First sorry for not updating sooner. Things have been busy around here. We got two more visits with my daughter. The first one was from the end of June till a few days into July and the next one was from July 21st to July 26th. We had a great time both visits with lots of family time with swimming, playing board games, reading to each other and just being goofy.
The first visit my daughter started to open up about some of the abuse she went through while in my mothers care and also some of the stressors of being in foster care. We never question her about these things. We let her approach us and share as much as she feels comfortable with. She let me know she felt isolated and that no one was really looking out for her best interests. That no one was taking her seriously. I spoke to my support worker and got the information to the Child and Youth Advocate. When my daughter came for her next visit and started voicing the same concerns I asked her if she would like to speak to a Child and Youth Advocate. I let her know that person would be there to be HER support. She would be there to help my daughter fight for her rights while in care. My daughter was worried that in doing so her social worker and foster family would be angry with her and in turn find a way to stop contact between her and I. I told her that if that happened then her Advocate would help her stand up for her rights and hopefully get visits reinstated. She then asked me to call them. So I placed the call and talked to an intake worker on the Monday. She advised my daughter that she would have an advocate contacting her that week.
On Thursday her advocate came to my home to talk to my daughter. She made it clear, and so did I, that she was there just for her. That she could not talk to any one without my daughters permission first. She then went over my daughters rights while in care which was very eye opening to me and I will list them here with my views of what happened to all my children after each one:
The pamphlet is titled: Children Have Rights
1. I have the right to live with people who care about me, respect me, and keep me safe - my daughter has stated that she does not feel safe where she is because the bullying in the home can get really bad as well as at school. She also does not feel she is being respected and her feelings are being ignored. Since I do not know much about my sons placements I can't say anything towards that.
2. I have the right to be who I am. What I think and feel and want is important.
3. I have the right to know my own history. I have the right to keep my favorite things with me. - This I know is not being met. They only tell her their version of her history and ignore her every time she tries to tell them the real facts. Just as we were ignored when my mother made false accusations and we wanted to provide proof to the contrary in the form of videos, audio and so on. As well as she can't keep her favorite things with her because they get broken when she is bullied at her foster home. Case in point her treasure heart which will never be fully restored now.
4. I have the right to have a reasonable amount of freedom and privacy. - This one is not always met either. Her main communication with me is usually through private messages on Facebook or email. These are always watched. As well as many phone calls can be and are monitored.
5. I have the right to know the plans made for my care and know why I am in care. - This we know is not happening for my daughter and my sons. Both my daughter and her foster mother have told me about meetings where my daughter sits out in the hall alone as things are discussed and she only is present for part of it. Usually to sign the action plan with no one fully explaining anything to her if she tries to question it. And when her frustration builds and she gets angry because no one is listening they talk down to her and tell her she can't emotionally handle it. So no matter what she loses. For my sons they are not a part of any info about their care and don't even know about us.
6. I have the right to be involved in the decisions that are made about me and know why a decision was made. - Both my daughter and my sons are not involved in most decisions. My sons didn't even get asked last year if they wanted contact with us when we begged social services to see them. They still don't know. Even though my oldest son has let the people he is with know he wants to see me. This basic right is being denied to them.
7. I have the right to visit or talk with my family and friends and to be told why if I can not. - Many times my daughter was refused this and as we all know my sons are refused this with no knowledge or explanation. For all my children before the trial visits were regularly denied with no explanation to any of us. Just false allegations from my mother with no proof and no investigation. And we all know where that led. To all my children being severely abused while in care. So not only are my sons being denied this basic right completely with out their knowledge but they also can't talk to each other either about me. Plus they can not see each other though my daughter and I have made the request multiple times. My daughter is being told by her foster mom that it is her fault that her brothers are being adopted and so far away. How is that right. We are the adults. It is our job to ensure our children's basic rights are met yet the people who are suppose to meet those rights and be the children's advocates are not doing it. I hope her Child and Youth Advocate can finally help her stand up for her rights.
8. I have the right to be left alone when I am visiting or talking to my family as long as I am safe. - This is our concern right now. There has been another disagreement between my daughter and her foster family with most of the fault being placed on my daughter again. All they seem to see is a child verbally exploding. They don't look at the path leading up to that. And when you try and point out that path you are told "well that is no excuse for being rude." So instead of figuring out the underlying cause of the verbal diarrhea, she is just punished. And with those arguments that are at least every 4-6 weeks is always the threat in her mind that contact with me and visits with me will be denied.
9. I have a right to visit a doctor or dentist when I need too.
10. I have a right to go to school, the same as any young person.
11. I have the right to have my rights in care explained to me. I have the right to know about and be helped to call the Child and Youth Advocate. - My daughter had no idea she had any rights while in care and before seeing us she had no idea what a Child and Youth Advocate was. She had no idea she had the right to make requests and be a part of her own plan. She had no idea she had the right to refuse certain things. Even when I talked to her foster mom on the phone the next day her foster mom didn't even know about some of the rights in these books. At least that is what she stated to me when I read the ones to her that my daughter had been denied.
12. I have the right to talk to my lawyer, advocate or caseworker by myself. - She had no idea she could.
13. I have the right to learn the things that will help me be the best person I can be.
14. I have the right to know my own culture and religion. - This one is being denied to her. My daughter does not believe in a God and has not for a while. But she is too scared to tell her foster mom or social worker that because they will argue with her and do all they can to berate her into believing as they do. Here in our home we don't believe in a God either but we also believe that every one is entitle to believe as they wish. My daughter knows if she wants to go to church or worship somewhere we will support her and even go with her so she does not have to go alone. But she has made it clear she has no interest in that and found it a relief that we don't believe in a God so would not be forcing her to go. I think it is sad that she can't have this right for fear of being argued with and made to feel bad because of how others believe.
Now please don't get me wrong. I think she ended up in a good foster home, especially compared to many I have heard about. But I also believe that they are so busy trying to mold my daughter into what they want that they are missing out on the real issues of what is causing certain behaviors. For example as many have read my daughter had to endure being watched while showering or bathing even at age 12 when in my mothers care. Her foster mom has expressed getting my daughter to shower or bath was a HUGE battle and she attributed it to her ADHD or such. She would remove privileges from her, take things away and all sorts of things to try and get her to bath. Even 2yrs later it can still be an issue. My daughter has no problem remembering to bath here every day. Literally no issue. When I mention to her about her issue there with it it came out that for her showering and bathing is a huge trigger to the events focused around the shower or tub when she was being abused. And the reason why she never has and issue here is because it was never an issue prior to her being abused by my mom so is not a trigger point here. But since she moved in with her foster mom right from my mothers it is always a trigger point. When I explained that on occasions to her foster mom she passed it off as not the reason. Finally last week when I talked to her and let her know what my daughter shared with us she did admit that it could be part of it. Her foster home and her social worker need to seriously stop looking at my daughter as a teenager acting out for no reason and start to see the underlying causes of these issues if there is any hope at all in helping my daughter move forward into being a productive part of society with the traumatic events of the past dealt with and behind her.
So as of right now the visits are going great but the time when she is not here is stressful wondering what is going to happen next to cause a visit to be denied. The next visit is in two weeks fingers crossed that it happens.
Return To Map Of The Blog Page