Today I was inspired to write based on another viral Facebook post. The one I am referencing is the video of the three children who are being verbally and physically abused by their parents in Tampa Florida. There is an outpouring of comments from thousands of people that states the obvious. Basically everyone is saddened by this and asking why. Why do they still have the kids? Why haven’t they been charged with abuse? How are kids allowed to stay with parents like this? Hopefully I can shed some light on this and inspire you to do MORE! Although the video is hard to watch and to most people it is the hardest thing they have seen in a while, what is going on here is considered minor in the eyes of CPS. And let me add from my experience it is minor, however, I feel that even this minor offense should be taken very seriously. Before I go any further let me share that I am in NO WAY bashing CPS, they are doing the best they can with the resources and laws they have to work with! They probably have some of the hardest jobs in our country and it takes a special person to be able to deal with these types of things day in and day out and still find the will to wake up every morning and go to work. Let me also say that CPS is supposed to act in the best interest of the child, however, the current laws protect the parents 10 times more than the kids, this too is not the fault of a CPS worker, and they are just following rules set for them. The kids in this video are being exposed to verbal and physical abuse. This abuse will cause MAJOR
trauma to the kids and they will have a hard time ever living a normal life. One reason these parents still have their kids is because in the eyes of CPS this is only minor abuse. Minor…how can you call this minor…and who gets to decide how much is too much??? Well there is no black and white and the case workers will get to determine this, however, if they have cases with higher priority those kids will get dealt with first. What could be higher priority than this you ask? How about a 10 year old male being forced to sexually abuse his 8 year old sister with a vacuum cleaner hose? Yes this has truly happened and just one example of how bad things really our in our country. This leads to the second reason nothing is being done. There is a shortage of Foster Homes. This fact alone is one of the major reasons the case workers have to prioritize their caseloads and why this is minor in their eyes. There are millions of kids out there experiencing this day in and day out. Many kids are experiencing much worse. They remain in their homes because there is no place else for them to go. Sad. What will probably happen in this case is CPS will open a case. The parents will go to some counseling and make things “look” good. Case closed, kids still getting abused. However, when these kids get to the age of about 12 and start acting out and getting violent it will be too much for the parents to handle so they will ask for help, or maybe the kids will get into trouble with the law and do something so bad they will be removed from the home. Either way, at this point, the child will most likely go into Foster Care. Not because they are bad kids but because they have been exposed to trauma their whole lives and have had no counseling and no help. They don’t know what else to do so it just happens. By this time they are so emotionally disturbed that it doesn’t matter how much love they are given, or how much
counseling they go through they will never be “normal” functioning kids or even adults for that matter. They are no longer “cute and desired” so they will never get adopted out of foster care. They will “age out” and be left to fend for themselves. They will have children of their own and the whole cycle will start again. Our system really needs to intervene when these kids are young and can be molded into amazing well-producing members of society. We need to break this cycle. So what can you do? It’s easy…open your home to these amazing kids and become foster parents! Easy I say! No it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies but it is very rewarding. There are too many kids in need right now and not enough homes. I know the agency my husband and I do foster care for are currently turning away 50% of the referrals they are getting. Part of the reason there are so few foster homes is because there are so many misconceptions about Foster Care: my house is too small, the kids have committed a crime to get into foster care, they will teach my kids bad things, I’m single-I can’t do it, they don’t let same sex couples do this type of thing, I’m too old/young. It is easier than you think to get certified. I strongly encourage you to check with an agency and apply! If there is something you need to do to become certified they will tell you and work with you. They want you to succeed. There are different types of agencies and you have to find the one that works the best for you. There are public agencies like the county you live in and private companies such as the one we do foster care for. I personally recommend a private agency, only because you as a foster parent get more support than a public agency due to resources; however, every agency is different and can vary greatly from county to county and state to state. Also it is so easy to make excuses as to why not to start today, the same excuses people make when they are thinking about starting their own families. These excuses can be things like: I don’t have enough time, you will make time. I don’t have enough money, you will get a monthly stipend that covers the living expenses for the child. I will wait until my kids are older…that’s a good thought but these kids need you now! I know, I know-now might not really be the right time for you or your family but when is it ever the right time for anything? If it truly isn’t the right time now when it is please don’t push this off. To be able to help a child be the best they can be really does wonders for everyone involved! Also if you don’t think you can make a full time commitment I encourage you to start with respite care. For those of you who are not familiar with this term it basically means you give other foster homes or maybe even birthparents a break for a few days. This normally happens on the weekend and it’s a good way to experience foster care without a full time commitment. If you have any questions about the process or my experience I would be more than happy to answer them publicly in the comments or privately, just send me an email on the contact me page!
I have included a few links that might interest you. The first one is a link to the video that inspired me to write this, the second is a link to a series of books that are very easy reads yet very inspiring, and the last is a real recording from a 911 call from a little girl, very haunting to hear. The 911 call happened in 1991 and the little girl did survive, however, the kids didn’t get removed from the home and Lisa ended up in an abusive relationship herself. The fourth is a short movie about a girl removed from her home. You may have to copy and paste the links to view them as I have yet to figure out how to hyperlink them in my blog post…sorry! I’m working on that...so it might work to click!