Police Report: “Young Girl Left Alone on Plaza, Playing Happily” So???

Readers ibhzadziik
— Once again we have evidence that our world has gone nuts. Does this “incident” seem to warrant police intervention to you? Doesn’t it sound like COMPLETELY NORMAL LIFE? 

Police Report: Young girl left alone on Plaza
Posted on October 17, 2013 by Sun News
Observant Plaza-goers grew concerned on Friday afternoon, October 4, when it became clear that a seven-year-old girl had been left at the playground without supervision. The youngster was playing happily with other kids and was not scared, police. In fact, she told them that her foster mom usually sits in a parked car and watches her play. After about 20 minutes, and with the mother nowhere to be found – she went home to put the groceries away, the girl said – police took the girl to the station house. The foster mother, 55, of El Verano, arrived about 50 minutes later. She told police she had left the girl alone for a few minutes to put ice cream in the home freezer before it melted, and had returned to her parked-car vantage point. She told officers that she began looking for the girl when it started to get dark, and learned of the girl’s whereabouts from parents at the playground. The girl was released back to the foster mother, who promised “it won’t happen again.” The report will go to Child Protective Services.

 

"Captain, we've got a 517 situation here. Kids playing. Send backup."

“Captain, we’ve got a 517 situation here. Kids playing. Send backup.”

82 Responses to Police Report: “Young Girl Left Alone on Plaza, Playing Happily” So???

  1. Cherub Mamma October 29, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    I hate to be the first comment here when I have to disagree with the post. However it must be said — foster parenting HAS to be a different kind of parenting!! I foster and with a child that age I would NEVER be allowed to leave the child out of my sight like that. My agency requires nearly constant supervision. And really, as over the top as that might sound, it is necessary quite often. Foster children typically don’t have a safe background. They often don’t understand boundaries. They’ve often been subject to neglect along with any abuse and they are used to fending for themselves – but that doesn’t make it right. When you foster you sign up for a different lifestyle that is anything but free-range. While I might leave my bio/adopted 7yo child alone at a park (I have…plenty of times), I would never leave a foster child alone like that. It honestly isn’t a safe thing to do.

  2. TaraK October 29, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    Here’s a link I thought you’d enjoy. Real live authors of modern day books backing up the “free range/let your child have a taste of failure” parenting style! http://www.jillsavage.org/?p=6128

  3. Nicole October 29, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    I think the issue is why, if the child is playing happily, would anyone call the police? Foster child or not, it’s odd.

  4. SKL October 29, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    As usual we do not know the whole story, e.g. why did someone contact the police in the first place? And also, how long was the foster mom gone?

    I believe 7 is old enough to be left at a safe-for-kids park for an hour or so, under otherwise normal circumstances. I understand fostering is different from dealing with your own kid, but it sounds like this kid has been with the foster mom a while and maybe she demonstrated enough responsibility to be left “alone” [with other kids and parents] for a while. I don’t know whether that was legal or not – I assume that would be a state or county question.

    My kids are that age and I do send them to the park on their own, but so far I have not been brave enough to let them be there unsupervised for more than about 30 minutes. Too many “concerned citizens” around. I was beginning to hope that as 2nd-graders they are now immune to such nonsense, but then someone called the cops when I left them in the car for 3 minutes to drop off a FedEx package. So I’m back to that in-between space where I know they are ready but I might not have the energy to deal with people who disagree.

  5. Ben October 29, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    If the kid was at a playground happily playing with other kids, I see no need for police intervention. Being dragged to the station was probably a lot scarier to the girl.

    Still, I understand that foster parenting is different. To avoid all this, the mom should’ve expected this sort of reaction. With all those parents there, it would’ve taken 2 minutes to ask someone to keep an eye on her for a couple of minutes and avoid the whole “unsupervised” complaint.

  6. SKL October 29, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    Then again, judging from the other stories in the linked news beat, it looks like it must have been a slow news day . . . .

  7. SKL October 29, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Another thing. How frightening to return and find your kid missing, not knowing it was the cops who took her away. That’s unconscionable in my opinion. The cops waited only 20 minutes before kidnapping her. :/

  8. sandy October 29, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    While I do wonder why the police were called if the girl was playing happily with the other kids, the foster mom was gone for a an observed total of 20 minutes plus 50 minutes. That is a long time to leave a foster child. That said, normally I have no problem leaving a 7 year old for that amount of time, especially with other adults around. The proper response for the police would be to call the foster mother, just to check in, not to drag a child to the police station!

    With so many paranoid parents about, I would suggest to the foster mom that she get out of the car and introduce herself, stay for a bit and get to know the parents, then let them know she is leaving for a bit. The foster child should know how to contact the mother.

  9. Donna October 29, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    I understand that fostering is different and agree for the reasons mentioned. The point is not should foster care children be left unsupervised in a park and is why in the world does anyone even know that this is a foster child in the first place?

    This situation does not appear to be one where someone called the police because she knew that a foster care child was being left unattended in a park against agency rules (even then I’d question calling the police rather than the case worker). It seems that the police were called because a child, who it was LATER discovered was a foster child, was playing happily in the park. Whoever originally called the police did so solely because a child was left unattended in the park, not because a foster child was left unattended in a park. You can’t say that it is okay to call the police on a perfectly happy unattended 7 year old THIS TIME simply because it was later discovered that the child was in foster care unless it is ALWAYS okay to call the police because of happily playing 7 year olds.

  10. pentamom October 29, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    sandy, it sounds like she spent a good part of that 50 minutes trying to figure out where the child was after she got back to the park.

    I agree that foster parents need to supervise more closely than parents, but we don’t have any information suggesting that anybody knew she was a foster child being neglected by her foster parents, as opposed to a child happily and safely playing with other kids, in the presence of other adults, without her own parent around. So I’m not sure there’s any reason to believe that whoever called the police was concerned about a foster parent not following the rules (foster kids don’t wear signs, after all) rather than someone who thought the police needed to be involved because a child was in no danger but someone disapproved of how she was being parented.

  11. CrazyCatLady October 29, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    She should have let the child know she was popping home and would be back in a bit. Had she done that, maybe the cops would have backed off. (Maybe…) For me the red flag is that the child didn’t know where the foster mom was or when she would be back.

    I do try to let kids know if I am not going to be around for a bit and who they can go to for help. Or, likewise, if I am dropping them off, that indeed, I am dropping them off, and when I will be back.

