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Topic : 08/19 Caught in the System

Number of Replies: 75
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Created on : Thursday, May 21, 2009, 05:57:56 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 05/25/09) Over half a million kids live in foster care, and many are neglected, unloved and viewed as a paycheck by their new family. Dr. Phil takes a hard look at the harsh realities these forgotten kids face and sends an urgent message about the need to repair this ailing system. Jessica, 24, aged out of foster care six years ago, but before foster care, she says her childhood was horrific. She says she experienced things a child never should, including witnessing the murder of her 5-year-old sister … by her mother and stepfather. Will Jessica find the strength to overcome her abusive past? Don’t miss Dr. Phil’s surprise for her! And, Dr. Phil and Robin are the national spokespersons for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which trains volunteers to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children. Find out how Robin laid down the law at a recent CASA graduation. Then, Juan is 18 and has lived in 25 foster homes during his childhood. Now that he's been emancipated, he has no job, no identification and jumps from couch to couch. Can the young man get the tools he needs to turn his life around? Plus, find out how the New Orleans Saints head coach, Sean Payton, his wife, Beth, and The Dr. Phil Foundation scored a touchdown together! Join the discussion.

Ten years after the Columbine shootings, Anne Marie found a way to give back. She became a CASA volunteer. Read Anne Marie’s Blog.

Find out what happened on the show.

As of January, 2009, this message board will become "Read Only" and will be closed to further posting. Please join the NEW Dr. Phil Community to continue your discussions, personalize your message board experience, start a blog and meet new friends.

May 25, 2009, 3:41 pm CDT

response

Quote From: streak229

Dr. Phil,

 

I watched your show on the foster care system today and was disheartened at your representaiton of the system.  My mother was a foster care provider for over 25 years in New York. I grew up with numorous number of children in my home and gained alot of insight and overall strength from interacting and living with them. We eventually adopted one foster child and also raised another (who I currently have legal custody over).

 

I felt that your show categorized all foster caare providers as been greedy people who mistreat and abuse the children who are places in their homes.  Having grown up directly in the path of the foster care system, I too often grew fustrated at  how the system is flawed and doesnt always work as it should.  However, it would have been a more accurate representation to also have a foster care child who grew up in a wonderful foster care fammily (like my home) and the issues that this child still has to face as a foster child.  I believe that ALL foster children experience difficult situations because of their status in society.  They have feeling of being unwanted, unloved by their birth parents, and still yearn to be accepted by their birth families.

 

I was glad that your show did seek volunteers to work for CASA and help shed light to those foster parents who do abuse the system and abuse the children in their home.  However, I felt your show categorized foster care providers and evil, money hungry, and greedy individuals.  Yes, there are some families that the foster care system has allowed to continue to abuse the children in their homes, but there are thousands of foster care providers that are loving, caring providers like my family.  

The problem is not with the good foster homes and when CPS takes children from truly abusive homes.  The problem is with the bad homes (and there is more bad than good) and thr horrors that these children and their families face. The problem is when CPS takes a child out of a home for no good reason. Can you imagine being taken from the only people that love you and then not being able to see them for days/weeks at a time? Can you imagine as a small child or even 10 being yanked from YOUR home? I cant...but my little boy did and he hates the foster care system, CPS and the government and he trusts NO ONE! Do you know why? Its because what happened to him while he was in foster care. There is no perfect home nor family. We all make mistakes. The first home he was in was a disaster...he was starved and locked out at night time...the second was better...he was fed but couldnt do any after school activities, had no friends or playmates and was in 3 car accidents with the elderly care givers...he was in that home for 5 months. So do you think there is a problem in your home...no then nothing needs to be done about it...however there is a large and alarming downright dangerous problem in the  bad homes and children being stolen daily by CPS for no good reason. All these people cant all be wrong.
 
