bad choices

I caught a brief glimpse of a tv program about foster care last night. I turned the tv off and continued cleaning. I know the problems already. I contributed to the mess when I worked. Appalachistan lives and fights the good fight daily. More than four years have passed since I made two particularly bad choices that still haunt me. One was an infant whose single parent had an obvious drug problem. The neighbor who watched the baby tried for days to get DCS involved but nobody would listen. I don’t know how she finally ended up talking to me on the phone but I remember how messy the situation had become. A drug addicted Mother who disappeared for days, a baby not being given proper care and a neighbor who clearly wanted someone else’s baby. I filed a report with DCS. Almost immediately afterward, the Mother offered to give custody to the neighbor in exchange for some financial ‘help’. I withdrew my complaint rather than have the baby get lost in the foster system. It was a bad choice. The other case involved a teenager who was involved in a very serious probation program which would result in termination of parental rights if not followed correctly. The teenager was still in trouble. The angry Mother made comments to me on the phone that implied she took some of her son’s psychiatric medications on a regular basis (I lose mine and the doctors won’t give me more) and it sounded like she had her son buying drugs for her. Her argument was that she needed her child to survive since he did all the shopping, housework and yardwork. I told the probation officer that the teen needed out of the home instead of trying to get the Mother help so that she could function better as a parent. It was a bad choice. I don’t know how TN compares to other states, I only know that our system is run by mostly good people who are trying to make the right choice from the poor options they have before them.

3 thoughts on “bad choices

  1. Our foster parenting days are, for now, behind us. But you are right: you do the best with what you have, you are forced to make choices based on lousy options.

    In the end, we try to help the kids first, and the parents second. Against the odds. It’s not always pretty.

  2. Here is NJ, the lapses of judgement of DYFS (our version of your DCS) are legedary. Just do a web search about all the failures of our system.

    I know (for the most part) it is not the people that try to do the best that they can. That article you link to is very unfair (I think), because it tries to provide a simple solution to a problem that can not be fixed with a “simple solution” Even the “good answers” are usually not good. You can only hope to pick the “lesser of two evils.”

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