  12. Warren October 29, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    And you wonder why I am all for limited police presence. Because once they are involved, it goes downhill rapidly.

    You people are rich. Please do not ever foster a child. I would hate for the child to be told “Yes dear, I know you are mature enough to go to the park and play, but you know you can’t because you are a foster child.”

    Or for the foster child to watch your biological kids going off to do things, but not be allowed because they are a foster.

    Foster kids do not need extra anything. What they do need is to be given the closest thing to a normal environment as possible. If in your nanny states infinite wisdom, foster kids need more supervision, need more security, then stop sending them into people’s homes, and put them in institutions.

  13. pentamom October 29, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Warren — that’s all very nice in theory, but there are regulations foster parents have to follow.

  14. Molly October 29, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Warren–

    You’re wrong. Regardless of agency regulations, most foster kids need a whole lot of extra things.

    Kids go into care because they’ve been abused and/or neglected. Many children who have experienced trauma honestly cannot keep themselves safe. Just because the child is chronologically seven does not mean that she is emotionally seven.

    When our daughter came to us at the age of 2 1/2, with minimal trauma, but she would happily have gone with anyone and done anything anybody told her to do. Think about that. ANYBODY and ANYTHING. And this is so common among foster kids. We’ve been working on that ever since. We know many people who foster, and that’s emphasized over and over in trainings: these children need far more structure and security than most. They’re all broken, to some extent or another, usually by the very people who were supposed to keep them safe and loved.

    So I think the foster mom may have showed poor judgment in leaving the child alone (would need more info about length of fostering, nature of trauma, etc.), especially if she didn’t tell the kid where she was going or when she’d be back. And especially if the child didn’t know the kids she was playing with. But I’m also not sure taking the kid to the station was a great idea: lots (by no means all) of foster kids were removed from their home by the police or with a police presence.

  15. Nicole October 29, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    That, and foster kids are at risk of abduction by the birth parents, often have significant mental health issues, and usually have difficulty forming attachment. Free range isn’t about saying “all seven year olds can go to the park alone”, rather it’s about judging the situation and deciding what’s most appropriate for this child.

    Now, maybe this child had been with this mom for years and things were stable and safe. Maybe they weren’t. But even so, the regulations are there to safeguard against abused and neglected children being hurt while in foster care.

  16. SnarkyMomma October 29, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    This. This is what I live in fear of. We regularly let our 3 year old play in our yard, by himself and the neighbors will consistently bring him to the door and ring our doorbell to let us know he’s out there ALONE. Yes. I know. He’s fine. I’m more scared of someone reporting us to CPS than I am of anything that might happen to him playing out there.

  17. Evelina October 29, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    The child probably did know that the parent had gone home for a bit and probably relayed this to police when asked. Also, of course the police would know the child is in foster care, because they would ask the child who she lived with and who had brought her there. My child could recite at two that M and B were her foster parents, C and P were her birth parents, and we are her forever parents, and my child does not have strong communication skills.

    To the commenter who says foster children do not need extra structure and supervision, yes, please don’t ever foster. Of course children who’ve been in multiple placements need extra work on learning to trust adults, learning to keep themselves safe, learning not to go off with strangers, etc. Most foster and adoptive families are constantly explaining safety and boundaries to our kids, reassuring them that we will keep them safe, and creating an environment where they aren’t left with anyone they don’t know super well. In foster parent training you learn that it isn’t appropriate to leave our kids in the health club daycare where the caregiver and other children are people they’ve never met. Leaving a foster kid at a playground is against regulations and completely clinically inappropriate.

  18. Andy October 29, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    @Cherub Mamma But, isnt this be a case where some foster kids are ready to be left alone and other are not? And some foster kids being in danger of relatives and others not?

    I always through that the whole point of foster care is to give kids something as close to family life as possible.

  19. SnarkyMomma October 29, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    The fact that the girl was a foster child doesn’t play a role in this story.

    The story is that someone saw a little girl playing nicely alone and called the authorities. They couldn’t tell just by seeing her that she was a foster kid – they just saw that she was a kid. Alone. And that was enough to warrant a call to the police.

  20. Eileen October 29, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    “Free range isn’t about saying “all seven year olds can go to the park alone”, rather it’s about judging the situation and deciding what’s most appropriate for this child.”

    Yes, this! This is what I find is sometimes lost here. I have two kids, both boys and they couldn’t be more different despite having the same parents and growing up in the same home. They had (and have) different strengths and weaknesses and maturities.

    I do agree that I wonder why someone chose to call the police, but that’s the part where we can just make up our own reason: someone counted kids and parents and over reacted immediately OR the parents there knew the deal and thought it was inappropriate for this kid to be there unsupervised. Who knows.

  21. marie October 29, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    The discussion about foster kids and what they need and whether this mom should have left the child at the park…that’s all interesting but not really what Lenore is talking about.

    Someone called the police because a child was playing without a parent watching her. That is crazy. She was playing happily, so obviously the lack of supervision was not harmful. She knew where her mom was–home putting groceries away–yet the cops didn’t believe her. That part bugs me: the cops didn’t believe the child.

    Sure, her birth parents could have abducted her. Sure, maybe she has attachment problems. Sure, maybe one of a million things could have happened and sure, maybe one of a million things were true.

    But the fact remains that someone called the cops because a child was playing without her parent watching. That kind of thinking is a problem.

  22. Eileen October 29, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Reading the link, it makes me wonder what I would do. I wouldn’t call the police, but would I leave the park as it got dark if a child was unattended? When I’ve been at my kids school after events, if I notice that a kid is sitting on the curb and it’s dark I don’t feel comfortable leaving. It’s not that I think the kid is in imminent danger, but if the parent’s car broke down or got the time wrong or whatever, it seems like it would be nice to make sure they have a ride — or give them one.

    So applying that to a playground, if I saw a 7 year old alone and it started to get dark, I wouldn’t feel comfortable just presuming all was well and leave.

  23. Teri October 29, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    I agree with Cherub Mamma – while it may seem to not be a big deal if it were your own kids, foster parents are given a set of rules that they MUST abide by (silly or not – and yes, I’ve read over them and have found half of the rules to be ridiculous). She agreed to those rules when she agreed to take the child.

    But, I agree that it was silly that one of the other parents took it upon themselves to call the police (you know that’s who called). I imagine they saw the mom drive away and didn’t know if she was going to be gone 5 minutes or 5 hours. Personally, I would have just stayed at the park a little longer to see if the mom came back before calling the police. Maybe call them after an hour. But, chances are the person who called didn’t know whether the child was her’s or a foster child – she just wanted to be the “hero.”