May 25, 2009, 3:55 pm CDT

05/25 Caught in the System

Quote From: thepinkdragon

My name is Denise and I am a foster parent... a good foster parent. My children have their own room, privacy, beautiful clothes, access to activities, a great school, vacations... you name it!! They are loved and enjoyed. I know there are some real horror stories within the system, but some of us really do love the children that come through our doors. My husband and I have helped numerous children and are very proud of the work we do. I would really love it if you highlighted some of the foster parents who are doing right by the children in their care. I  really hate that I have to defend our family when people discover that we are a foster family and immediately make huge assumptions about us. We love our children and trust me they know it!! Please let people know that not all of us see our children as "paycheques." My children have a home and a family that loves them. We may be a foster family but the keyword is "family." I am proud to say that I am a foster mom to three pretty amazing children who are loved, treasured and well cared for.

 

One of the Good Ones,

Denise 

What about the parents that wrongly had their children taken from them? They will forever have to defend theirselves.
 
May 25, 2009, 3:59 pm CDT

05/25 Caught in the System

Quote From: tengalatty

Dr. Phil,

 

Thank you for exposing this topic, I am a GAL who has represented hundreds of abused and neglected children, only two of which made the news. This topic needs to come to the attention of the public eye to ensure the safety and well being of these worthwhile but extremely needy members of our society. The agencies are overworked and underfunded, and no longer keep the child's best interest paramount. I hope you keep encouraging your viewers to get involved with this problem, whether it be through CASA, fostering, writing letters to legislature or just a simple donation to not for profit agencies who are dedicated to improve the lives of foster children.

 

Thanks, again.

Dont write to Va governor Tim Kaine...he wont answer!!! He forwarded my letters back to the very ones that the problem was with and caused a lot more trouble and I was then  threatened by the state agency that I COMPLAINED ABOUT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
 
May 25, 2009, 4:08 pm CDT

05/25 Caught in the System

Quote From: virtuouswoman1

I was so disheartened with the whole foster care episode. My mother was a foster parent. I am an only child, and I became the "big sister" to a lot of foster children who otherwise had none. By me having 4 young children of my own it made a less traumatic situation for them when they had to be taken from their homes and relocated. They had peers from "a different world" to talk to and interact with. My children would encourage them.  Even though some have left the system we still consider them a part of our family and have a relationship with them.  We thank God for the the techer that intervened and the advocate that made a difference. I praise God that the two young adults on your show did not become a "fatality statistic" to the system that we so often hear of in the news. But one thing grasp my heart as I sat and watched both of the young adults speak of their experiences. They were so empty, numb, and emotionless. They couldn't even celebrate with a smile when they we Blessed with the gifts from the different organization. No tears of joy or hugs. I am sure they appreciated it, but the bare utterance of the words "thank you" was all they said. The things that come natural from being nutured they couldn't manifest.  Even the young lady in speaking of her going around and telling her story to other youth still sound that she is full of hurt and pain. She still haven't had her breakthrough with her traumatic experiences. The foster childcare investigator on the message board enlightened us to the options of continuing education available and the housing that is available and we thank God for all that is done in an over burdened system, however what about the emotional and mental support. Just by seeing the two guest on the show this aspect of the foster care system is failing. Have steps been taken to help them deal with all the trauma that they went through. I'm not talking about a mental health visit that is part of a checklist. I'm speaking of endept counseling to help undo what has been done. We all know that professional counseling is expensive , but it is a small price to pay in contrast to the price we pay if even one fall into our prison system. Maybe getting the system itself more involved with faith-based orgaizations that will instill Biblical Principles that would give them a sound foundation towards forgiven what was done to them and who did it to them. CASA should be in every state.  Just to help our children. So that they can just smile again. Even celebrate in the smaller things! God  Bless you Dr. Phil and Mrs. Robin for all that you do!
Some things are just unforgivable...and if you still are threatened and fear that thing happening again its almost impossible to forgive....how about not letting it happen to begin with? I see these workers and they dont seem over burdened to me especially when a relative by marriage that I know had 4-6 vacations a year and even went to Israel twice to help the Israeli army. Stop taking children that are not being abused and then maybe the system can even cut back on the workers...its pretty bad when people are so upset and distraught that CPS building gets bomb threats and foster parents are beat to death. Does anyone think that MAYBE there is a valid problem making people resort to such violence? When my child was kidnapped by CPS from me...I thought it was the end of the world and wanted to kill myself. I assure you that I am not the only one that has felt that way. He is back home now and we are trying to work through the abuse and maltreatment that he endured.
 
