Archive for July, 2008

Good touch, bad touch, how about NO touch!

July 31, 2008

The Indianapolis Star reports today of allegations brought against an Indy foster parent.  Harold “Rick” Ferrin, 53, was arrested on four felony counts of child molest.  The allegations were made by a six year old female, who was not a foster child in the Ferrin home.

In a statement to the Star, Susan Tielking, spokesperson for DCS stated, “It looks like this is a very unique case and is not reflective of the majority of foster parents who are working every single day to improve the lives of children.”

While the abuse of ANY CHILD is unacceptable, it is all the more reprehensible for a child to be abused by person(s) that have made a promise to take care of them in their time of need.  We are gladden to to know that the victim will not have to endure being pulled from another home setting, and hopefully her parents will be able to get the resources for her to deal with the abuse.

If Ferrin did in fact commit this crime, then he needs to sentenced to the full maximum allowed under law.

What were they thinking?

July 31, 2008

Channel 6 News reports of another child being found alone in a filthy apartment.  The mother, Alexis Green, 22, was arrested on a charge of neglect of a dependent and is being held on a $25,000 bond.

This goes right to the heart of why the foster system is needed.  Parents who, either due to inability, or wanton disregard, leave children in unsafe or unsanitary conditions.  While we personally do not have a problem with a parent going outside while a child is asleep, the conditions reported in the apartment, “the residence was littered with trash and garbage. There did not appear to be any food or a crib in the apartment, officers said” necessitates removal of a child.  The 7 month old boy found in the apartment was placed in the custody of Child Protection Services.

Green advised officers at the scene that she had gone across the street to attend to her other two children.

The system is set up to assist parents such as this in getting control of their lives.  Programs are available to teach young men and women how to be parents.  It is paramount that young mothers, such as Green, get the assistance they need to learn parenting skill, otherwise children will continue to be shuttled through the courts and foster care system.

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In an unrelated story, Channel 6 News also reports the arrest of Amber N. Kuhn on six felony charges.  Kuhn is accused of twice robbing the Holiday Inn Express in Brownsburg.  Police allege that Kuhn had her children with her during the first robbery, May 8, 2008.  Along with the armed robbery charges she was also charged with child neglect.

Some days you have to wonder what people are thinking.

UPDATE:

In the Amber Kuhn story, Channel 6 News has updated the information regarding the children.  The 2 and 7 year old are now in the custody of Kuhn’s brother.

Communication and DCS

July 29, 2008

On Sunday, July 27, 2008, the Indianapolis Star reported on the death of a child placed in foster care.

There are those in the general public who would vilify any and all foster parents, saying that FPs are only after the money, and don’t care about the children they are charged with keeping safe.  While there maybe some foster parents who only look at fostering as a cash cow, the majority are truly dedicated to helping children through difficult, sometimes horrific times.

One point brought out in the article was the lack of communication that exists in the Department of Child Services.  DCS had been warned by Penny Guthrie of Child Advocates Inc. that she had concerns for the safety of other children placed in the foster home.  Those concerns went unaddressed, with Guthrie stating in a report that the DCS case manager refused to call her back regarding the concerns.

One of the chief complaints we have heard over the years is that case managers regularly fail to return calls in a timely manner.  An issue arises with a child, and you may have to wait several days for the child’s casemanager to respond.  We will grant that nearly every case manager we have had contact with is stretched to near breaking with their case loads, court appearances, reports and all the other details required to keep things running.  However, there needs to be a way to triage calls and concerns.

Perhaps one suggestion would be to have more than an office phone number to contact the case manager.  The state provides cell phones and e-mail addresses, so why not give these contact points to foster parents?  When you are dealing with the lives of the most defenseless among us, the cost of a phone call to a cell phone would be well worth the investment.

WELCOME!

July 28, 2008

Welcome to the Indy Foster Parent weblog.

The purpose of this blog is to provide an on-line forum for persons and families that are or were foster parents.  We encourage you to post your successes, failures, questions, comments and concerns.

We are based in Indianapolis, Indiana, and therefore will be touching on topics as they relate to foster care in Indiana.  However, if you are not a Hoosier, feel free to add any pearls of wisdom or concerns you may have.  The issues that Indiana foster parents face are the same issues that many across the nation face.

Some of the topics that we would like to discuss are:

Dealing with disruptive placements

State/county placement issues

Going from foster care to adoption

The heart break of sending a child home

“Why do you do it?”

Extended families and there view of foster children

Inter-racial placements

You can post anonymously, we know how the state can get touchy about speaking out.  Your anonymity will be protected as best we can.

It is our hope and prayer that this site will prove to be a useful resource to all the families out there who have opened their homes, lives and hearts to children who need our help.