  24. Teri October 29, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Well said, Marie!

  25. lihtox October 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    I don’t think it’s the police’s business to enforce the foster-care agency’s rules, is it?

  26. Warren October 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Molly,
    Get off your high horse. Every kid is different. Obviously this 7 yr old is mature enough. I never said all 7 yr olds, so stop putting words in my mouth.

    I a child has special emotional or medical needs than of course deal with them. But to hold a child back for no other reason than they are a foster child is insane, moronic and does the kid harm. If your agencies are that dense, and strict, than just like CPS, they need to be torn down completely, and rebuilt.

    As a parent, I would want the name of the busybody that called the cops. They would be told very bluntly to mind their own damn business, in the future.

  27. Eileen October 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    @lihtox — is someone suggesting that?

    The police respond to calls. It looks like they showed up waited around for the parent and then took the child to the station. The child was the one that told them her foster parent left.

    In this particular case, it sounds like the foster parent *may* have been pushing the limits of her responsibility to the child (many listed here by those with experience) so in the end, it’s sounds like a good lesson learned by all.

    We don’t know why someone called the police. Perhaps they were being a busy body or maybe they knew a little more about the child’s situation. But once the police arrived, I doubt they are going to just leave.

  28. Cherub Mamma October 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    The article is not clear about WHEN her foster child status was revealed. It easily could have come out if one of the parents in the park asked her if she was OK (a perfectly acceptable thing to do). I’m speculating here, but it EASILY could have been answered, “My foster mom just ran home. I’m here alone.” And yes, a response like that would need to involve the police.

    As foster parents we are to raise the children in the least restrictive environment possible. But there are extra rules in place that must be followed that are very restrictive. I’ve got an incredibly free-range philosophy in life and I’ve had a difficult time forcing myself to follow all the rules. But if I want to foster, I am required to follow the rules — especially the supervision ones!

    This story doesn’t have enough information. Yes, a “normal” child playing in the park alone shouldn’t warrant police involvement ever. But that “foster” element changes absolutely everything.

  29. Eileen October 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    @Warren: “Obviously this 7 yr old is mature enough. ”

    How do you know that? Because she was left at the park proves she was mature enough?

    You get on people constantly for making assumptions, but this is a huge one.

  30. Emily October 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Here’s my take:

    Foster Mom and Foster Child (let’s say her name is Ashley, just for the sake of expediency) return home from the grocery store. Ashley sees friends of hers playing in the park, and wants to go play with them, but the groceries still need to be put away. Foster Mom walks Ashley over to the park, and says she’ll be right back; she just has to put the ice cream away, because the non-perishables can wait, and the fruits and vegetables will be okay in the trunk of the car for a little while, but ice cream needs to be frozen right away, or it’ll turn into soup. Anyway, while Foster Mom is trying to explain that she’ll be back soon, Ashley is already deeply immersed in a game of Power Rangers with her friends–she doesn’t hear what Foster Mom said, because she’s the Pink Ranger, battling the evil Lord Zed; ably played by the child who lost at eeney-meeney-miney-moe. Foster Mom leaves to put the ice cream away, and the police show up, and ask Ashley, “Where’s your adult?”; and “When’s your adult coming back?” Since Ashley has forgotten what Foster Mom said, she simply replies, “I don’t know.” I know that this is just a speculation, but it’s probably the most plausible answer. I’m not so sure it’s necessarily an indication on maturity, either–sometimes I get focused on doing something, and forget things people say, or leave something behind that I need; like my keys, iPod, camera, etc. Also, I agree with the person who brought up the point of, “How did the person who reported the little girl know that she was a foster child in the first place?” So, if a child is happily playing in a park, in broad daylight, I’d leave it alone; especially if there are other kids around, and even more if there are other adults around. Besides, don’t we WANT kids to get outside and get active with other kids? That’s supposed to be healthy……but, I guess that the busybody who reported this thought that the child would be safer inside, in front of the television.

  31. lollipoplover October 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    “But the fact remains that someone called the cops because a child was playing without her parent watching. That kind of thinking is a problem.”

    Being a foster child has nothing to do with this. She was playing with friends at an area designated for kids to play- a playground. When busybodies decide to enforce their own parenting styles on other parents, we all should be alarmed.
    This is bat-shit crazy.

    I have a 7 year-old. Often times she asks to go with friends to the playgrounds during soccer games because she’s bored. She’s responsible and follows instructions but I am not supervising, I’m watching her sibling’s game. It absolutely infuriates me that someone could call the police because I wasn’t watching her climb the rock wall, again. Or pushing her on the swing (she can pump her legs). She wants to play with her friends- isn’t this normal kid behavior?
    She also rides her bike (with a group of other kids) to school. It’s called commuting and she does it quite well. Can I get a police call for that too?

  32. pentamom October 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Eileen, those thoughts about not leaving a young child by herself when everyone else is leaving, or beginning to get dark, and being concerned, are all very valid ones.

    They don’t seem to apply to this situation at all, which happened in the afternoon, in October, when it is not yet beginning to get dark, and she was still playing with other kids.

  33. BL October 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    @Eileen
    “The police respond to calls”

    And when there’s no problem, they should just say so and go catch or thwart some violent criminals.

    They don’t have to detain or arrest or charge someone every time they’re called. A kid was playing on a playground. Sheesh.

  34. Alex October 29, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    I’m wondering how police found out that that particular kid doesn’t have parent around?
    Does police routinely walks into children playgrounds and start counting kids and adults around?
    (What if there is one parent looking after two kids or two parents looking after one kid?)
    Or they ask each kid to point to their patent?
    Or they just start grabbing kids and see how adults react?

  35. SKL October 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Just wondering how the government (school system) allows kids as young as 5 to wait *alone* at bus stops every morning (right next to the street!), if it’s so wrong for parents to allow their kids to play at a park without supervision. Especially since the parents have the benefiting of knowing what their kid is ready for.

  36. SKL October 29, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    I never quite understand how my fingers type something different from what I am thinking . . ..

  37. Eun Yang October 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    7 years is not too young to teach kids to never speak to the police. Just like teaching kids to not talk to strangers is bad because they don’t grow out of it when the need to, it is a bad thing to teach kids to trust police because it will only cause misery for them as an adult. So many people, innocent too, have gone to jail because they made the mistake of talking to the cops. Don’t let your kid make that mistake. Just tell them to say “I don’t want to talk to you.” and clam up. Every lawyer will advise you to never speak to the police because it is good advice. Lots of videos on YouTube.

