“Dani” self-identified white, in her early 30s, and living in the Carolinas. At the time her four children entered foster care, she described her class affiliation as below poverty/poor and their family income as below $50,000 a year. She was a student then, and is now a general manager and now identifies as middle class.
Foster care was not what was best for her children. “My children went from a loving home where I taught them self-respect, respect for others, responsibility. [They had their] own beds, rooms, a schedule that we followed, [and] a loving mother who never abused or neglected her kids. Now they kids live in very nasty houses with no rules. They [have] head lice, scabies, and bruises. 2 of my children don’t even have beds. No social worker ever came to my houses. [They could not] answer any of my questions or produce my file. I did not hear from her for the first three months after my kids was placed. I was not offered any legal help. Case worker worked against me and told my children lies. If they was on my children’s side, they would have never removed them from my home. I feel you need to be a parent before you can tell someone how to be one. They need to listen to children more often and I don’t think it is right for someone who just met me to tell my children they can’t be around me.”
She said “nothing” works well in foster. “Everything” is broken, “how can tearing a family apart be good?” She believes the job of the system is “to unite family.”
“My children was took from me because my ex-husband told a lie, then texted me and told me word for word what was said to them. My case worker did not do her job. My kids was removed [Nov 2012]. I was never charged with anything. I did not see a judge until [Nov 2013]. My first meeting with her was on [Mar 2013], at that time she had hand written a safety plan out for me to follow which was impossible because it contradicted itself in so many ways.”
Like other parents sharing their stories, one of the disturbing aspects of Dani’s story is that she doesn’t know if her parental rights have been terminated. She is reporting that she doesn’t know the status of her case. She reports longs waits between receiving information, and that information does not make sense to her. Dani cannot possibly act rationally if she does not even know what is expected of her or how she can accomplish it. She also says in plain language that she does not know her rights or the rights of her children. It is little wonder that parents report being so frustrated.