequence we could come up with. But ultimately we had to learn to let him fail and learn his own lessons because there was absolutely nothing we could do to him that was worse than what he'd already been through. And where do you go with that?

We didn't even know if he was going to graduate from high school until the day before graduation, and as he had a full-ride to a university, this stressed us out like you wouldn't believe. But what were we going to do?

On a happy note, this weekend, he will be graduating from a university in four years with a 3.0 GPA and a double-major in Spanish and social work.

True to form, he didn't know if he was going to graduate, and so he's spent the past two months ignoring my phone calls (except when he called me to tell me his truck was impounded because, oh, he forgot to renew the registration and then forgot that he forgot and wasn't supposed to drive it until he got it smogged), texts, emails, Facebook messages, and smoke signals.

Then yesterday he text messaged me (but of course couldn't call me back because he was in class) and told me he was graduating after all, and he hoped I'd be there.

Last-minute plane ticket+car rental on a holiday weekend = $700. Worth every damned penny.