  38. John October 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Most people here are saying because she was a foster child, she needed more supervision as that is the case with foster children; however, isn’t it possible that you could look at this on a case by case basis? The article doesn’t say how long the foster mother had the child but perhaps, based on the foster mother’s good judgment, the child had demonstrated many times before that she was mature enough to be left unattended. Maybe the foster mother had her a signficant amount of time and therefore was able to formulate an accurate judgment of the little girl’s capabilities. I just think we need to know more about this child before assessing the situation and hopefully that’s what CPS will do before deciding to “hang” the foster mother!

  39. Donna October 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    “But, isnt this be a case where some foster kids are ready to be left alone and other are not? ”

    Sure, but who gets to make that decision?

    The foster parent? Foster parents have the physical care of the child but have almost no legal authority over them. The foster parents are not part of the CPS case and may very well not know much about the child’s history. Further, kids move in and out of various foster care homes all the time and these kids are master chameleons – they’ve needed to be to survive in their chaotic environments. At what point does the foster parent become sufficiently familiar with the true child to be able to make any determination concerning their maturity and abilities? A week? A month? A year?

    The case worker? This is going to be the person on the hook if something happens to the child as a result of any decision made. The state has full legal control over the child and knows the child’s full history (if the case worker has stayed consistent throughout) but isn’t the day-to-day caregiver of the child.

    The biological family? In most foster care cases, the child will ultimately be returned to the family. As a result, the family is kept involved as much as possible, depending on the limitations of the specific case.

    The CASA worker maybe? Guardians ad litem? Attorneys for everyone – CPS, father, mother, children? The judge? There are so many people involved in these cases all of whom have some say over what happens with this child.

  40. Donna October 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    “My foster mom just ran home. I’m here alone.” And yes, a response like that would need to involve the police.”

    Really? Because EVERYONE on the planet just knows the rules under which foster care operates?

    If I run into a child in the park, I am not going to hear “foster parent” and immediately have a Pavlovian response to call the police. I sometimes handle CPS cases as an appointed attorney for the parents or kids so I am well versed on the situation and I still wouldn’t automatically think “must call police” in this situation so why would you expect it from some person with absolutely no knowledge of the child care system at all? I may be more inclined to hang out to see what is up than the average person but I’m not automatically going to dial 911 if the child is happily playing.

  41. LRH October 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    “The police respond to calls”

    And when there’s no problem, they should just say so and go catch or thwart some violent criminals.

    They don’t have to detain or arrest or charge someone every time they’re called. A kid was playing on a playground. Sheesh.

    Exactly.

    My take is that it definitely was an overreaction. As for it being a foster parent/child deal, it was irrelevant to the fact that someone thought to call the POLICE over such a thing. That to me is also relevant in the same way the quoted section is–(a) police responding to every little thing but even more (b) people CALLING the police over every silly little thing.

    As for the foster parent set-up, I know about how that works somewhat & as such I’ve said I could never be one. If I were to let a child live in my home & interrupt my life doing a favor for someone, I’m doing how I please or I’m not doing it at all. Either I’m to be granted full discretion about such matters or I won’t do it. Other than responding to calls or accusations if I’m accused of molestation etc, I’m not to have anyone hanging around me telling me how to do this. I’ll do it how I say or I won’t do it at all.

    As for the parent saying “won’t happen again,” phooey on that. The right reply ought to be (assuming no foster parent issues etc) “yes I did it, and I’ll do it again the minute you leave, and if you don’t like it you can go suck on a cyanide-laced batch of eggs for all I care.” Police have no business telling a parent how to parent, this isn’t Nazi Germany for crying out loud.

    LRH

  42. ChicagoDad October 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    When I was a kid in the 80’s in Iowa, a close friend of the family (and state’s attorney) gave some advice to me and my little brother. “If you need help,” she said “go find a police officer and tell them everything you can so they can help you. But if you don’t need help and the police take you away, then don’t say anything except that you want to call an attorney” My little kids are learning my brother’s phone number (he’s a lawyer) and they are getting the same advice.

  43. SKL October 29, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    People just have runaway imaginations. They’ll tell you a hundred different things that “could happen” to a 7yo playing happily in a park, surrounded by other children and their doting parents.

    A couple of months ago I was in a hurry to get several time-sensitive things done, and as a single mom, that meant my kids had to tag along. The kids had piano lessons and then I had to drop a FedEx overnight letter for a client and then run to the library before it closed. We were running late because another adult delayed us. Therefore I left my kid in the car (in a regular parking spot) for exactly 3 minutes while I ran into FedEx to drop off a prepared envelope. When I came out, there was a cop blocking my car. PS it was sunset time on a mild day – heat was not an issue; and I locked the car and took the keys with me. And I left the cell phone in the car.

    I got so ticked off that I ranted about this on a forum I frequent. You can just imagine all the comments I got about why the 911 caller did the right thing. “What if, what if, what if.” I had people arguing that maybe it was hotter than I thought it was; what if a pedophile kidnapper happened by at just that moment and busted my window and was able to get my TWO strong, healthy kids out of the car and get away with them that fast; what if my kids (whom I described as second-graders) got out of the car and came looking for me and got kidnapped, run over, or hopelessly lost; how was the caller to know that I wasn’t planning to stay in the FedEx storefront all night long; what if my car spontaneously turned itself on and drove forward into another vehicle; what if my kids started a fire with the car charger socket; what if my kids strangled themselves in my manually operated car windows; maybe the caller thought they were actually infants who might somehow expire in 3 minutes without Mommy right there. I mean ALL KINDS of things can happen when you leave your kids in a locked car for 3 minutes in the parking lot by FedEx. I had at least one person state that I should be appreciative that someone cares more about my children than I do. UGH. So never underestimate the creativity of “concerned citizens” when they see a child “alone.”

  44. Warren October 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Eileen,
    What was it about “The youngster was playing happily with other kids and was not scared” that you did not understand? Combined with the fact that the parent felt she was, then it is not an assumption. It is giving people the benefit of the doubt.

    And because someone called the police, and the fact that involved a child, the cops no matter what will never just walk away. Because if something happened, they are screwed, whether they were right to leave or not, they are screwed. Headlines of cops leaving a child alone ends up in surgery or whatever. The police cannot take the risk.
    Again another reason to tone down police presence.