May 25, 2009, 4:12 pm CDT

Why not shed a light on the wonderful foster homes?

I am a foster mom in WI.  My husband and I are proud foster parents of a brave, sweet & wonderful boy.  He has been with us for over 2 years and has grown incredibly and profoundly when considering where he came from.  He was a child that was abused and neglected on a daily basis.  It took over 10 months and 20 calls into CPS before he was removed from his home.  This is because of all the evidence that needs to be taken before a child can be removed.  If someone is removed from their biological family's home, trust me, there is definite cause.  Furthermore, when (if) the parent(s) do the right thing and can provide the child with a safe & loving environment, the child(ren) will be returned to their home.  I understand how important biological families are and no child should be without theirs, if they are safe and well cared for.  However, when that can not happen, what better alternative is there then a safe & loving home where a foster child is not defined by their genetics but rather their own individuality and loved and cared for because they are innocent children.  Most foster families are wonderful people with big hearts who open their homes up and give children the stable, safe & loving environment they lacked in their biological family's home.

I am a fan of your show, but I feel the foster care system and foster parents were not shown accurately.  In a previous post, a case worker corrected you regarding the fact that the foster kids can choose to have assistance until 21 and college paid for them if they choose to go.  I want to point this out again, just in case it was missed the first time. 

I understand that there are areas that could be improved, just like any other area that the government runs.  However, I feel your show was one sided and considering that May is National Foster Care Month, I think it would have been more uplifting to look at the positive homes, stories & changes that occur because of foster care.

 
May 25, 2009, 4:13 pm CDT

05/25 Caught in the System

Quote From: suzannemae

I am a foster parent and the system is truly does not work. I have learned more about the system in the past 9 months then I needed to know. Most of the social workers have a job on getting the children back with their parents. The judge is another issue.! We will not go there right now. The people appointed by the courts to help these children either do or do not. Some social workers even feel that this program has no power to change things. The only ones who see, hear and live the good, bad and the ugly with the foster children is the foster parent and we ARE NOT HEARD most of the time. It is a job. A job to love, support, encourage, protect them and grow with the children as long as they are with us.  That is our job. It is not the same as the social worker and some let you know that. Being a foster parent I hope is a good thing for the children, but sometimes I wonder. When the children leave our home it is always with tears and sometimes doubt. It should not be this way. Being a foster parent is one of the hardest jobs. It is not a high paying job with the hours and time you put in. It is being a parent to children with many issues and then dealing with the birth parents.  It is a never ending story of life.
Maybe the reason they leave your home with tears and doubt is because if they are going to another foster home they may know the horror stories. Try foster care in VA, by experience you will never have to deal with the birth parent. The birth parents rights were all taken away from them with the child. I know this from experience. For months I did not know where my child was...he was placed in a home in another region of the state...a 45 - 1 hour drive away. That was delieberately done.
 
May 25, 2009, 4:21 pm CDT

05/25 Caught in the System

Quote From: mommytee

I am so glad this topic was discussed.  I am a Guardian ad Litem, which falls under the CASA unbrella.  I take my job very seriously.  I currently have two active cases.  These kids need a voice that will be objective.  Thank you Dr. Phil.  The sad thing is that in my communitee we have lost some volunteers because the mileage stipend has been suspended. I live in a very rural area and sometimes to do a visit, the drive may be 30 minutes to an hour.  Since the suspension, I see who is really committed to the kids.   
Thank your for clearing something up for me that I was wondering. I wondered why my son was never assigned a CASA worker...however he was assigned a GAL!!! You know what his GAL did when the court ordered my child to return home...the GAL suggested my child (then 12 yrs old) spend a few hours in the jail holding cell for some damage that he did at the foster home? I told them he needed medication and would flip out after a while. Would you say that that is the type of representation a 12 yr old child needs....most court appointed lawyers are trying to keep their clients out of jail, yet this court appointed lawyer tried to have his client locked up...seems a conflict of interest doesnt it.  I hope for real you seriously do take your job seriously. Recently I have seen NO ONE that takes their jobs seriously or is dedicated to it. Neither do I?
 
