Watch this video to learn about the law behind the foster care system.
Currently 30,000 children in LA County are in Foster Care.
“It's a challenging place to be for an adult; it's a devastating reality for a child. All they know is that their world has changed and they are powerless to stop it."
No One Wins
I've been practicing in the Dependency System in LA County since 2011 and the truth is...no one wins. No one is happy.
Parents aren't happy. Many parents feels slighted by the system. They feel as though they are talking but no one is listening. They feel helpless and powerless. They often feel betrayed, alone and falsely accused. Regardless of whether there is merit to their case, there is no question of the immeasurable pain that comes from being separated from your children and then left in the dark. It is a tricky system to navigate with ever shifting policies that often leave you at the mercy of challenging personalities. Unless the child is placed with family, the parent will not know where the child resides or who with and can go days without seeing the child until the court date.
Foster parents aren't happy. It cannot be said how great a service it is (for those involved for the right reasons) to take a child who needs a home into their own. The foster parent doesn't get a lot of warning and may not get much background or historical information on the child. Perhaps there are angry parents or relatives that may call their home. Perhaps the child acts out in frustration through aggression or self harm. Foster parents carry a tremendous weight that can never be sufficiently appreciated.
Social workers aren't happy. I don't have the stats but the turnover is high. They are like police without guns. They go into the dirtiest homes, the wrong side of town and engage with questionable people as their their safety hangs in the balance. They befriend and encourage the drunks and the addicts, stand toe to to with abusers and criminals and all they every get is criticism and shame. It's a lonely world.
Kids aren't happy. Maybe the home was dirty. Maybe mom or dad drank too much alcohol or fought too much. But it was home. It was mom and/or dad. It was the entire world and everything they knew, loved and sometimes feared. But it was home. Being removed from the only home you know to live with someone else, sometimes a stranger, is a huge stressor for kids. They may have to change schools and make new friends. It is easy to fall behind in their classes. Maybe they find out their parent doesn't care about them as much as they deserve. Maybe all they want is to go back home. It's a challenging place to be for an adult; it's a devastating reality for a child. All they know is that their world has changed and they are powerless to stop it.
It's a sad, lonely, broken and faulty system. But it's the system we have...for now.
This video details the legal reasons that give the court authority to open up a court case in the dependency system.