    Oh and for those who love police presence…..saw Reba McEntire on Sun. night. Awesome show, and not a cop in sight. Arena staff as ushers, ticket takers and such. But no cops.

  45. SKL October 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    And the gist of my rant was that people are WRONG to call the police on parents who are NOT in fact harming their children. Because once the cop was involved, I was the one thinking “What if” – what if CPS comes knocking on my door etc. My house was spotless for a while after that.

  46. Andy October 29, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    @Donna The same person that gets to determine whether the kid is ready to cut dinner meat with a knife. Are you saying that foster kids are non stop watched until they are 21? There must be a point when foster kid is not watched constantly.

  47. Warren October 29, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Oh and Eileen, try reading the report again. It wasn’t dark when they called the cops, or when the cops abducted the child. It started getting dark after the mom was back at the park.

  48. Emily October 29, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Okay, I missed the part where the child told the police that her foster mom went home to put away the groceries, and she’d be back. That’s where it gets crazy–the right thing to do would have been to either accept that answer and move on, or wait at the park with the child until the foster mother returned. I’d even go as far as to reserve the latter option for situations where it looks like there’s a reason to be concerned–bad weather (child and police officer could wait in the car), minor injury (surely the police officer would have Band-Aids in the car, or on his or her person), or if the child looked unhappy for some reason. In this case (broad daylight, happy kid), it’d make more sense to just move on.

  49. lollipoplover October 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Is this police blotter from the Onion?
    There’s masturbating in CVS parking lots, kids playing in parks, drunks in grocery stores, and my favorite, the drunk of the wee
    “Sometimes, particularly when you are dead drunk at 4:55 p.m., sitting on the ground with your back against a telephone pole seems like a mighty comfortable option.” But not in this town. How scary!

  50. Donna October 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Andy –

    First, kids are kicked out of foster care at 18, not 21. But, yes, MANY foster kids do require constant supervision until 18 (and beyond which they then usually get in the prison system). Kids do not end up in foster care because mom and dad died in a car wreck leaving behind their well-adjusted orphans. These are seriously damaged kids who have lived through hells that you probably can’t even imagine and absolutely do not think or act like normal kids of the same age.

    Nor are these kids that the decision makers have raised since infancy. I know that my 8 year old is capable of going to the park alone for an hour because I’ve known her for 8 years. I wouldn’t presume to be able to make the same decision for her friends, most of whom we’ve only known a couple months. Making decision for foster care kids is far more like making decisions for your children’s friends than it is like making decisions for you own children.

    Nor should you even remotely assume that foster parent = good parent. Some are absolutely wonderful human beings, but a large number are just this side of a CPS case themselves.

    Although all decisions are made on a case-by-case basis by case workers and foster parents, age-guidelines are frequently used because these are often just not kids that anyone making the decisions knows that much about. I’ve never heard a set guideline for when foster kids can be left alone in a park. However, since it is not near universal that normally developing 7 year olds can hang at the park alone, I imagine that it would not be cool with CPS for their 7 year old charges.

  51. Andy October 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    @Donna I understand that foster kids are often hard cases. However, I do not see a reason to constantly watch one that does not have a track record of getting into trouble. There are many day to day simple small decisions foster parents and others around kids have to do. Whether the kid will be left in park or not could be one of them.

    I’m ok with some foster kids being watched as long as possible when it is needed and other foster kids not being watched that long.

    You said that some foster kids have to be watched till 18 and I’m saying that not all of them are like that. There is not even a contradiction in those claims.

  52. Cherub Mamma October 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Foster care runs on a set of RULES that apply to every child. They don’t leave a lot of grey area. For example, in Texas the supervision rules start out with literally requiring constant supervision. The younger children have to be in your line of sight or within hearing distance at all times. That means I’m required to use monitors to listen to areas of the house I’m not in if the kids are playing there.

    Older kids have supervision times like 5-10 minutes. Preteens are supposed to be checked on every 15 minutes. Literally, this means I’m REQUIRED to check in and physically see and/or hear the child every 15 minutes. They aren’t allowed over in the neighbor’s back yard unless that neighbor is an approved babysitter. I have to closely supervise. If I don’t adhere to these rules, I can be sited, my home can be shut down and the foster kids can be forced to move to a new home.

    Teenagers are often granted 1-2 hours a day of unsupervised time. This means they could be dropped off at a movie or go to a friend’s house.

    But EVERYTHING is dependent on the kid AND their CPS worker. CPS has to grant this time. Foster parents do not get to set the rules. If you’re not willing to parent according to the rules the State has in place, don’t foster. It’s that simple. (I foster because of the KIDS….not because I’m a huge fan of the rules.)

    It doesn’t look anything like “traditional” parenting.

    That’s why the story above gets me. This foster mom had no business leaving her charge alone at the park. We DON’T know when or how the “foster” status was revealed. And the police probably shouldn’t have been involved. But like the writer said above, not every foster home is a good one! And foster kids do need protected in a way that “normal” kids don’t. It’s just a matter of truth. There is a reason the child came in to Care.

    And for what it’s worth, kids can opt to stay in foster care through age 21 if they want. It helps them with post high school education and independent living. It is voluntary as they can age-out at 18 if they want. But if a kid needs a family for support, they can stay in Care and get it.

  53. Donna October 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    Andy – Foster parents don’t make decisions in a vacuum like regular parents. Other people are involved in their decision-making process. They know that going in.

    But I don’t recall that anyone said that no foster kids are ever allowed to be left in a park alone. CherubMamma said that at age 7 foster kids would not be allowed to be left in the park alone. I find nothing remotely outrageous about that statement.

    By normal standards, 7 is young to be left alone at the playground. Some mature kids are ready for it, but many are not. I don’t think there is anything odd about having a rule prohibiting an activity that is far from universally acceptable in general, particularly when you are charged with caring for a population that is (a) not your child, (b) from bad situation, (c) highly transient, (d) frequently unknown to their caregivers, and (e) you are legally responsible for but don’t participate in the caregiving on a day-to-day basis. It makes even more sense when the caregivers you are entrusting with these children are often not the best parenting has to offer but are just who is willing to do it(although many are wonderful).