May 25, 2009, 5:37 pm CDT

Help Kids in the system!

Please  consider helping children who are caught in the system by becoming an educated, loving and nurturing licensed foster home or adopting from the child welfare system in your local area. http://www.heartgalleryofamerica.org/Galleries/State_Galleries.asp

 
May 25, 2009, 7:28 pm CDT

To GAL

Quote From: weathergirl719

Thank your for clearing something up for me that I was wondering. I wondered why my son was never assigned a CASA worker...however he was assigned a GAL!!! You know what his GAL did when the court ordered my child to return home...the GAL suggested my child (then 12 yrs old) spend a few hours in the jail holding cell for some damage that he did at the foster home? I told them he needed medication and would flip out after a while. Would you say that that is the type of representation a 12 yr old child needs....most court appointed lawyers are trying to keep their clients out of jail, yet this court appointed lawyer tried to have his client locked up...seems a conflict of interest doesnt it.  I hope for real you seriously do take your job seriously. Recently I have seen NO ONE that takes their jobs seriously or is dedicated to it. Neither do I?
I've always wondered about something.  As a GAL, do you take what the caseworkers tell you for granted? Or do you spend time interviewing people like grandparents wanting to adopt, or other family members?  We've had some very negative experiences  with caseworkers falsifying their reports.  Believe me, we were shocked.  The GAL in our case didn't touch base with us once!  Had he done so, we could have shed some light on what they have said about us.  After 21 years in the military, we have a lot of documented mental health and doctors records that support that we parented our children well. (Daughter is bi polar and son is ADHD.) But, the GAL and judge didn't want to hear it!
 
May 25, 2009, 7:48 pm CDT

05/25 Caught in the System

Quote From: wi_mom_1981

I am a foster mom in WI.  My husband and I are proud foster parents of a brave, sweet & wonderful boy.  He has been with us for over 2 years and has grown incredibly and profoundly when considering where he came from.  He was a child that was abused and neglected on a daily basis.  It took over 10 months and 20 calls into CPS before he was removed from his home.  This is because of all the evidence that needs to be taken before a child can be removed.  If someone is removed from their biological family's home, trust me, there is definite cause.  Furthermore, when (if) the parent(s) do the right thing and can provide the child with a safe & loving environment, the child(ren) will be returned to their home.  I understand how important biological families are and no child should be without theirs, if they are safe and well cared for.  However, when that can not happen, what better alternative is there then a safe & loving home where a foster child is not defined by their genetics but rather their own individuality and loved and cared for because they are innocent children.  Most foster families are wonderful people with big hearts who open their homes up and give children the stable, safe & loving environment they lacked in their biological family's home.

I am a fan of your show, but I feel the foster care system and foster parents were not shown accurately.  In a previous post, a case worker corrected you regarding the fact that the foster kids can choose to have assistance until 21 and college paid for them if they choose to go.  I want to point this out again, just in case it was missed the first time. 

I understand that there are areas that could be improved, just like any other area that the government runs.  However, I feel your show was one sided and considering that May is National Foster Care Month, I think it would have been more uplifting to look at the positive homes, stories & changes that occur because of foster care.

If you are one of the foster families that provides a safe haven for children, I applaud you.  You are hard to find.  I want you to understand something that is hard to deal with.  Not all reports you are given about a child's situation are the truth.  Understand, I know many children need to be removed from an abusive situation.  Having said that, my own experience is that many do not .  And here in Kansas, we have a very corrupt system that is removing children on trumped up charges. And refusing to allow perfectly qualified family members to foster or adopt.   Simply because they make more money through adoptions and foster care.  How you ask?  They get x amount of dollars from the state to keep them in foster families.. But you, as the foster see only a fraction of that money.  The rest goes to SRS or contracted caseworkers. Believe me, i know what I'm talking about. Please listen to this man, who is a former prosecutor from Portland, Oregon. He is not the only one speaking out!! > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8TGCCIg8JI 
 
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