1. UrbanBanshee
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    UrbanBanshee Member

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    Little details of Foster Care

    Discussion in 'Research' started by UrbanBanshee, Sep 27, 2012.

    I am looking for little details, and the things that Hollywood gets wrong about foster care. Just the small things that will make my story seem more 'real.' I have googled for info and have collected some, but now I'm looking for the smaller details.

    I do know that foster care is full of kids with either disabilities and/or emotional problems. I got that sort of info down. I'm looking more for 'inside' info.

    Like how many kids are typically in a foster home or how many can there be? Are the ages spread out or are the kids always about the same age? How about gender?

    What does Hollywood ALWAYS get wrong?

    What are some quirks/habits that kids can pick up in foster care?

    Does foster care change a lot between states?

    I would really appreciate anything else that would help me 'get it right.'
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    It depends on what angle your story is going to take. I could give details that could curl your hair. But I'm not sure
    what you're going for.

    Last I know it was four kids was the limit, any more and they were considered a group home. They don't generally
    mix genders anymore and the kids have to be relatively within a certain age bracket - ahome could accept 12-17 but
    not babies to 12. This is to stop alot of abusive between the children both sexual and physical. The
    teenagers are the hardest to place.

    Does Hollywood always get it wrong? I'm a little skewered on this. I knew of several families that fostered
    kids that were considered last chance homes. Last chance meant that if they couldn't get along
    with this family then they were going to be institionalized. The kids weren't easy to sympathize with,
    they'd become abusive, aggressive, mean-spirited, cynical, destructive, preditors, theives. I had
    empathy for them knowing where they came from - especially knowing 80 per cent of this kids never
    heard from their families - no birthday cards, no Christmas presents, not even a phone call. But like
    I said they were hard to like.

    The kids especially the ones that have been in the system long term know their rights. The
    foster parent cannot lay one hand on them, not even to escourt them out of room when an
    arguement breaks out. The foster parent cannot touch the child's allowance even if the
    child has stolen something in the home, or been destructive. A foster parent can give the child chores
    but he doesn't have to follow them as the fosterparent is not allowed to touch their belongings, take
    away a light bulb or remove a door - which shrinks down what you can do for punishment.
    Because the kids maynot have a lot of friends taking away visits with friends is moot, so is
    television rights as most kids don't invest much interest in tv. Phone rights weren't allowed
    to be taken away either, as they always had the right to call their worker. Most foster
    parents finding they can't discipline them usually give up and ask the social worker to
    remove them - this is why a lot of kids can have ten or more homes on their record.


    The tough ones manipulate things their way, make false accusations, everything becomes
    a foster-parents-against-them battle. The social worker usually plays it safe by taking the
    child's side ( it's her/his job ) sometimes this is good as the child needs someone on their
    side, sometimes it stems from a misguided ego and doesn't help the child.

    It's a terribly flawed system. The agency is usually out to make sure it doesn't get sued
    and the kids get lost in the shuffle. Good homes are rare, and often burn out after years
    of dealing with the same awful behavior.

    One of the quirks a kid can pick up in child care - When they start in a new home they
    go through something called the Honeymoon period. Two weeks or so of good behavior
    and getting along with the family and then - the honeymoon's over. Nobody knows
    quite what triggers it but they start testing rules, and arguing more freely. I suppose
    because they feel one-of-the-family. Another thing most children will drive a wedge
    between mom and dad. They're used to split homes and a married couple is confusing ( unnatural to
    them) they're used to arguments and will do their best to spark them between the
    husband and wife.
     
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  3. UrbanBanshee
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    UrbanBanshee Member

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    @peachalulu

    WOW!! Thanks, that is all exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for. Super informative and gives me some stuff to think about.

    My main character (a teenage girl) is in foster care, but the plot doesn't focus on it. It is more of a background/characterization element.
     

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