    Yes, a few 7 year old foster children who are capable of staying alone at a playground will be stymied, but I don’t believe it is a necessary developmental milestone from which you can never recover at that age either. If it is, my child is hopelessly injured since when she was 7 we lived on an island where there was no such thing as a playground for her to be left at alone. Now if CherubMamma was saying the same thing about 12, or even 10 year old children, I would agree that CPS was being overly cautious, but at 7, it seems like a pretty sound guideline for the specific situation of foster children/foster parents.

  54. Donna October 29, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    Cherub Mamma – As you should know, rules for foster care differ by state, and probably even CPS office to a certain extent. California ain’t Texas by a long shot. That said, I don’t think a 7 year old left alone at a playground for any amount of time would fly anywhere, so I agree that that was an inappropriate decision for this foster mother.

    That wasn’t the point Lenore was making. You are hung up on the foster care issue which is completely and totally irrelevant. There is no indication whatsoever that anyone involved in this story – caller, other parents, police officer – was responding to the situation because it was a breach of foster care protocol. In fact, since the only people who know the nitty gritty of foster care protocol are people who are involved in the foster care system, it would be highly unusual if even the police officer knew that this was a breach. Barring some highly coincidental set of facts that were not revealed in this story for some unknown reason, the caller called the police SOLELY to report a child playing alone in the park because she thought that was inappropriate completely and totally outside of any foster care issues.

  55. Donna October 29, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    CherubMamma – As you should know, foster care rules differ by state and, to some extent CPS, office. California isn’t Texas by a long shot in most respects. That said, I agree that leaving a 7 year old at the park alone would not be cool anywhere and that the foster mother went outside her authority.

    That said, that is completely and totally irrelevant to the point Lenore is making which is – police intervention is not needed for a happily playing 7 year old just because she is alone. There is absolutely no indication whatsoever that the reporter called the police to report a foster care breach of protocol (meaning that she would not have called if the child had not been a foster child). Since the nitty gritty of foster care is not known by those outside the system, barring some odd coincidence in which the caller and the police officer are also foster parents, it is pretty clear that everyone involved – caller, other parents, police officer – all responded to a child alone at the playground and not a foster care protocol breach. That is even more apparent since the police officer just released the child back to the foster mother without contacting CPS except through a routine report.

  56. Timothy Cooke October 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Other people have said this, but I’ll repeat it. It doesn’t matter that the child was a foster child. I’ve seen some great discussion here on whether foster parenting is different from regular parenting, but that’s not the most important thing. Maybe the mom did no wrong leaving the kid there. Maybe it actually does break some regulation. It doesn’t matter, because there’s something else far more troubling. When this started, it wasn’t known that the girl was a foster child. She could have been a biological child, a foster child, a homeless child- it didn’t matter, because a child’s appearance does not show their housing and family situation. All the bystanders knew was that a child was playing(happily) by themselves. And that sighting, the sighting of a child playing without a helicopter nearby, was enough to warrant a police call. That has to stop. The delusion that kids have to be supervised at all times is at the core of the “helicopter” style of parenting, and is a primary target of the “free-range” style.
    Alright, rant over. Stories like this just make me mad.

  57. Gina October 29, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    Interesting that this topic regarding foster kids should arise. My children have often asked why we don’t adopt/foster an older child. My answer to them is this:

    You were raised in this home and understood personal responsibility and freedom from the time you were born. To bring a child with an unknown background into this environment could be dangerous as s/he may have no idea how to handle the freedom and personal responsibility you’ve always had. That is the only kind of parenting that I am comfortable with and I could not learn to give artificial boundaries and consequences to a child who needs them, so I would not make a good foster/adoptive mom for an older child.

    Also, the state has specific guidelines for foster parents and they are definitely NOT in line with my parenting.

    That said, I agree with Donna. Nobody knew this was a foster child and the little girl was happy and safe. Calling the police was definitely not necessary.

  58. CrazyCatLady October 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    Yesterday my group of home schooling mothers had our weekly play date at the park. This is AS MUCH for the adults as it is for the kids. The wind was blowing and it was chilly, so we brought board games and set up in the nearby Community Center, that has a nice room with lots of windows looking at the playground…about 100 yards away. Some of the kids wanted to play on the playground, which was encouraged. We adults would look out occasionally and see if we saw the color of clothing running around, and then go back to talking.

    To others (who didn’t stay long because it was cold,) it would have appeared that the kids ages 4 – 11 were alone. Fortunately it appears that those who were there had the good sense to not call the cops.

  59. Kristin October 29, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    Warren, and others who think like he does. Thank you for your unwavering sensibility. I was really bashed on here for running my daycare where too many kids that I have known since they were 3 months old were “happily playing” in a “child friendly” area, contained in my child safe home where most of them grew up, with me cooking for them, WATCHING NEARBY! and that was horrifying because of the “regulations”… and here a caregiver LEFT the area completely, to protect the ice cream, and most people are ok with that because the child was happy and ok. I don’t get the logic. The risk of harm is minimal when you know a child and assess a situation based on the individual child. There are kids I won’t let out of my sight because they are totally not ok when they are. But I find that that is rare after running a daycare where the childs intelligence is highly respected. It is negligence when a child isn’t getting what they need, and that is different for every child. And a child will let you know without fail what they need. You need to be smart and listen. They are so smart, each in their own way, especially when they are not dumbed down as infants. Allow them to use their smarts, figure things out, build their skills. OK FOLKS…let me have it…again…I’m practicing building a tough skin.

  60. Emily October 29, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Kristin–I’m going to let you have it all right…..I’m going to let you have my sincerest praise. *cue 80’s movie slow clap.* I agree with everything you said, because, foster care protocol or not, there’s a lot of talk about how kids, especially foster kids, need structure, and rules, and consequences, right? Well, what about the flip side of that? What about earning more freedom in exchange for doing the right things? If a foster child is obeying the rules of his or her new home, cleaning up after him-or-herself, working hard in school, being polite, etc., but still has to be supervised constantly (or, for whatever amount of time is required by the state), then what incentive does that child have to continue to behave? I’ll believe what people are saying about the foster care system being a pipeline to the prison system, because when you treat someone like a criminal, by keeping them in prison-like conditions (albeit a benevolent prison), then they aren’t going to gain the skills, or the sense of self, that they need, to function in a normal society. When kids are allowed to earn privacy, freedom, privileges, etc., they take a certain amount of pride in, knowing, for example, “I’m allowed to ride my bike around the neighbourhood by myself, because I’ve proven that I can follow the rules of the road, and I’m always home when I say I’ll be.” So, depriving a child of that can be damaging.

