Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
October 11, 2011 permalink
A foster parent and blogger identifying herself as tikun olam reports on the usefulness of a foster child's law guardian.
Practice varies among jurisdictions, but many family courts appoint a person to protect the interest of a child involved in litigation. In most American courts they are known as guardian ad litem (GAL), in Ontario child advocates are supplied by the Office of the Children's Lawyer (OCL). No matter what the title, that person frequently acts as a lapdog for the child protection system, one more voice in the courtroom opposing the connection between parent and child.
This is the value of the law guardian for CD (China Doll) in the foster blogger's words: She seems to be entirely dependent on the case manager reports for information and simply echos the case manager's recommendations when in court as standard operating procedure. I am not sure I understand the point of having a law guardian if her role is to simply visit before court dates and echo case managers.
8 days until court. . .
CD's law guardian in going to visit in a few days to prepare for next week's court date. She asked how CD was doing, how her ears were since her surgery and if she is still in school. It is interesting and bothersome to me how infrequently the law guardian visits and receives information about the children on her case load. She seems to be entirely dependent on the case manager reports for information and simply echos the case manager's recommendations when in court as standard operating procedure. I am not sure I understand the point of having a law guardian if her role is to simply visit before court dates and echo case managers.
I told the law guardian all about CD's progress since she last saw her. I told her that her teachers are saying that she is getting "fiesty." CD is assertive and sometimes aggressive at school when another child wants her toy or she wants his. She sometimes hits or throws objects in anger. She is no longer the quiet, inhibited child at school that she was a year ago. The teachers assure me that this is not a child who will ever let anyone step on her.
I told her about CD's improvement in health since getting her ear tubes. While she still seems to catch anything and everything that goes around at least she has been free of pesky ear infections since her surgery.
I also told her about CD's behavior during visits from members of the System. She has been acting out during the visits because she likely knows more about what is going on during these visits than anyone gives her credit for. We were recently visited by her health coordinator and our family's resource worker (she is helping us renew our license). During both visits CD told the workers, "I don't want you." She told them, "I stay with my Mommy," or "don't take me away from my Mommy." Reassuring her that these people are our friends and they are visiting and won't take her is not enough for her. During both visits she hit me when I would not stop talking to them (or filling out their forms) or when I told her that she needed to wait for me to come with her someplace else. Both times I had to discipline her (using brief time outs and requiring and apology) in front of the workers.
CD is getting older now. She is tuned in to the conversations that are occurring about her and her future during these visits. Even though it has been months, she remembers that she doesn't like being taken from me to go to her visits and she somehow knows that these visitors are connected to that separation anxiety. As it is, CD has more difficulties than most of her peers with separation.
I am anxious about the upcoming court date. I am afraid that this process will continue to get dragged on for much longer than necessary. As CD gets older I can no longer say, "thankfully she is clueless" because she is becoming less clueless as time goes on and I want her to stay clueless. I want to protect her from any potential fears and worries. I only wish that I could.
Source: Foster Parenting Adventures blog