February 27th, 2006
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Categories: x-Archives-x

Previously I talked about the case plan. One of the first goals of the case plan is reunification, as CPS is mandated to try first to maintain the family unit. But what if there was never any “unification” in the first place?

Say a child has parents that were never married and don’t currently live together, and she was removed from the father’s home. She never lived with her mom for more than three months in her entire life. She is thirteen.

She is now put into foster care because her father is on drugs and his home is not a suitable placement for her. Her mother doesn’t want to have anything to do with her since Mom now has two younger kids, say ages three and five. Mom has problems with drugs and poor taste in boyfriends, and the younger kids are taken from her and put in foster care too.


The wake up call works, and she cleans up her act. She gets a job, gets rid of the boyfriend, and does everything she needs to do to get the kids back. In the meantime, visits take place between her and the kids, and she decides she would like to have her teenaged daughter live with her. The daughter is all excited, she likes the younger kids and hey, it’s better than foster care…right?

So, the younger children are returned to Mom, and the teen is moved to a new foster home so visitation can take place. Things go okay for a short time. Then Mom abandons the younger children, and is never seen again. The girl remains in foster care, and does really well in her new placement. The plan is then that she will age out in this home, and her CASA fully supports this.

She is in this home for about two years, and things are going well. She is staying out of trouble, school is good and she has friends. All of a sudden, the plan is changed to reunification with some family members in another state, and an ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) is started. It is almost her 16th birthday, and she doesn’t know anymore where her home is.

Is this a good thing? She will be with her “family”, but at what cost? Where were these people when she first came into care?

12 Responses to “Reunification”

  1. This senario makes me mad! Did you read my blog from last night about the florida case? ARUGH

  2. Donna Engels says:

    This infuriates me..Reunification should no longer be the plan. When the bmom first wanted nothing to do with her, it should have ended there. Now that she is well adjusted in her fosterhome…she should be left there. Too late for family members to have her. What is their motive? Where were they before? Blood should not be the goal. Who is to say these relatives will provide good things for her..Is she supposed to go through another horrible disappointment??Leave her where she is.

  3. Tammy DeBoe says:

    First, to plan for a child to age out of the system while the child is 13 years old is negligence. Had this child been found a permanent placement, or the foster parents adopted her she would have already had a forever home. Every child deserves their own home and family. What happens after she ages out? The only time a decision to allow a child to just “age out” should be when either the child is MUCH older or an adoptive home simply cannot be found. It’s a shame that TPR was not sought and she been placed in an adoptive home.

  4. Donna Buford says:

    Reunification is not always the best situation. “Family” ties should be cut after a certain period of time. Especially after this long, family take on a whole new meaning. Blood does not make a family, LOVE does!!! We have just completed our second adoption through foster/adopt. We know first hand, there are many guidelines and “rules” of this system that need to be changed!!!!!

  5. Bill says:

    Thanks for all the comments. I don’t know why TPR was not sought or why she is not allowed to stay where she was.

    I do know that there were many unexperienced caseworkers involved over the years. She also disrupted from 3 homes. She is now 16, and was, like I said, doing well.

  6. Bill says:

    I was just leaving a follow-up comment and someone posted a new comment. Thanks for adopting from foster care, Donna!

  7. Carol Coss says:

    I hate this for this young girl! She should be left with the family she is living with now or she should be given the choice since she is older enough to make a choice about her life. The foster care system has so many major flaws and needs changing. Children are suffering because of inexperience workers who know nothing about the emotions of children to many they are just numbers. I am a mother of three-two foster adopt and one foster child who I hope the system lets me adopt but who know with this horrible system.

  8. Donna A says:

    We adopted a daughter through the foster care system. When she came to us she was already TPR and now we have a son we hope to adopt. His TPR has not even be filed yet. It was suppose to be months ago. The system needs to be changed. The children need stability. They need to be in a home where they can be loved and care for properly. Blood is not always the answer. Just because you can give birth doesn’t make you a parent. The B-parents are given way too much time to try and get their act together.
    Most times it never happens.

  9. Larry~ says:

    Sorry, but having lived in the foster care system for 18 years this does not surprise me at all.

    My bmother signed me away for adoption at birth. Catholic Charities in Michigan knew for 6 months prior to my birth that this would be my bmother’s plan. She was at a home for unwed mothers during this time.

    However, CC made no attempt to find an adoptive family prior to my birh nor after my birth.

    I stayed at the home for unwed mother as well as the hospital I was born at for one year. I was declared a ward of the state of MI.

    From birth until I aged out of the system I was placed in 15 different places…no reason was ever given for a move.

    I only found out at age 53 while searching for birth family that one family did in fact attempt to adopt me on 3 different ocassions.

    at age 6….denied as CC considered them too old though only in their 40s

    at age 8 by son & daughter in law of previous family. They were denied because he was Catholic and she Lutheran…CC would not approve

    age 11…by same first family, no reason given for denial. However, I was removed from their home a few weeks later after being weith them for 4 1/2 yrs…not to return until after i aged out.

    System does whatever they please…best interest of the child is a myth, a joke, a farce…no child in foster care believes in it!!


  10. I have to say that I have to agree…this whole siuation makes me so angry.

    Heard tons of stories like it

  11. julie says:

    The state might believe that reunification is the best for the child. But sometimes it does more harm than good, especially emotionally I fostered a one year old, and her newborn sister. the mom was not about to change. Sometimes the state treats foster parents as babysitters. Honestly, yes we are, but sometimes the foster parents are more of a family unit than the birth parents. Fost-adopt parents should be given the chance to adopt the child if reunification is not possible. Everybody has been a child, and love and compassion along with stability is what is necessary not a temporary babysitters, and not family members who “all of a sudden” care. The goverment needs to think more about the children than the parents. Adults can take care of themselves. Children can’t.

  12. debbie says:

    I am having a horrible situation now with social services. They removed the kids after 2 1/2 years and returned them to bmom who is still doing drugs, no job, no home…so SS paid for one for her. I want my kids back!!!

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