  61. Warren October 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    I get a kick out of how people agree that foster kids need the special treatment set out by the program. Because it was also said they get the rest of their education in the prison system.

    Don’t know about the rest of you, but that special treatment doesn’t seem to be working, if they are ending up in prison.

  62. Earth.W October 30, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    In Australia, it is generally illegal to leave a child alone without suitable supervision for children under the age of 12. At the same time, policies by politicians and business has made being around one’s own children, difficult. In fact, it is seen as bleeding the nation dry because you are not working for the man.

  63. Holly October 30, 2013 at 4:57 am #

    I remember being 7 and playing alone outside in the woods, walking to friends houses, and gasp walking to the grocery (.5mile) store alone by a busy street. This was the mid 80’s and in a urban area. I feel these experiences and many others has allowed me to have a firm level of independence and intake on situations. It’s so sad people let there fears overtake a great childhood.

  64. BL October 30, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    @Kristin
    “I was really bashed on here for running my daycare where too many kids that I have known since they were 3 months old were “happily playing” in a “child friendly” area”

    As I recall, you were bashed by some but supported by many. I didn’t do a count, but you had plenty of supporters.

  65. Donna October 30, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Emily – Foster care isn’t a pipeline for prison because of prison-like conditions. Foster care often has prison-like conditions because the vast majority of kids in care have serious emotional and behavioral issues.

    You want simple solutions like “just raise them free range and they’ll be fine” which is completely naive. These are not your cute little camp kids. These are kids who are already half way to prison before they are born in that they are the product of poor, addicted/mentally ill/low intellect (often all 3) parents who are in and out of prison themselves (all the risk factors for prison). Their life then consists of parents who cycle through some level of caring about them to, at best, completely ignoring their emotional and physical needs to satisfy their own and, at worst, selling them sexually for drugs at 3.

    They are then yanked out of that environment and shoved into a system that has too many competing interests and far too few resources (monetary and human). An exceptional foster home can absolutely save a kid but the vast majority of foster homes are mediocre to poor and the only real difference between where they came from and where they are now is that there is no drugs or mental illness. But the world is simply not standing in line to adopt tweens and teens who were born addicted to drugs with a family history of mental illness and mental retardation with the impulse control and decision making abilities of a preschooler. So they languish in the system until they turn 18 (yes, they can ASK to stay until 21 but only those few who got exceptional foster parents or group homes do and, in my experience, it is not strongly encouraged because that takes resources the system doesn’t have) where they end up on the streets with absolutely no life skills, and still with the impulse control and decision making abilities of a preschooler, and within a short period of time end up in jail.

    It is an absolutely horrible situation, but not one with any easy answers.

  66. Eileen October 30, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    @Warren and Pentamom, I wrote about pondering what *I* would do *IF* I was at the park and it started to get dark (which the article says in reference to when the foster Mom came back).

    I’m not sure why someone called 911. Like I said, it could have been a busy body who was counting heads and parents — or a parent who talked the child who said they were alone and they’d be right back….but they weren’t. Or maybe it was someone who knew more about the child’s specific situation. That part is unknown.

  67. Katie October 30, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Who even asked if there was a parent right there? If children are playing happily, who goes around trying to pair up kid & parent?

  68. A Dad October 30, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    Per SKL: “People just have runaway imaginations. They’ll tell you a hundred different things that “could happen” to a 7yo playing happily in a park, surrounded by other children and their doting parents.”

    I would change that to “hovering parents.”

  69. Donna October 30, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Katie – I agree. Who goes to the park and then plays lets match kid with adult?

    I suppose that it could have been a situation where everyone at the park knew each other so it was obvious one kid was unattended. Still no reason to try to “help” a happy kid.

  70. Warren October 30, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    Eileen,
    Please never serve on a jury. You will end up convicting the person on things not even in evidence. We are discussing the situation, not your fantasies.

  71. Emily October 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    @Donna–No need to be condescending. Yes, I know that a lot of kids in the foster care system are “not my cute little camp kids;” however, the child in the article, foster or not, was playing happily at the park, with other kids, in broad daylight. There was no reason to call the police on her. Because someone did, she was taken to the police station (which might have been scary for her), her foster mother came back to the park to find the child gone (definitely scary for her), and it caused a lot of people a lot of unnecessary stress. If the person who called the police had just left well enough alone, then none of that would have happened, Foster Mom would have met up with the girl at the park once the groceries were put away, and life would have moved on as normal.

    Also, I think my point about “rules, structure, and consequences” making some allowance for kids to earn freedoms and privileges for doing the right things, was a valid point as well. It’s almost as if the system, and by extension, society in general, just EXPECTS kids from non-traditional families to misbehave, which isn’t really fair.

  72. Andy October 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    @Donna What you are saying amounts to: you got born to wrong parents and too many of the kids like you are ending in prison. Therefore, the system decided you are a future prisoner anyway and will treat you as one even if you did not shown signs of trouble yet (or you have been cool last year).

    You advocate for the same treatment of seven years old not causing any problems and for unruly teenager already having trouble with law.

    If you merely described the system as it is, then it is different matter, but you sounded like saying it is a good thing.

    You will not turn mediocre foster family to a good one by imposing many rules on things that normal families individualize. Foster parent in park or not will change missing emotional attachment and will not remove abuse that happen in privacy of home. Such rules only make it harder for good families. Caring about wounded kid is hard enough without making it harder.

    Also, you still did not wrote what is the age when foster parent can or should be according to you able to leave reasonably behaved kid alone in park for an hour.

    I would also point out that overall results of foster families are still way better then institutions. Overall, they are doing better job then alternative.

  73. Warren October 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    The foster care system sounds like all other systems, agencies, and organizations dealing with kids.

    They make rules to cover their butts, that way if anything happens they can blame the foster parent for not following the rules.

    No grey area allowed, black and white rulings for all kids.

    Just like a lot of the school systems, and CPS this system needs to be torn down, and rebuilt from scratch. You cannot tweak systems that are this fundamentally damaged and out of date. Keeping kids prisoners for their own good is never the way to go. If you think it is, then don’t put them in foster homes, go straight to prisons, because you have already written them off.

  74. Buffy October 30, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    “Preteens are supposed to be checked on every 15 minutes. Literally, this means I’m REQUIRED to check in and physically see and/or hear the child every 15 minutes.”

    Please tell me this is only during waking hours. If not, it’s ridiculous. (Well, it’s kind of ridiculous anyway, but why would they want sleep-deprived people providing foster care?)

  75. Amanda Matthews October 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Not ALL foster kids have a troubled background that makes letting them play at the park without a foster parent unwise. I know of at least 1 foster kid that was with the same parents from birth. This child was not in foster care because of abuse or neglect, but because the mother was in jail at the time of his birth, and the father didn’t want to be involved. The foster parents were trying to adopt, but the birth mother, now out of jail, – going in and out of rehab, which prevented her from getting the child back – kept fighting them. However, the child did not know that, had never met his biomom and was growing up in a single, safe and stable home.

    “Kids do not end up in foster care because mom and dad died in a car wreck leaving behind their well-adjusted orphans.”

    If mom and dad did not have any family, actually they do. What do you think happens to true orphans? Obviously, the mentally healthy ones with no family to impede the process are often adopted quickly, without ever going on the radar of the people that work with the troubled foster kids – but they do have to temporarily stay in a foster home. (And sometimes that’s with the people that ultimately adopt them, but before that process is complete, they are foster children.)

    The only factor that this child being a foster child affects, is that the foster mom may get into MUCH more trouble than a regular mom because of the report to CPS. A child could, potentially, be ripped from a healthy home and be GIVEN all those problems associated with moving from home to home, because of this.

    And yes I understand that letting a 7 year old foster child play at the park is outside of the foster child rules. But ALL parents – foster, step, adoptive, bio, WHATEVER – will sometimes step outside of the rules in an effort to raise a mentally healthy child. 90% if free range parenting involves breaking rules nowadays.

    “I wouldn’t call the police, but would I leave the park as it got dark if a child was unattended?”

    Personally, I would TALK TO THE CHILD if I were concerned. I would offer to let them use my phone if they need to call someone, or suggest they go back inside the school and tell a teacher their parent is late. But maybe I’m crazy, I don’t assume that dark = danger, and if I saw a child playing at the playground as it started to get dark, I WOULD assume all is well. I wouldn’t stay there silently watching a child I don’t know, because at that point I would become creepy.

  76. Eileen October 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    @Warren, thanks for the advice! I love how you draw conclusions from some random snippets of information, yet when I specifically qualify my own statements, you accuse me of making up evidence.

    I don’t know how I would have behaved in that situation because I wasn’t there. I don’t know why the person called the police because I haven’t asked them. I don’t know if the caller was a total nosy body, or someone who knew more than you or me (well, they certainly knew more than us, since they were there — we do know that).

    As far as foster parents, like regular parents, they come in all forms. I’m very familiar with some young parents who took in foster teens so it allowed one parent to stay home with their own child. Otherwise they would never have done it. These were young parents who could not have biologically been parents to these foster teens. These are a nice young couple, and probably offered these kids better than the alternative, but they didn’t do it because of a yearning to be foster parents — it was financial.

  77. Amanda Matthews October 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    I would imagine that the not paying for child care for their own child actually saves them much more money than having a foster child earns them. In most states, the amount given is quite lower than the real cost of caring for the child. http://www.childrensrights.org/policy-projects/foster-care/hitting-the-marc-foster-care-reimbursement-rates/foster-care-rates-by-state/

  78. baby-paramedic October 31, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    In Australia you can be a foster-kid, but still in “kinship care”, ie, a member of your family raising you. Some of these kids are fostered from a couple of days old.
    So, yes, foster kids usually need a bit of extra “stuff”, but we don’t know the background of the fostering.

  79. jzzy55 October 31, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    I agree with Cherub Mamma. The foster child aspect makes this different from a regular parenting situation. I have worked with foster kids — some have judgment, boundary and problem solving strategies that often aren’t safe or appropriate. I sympathize with the foster mom who needed to get the ice cream home, but the child needed 100% supervision. Also, you sign a contract saying that’s what you’ll provide, and she didn’t.

    Until you’ve worked with a kid who sets other kids’ hair on fire, you haven’t been there.

  80. Molly November 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Warren:

    In this particular case, since I actually am a foster parent and you, to the best of my knowledge are not, I would venture to say that my horse is, in metaphor, higher than yours.

    No longer specifically to Warren:

    There’s no denying that CPS/DCF/DSS/insert your region’s acronym here is often beyond dysfunctional and in need of massive overhaul. But I haven’t seen anyone yet come up with a viable, near-term-implementable alternative. In an ideal world, all families woułd have the inherentvstability and outside supports to appropriately raise their children. In reality, I can think off the top of my head of one family I know whose six-year-old needed to be hospitalized for a week and another whose eight-year-old has been in residential treatment for six months and isn’t ready to come home soon, because while their current homes are safe, their original families treated them so badly that their grip on reality is tenuous at best. This should never happen, but it so often does.

    Every single child in care has undergone significant trauma and loss, merely by being removed from their family of origin. Many are moved to new families a ridiculous number of times, and any attachments they try to form are disrupted again and again, through no fault of theirs.

    Kids act out when they feel unsafe. Kids with trauma history tend to act out in extreme ways, against themselves and others. So the foster rules are not meant to be about keeping children as prisoners. They’re intended to teach children to learn how to trust adults again and how to keep themselves safe and believe that they’re worthy of love. And that adults WILL keep them safe until they can do so themselves.

    But the system is ridiculously broken, so some kids get placed in unsafe placements and/or moved repeatedly, and the downward cycle continues.

  81. Warren November 2, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    “So I think the foster mom may have showed poor judgment in leaving the child alone (would need more info about length of fostering, nature of trauma, etc.), especially if she didn’t tell the kid where she was going or when she’d be back. And especially if the child didn’t know the kids she was playing with.”
    Your words Molly. That horse is looking more like a jackass.

    You are judging this lady on assumptions, and fantasy. You do not know her, or the kid, and therefore should not be passing judgement. Secondly, if you learn to read, the report states the girl told the police where her foster mom sits, and that she went home to put the groceries away. Last but not least, she knew the kids well enough to be playing happily.

    Maybe you are not on that horse, just have your head stuck somewhere in the horse.

  82. Beth November 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    “The foster child aspect makes this different from a regular parenting situation.”

    BUT NO ONE KNEW THIS WAS A FOSTER CHILD. Do they wear signs? Is there some special identifying mark so that when a busybody sees a child playing happily at the park, it’s immediately obvious that THIS IS A FOSTER CHILD and thus it’s a whole different thing?

    I doubt it.