> No More Secrets And Lies: First and Last Foster Home – March 2008

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First and Last Foster Home – March 2008

By now I had become more vocal and more and more concerned that her workers weren't able to care for her. She had been moved ten times in the previous twelve months, and it was beginning to look like her placements were made with little or no effort to match the group home she was placed in with the behaviors she was exhibiting. These behaviors tended to largely be an inability on her part to adapt to the social policies of the places she was in — something that was difficult for us to understand at the time, but which would make more sense later on. I suggested we get her assessed and use the results of her assessment to place her in a home that was suited to her needs — something that hadn't been done yet, or so it seemed. Mary's previous placement at Prairie Lakes, while the longest of her placements, lasted only four months, and by March of 2008 she was moved again — this time to a foster home in Janesville.


I was optimistic about this placement because it meant she would be closer to her home and because we hadn't tried a foster home yet. I also thought she might be able to attend her older sister's high school graduation, which was only a few months away. But I was worried too. This was a drastic move for Mary — from one extreme to the other. She hadn't lived in any place that resembled a home for over a year, and a foster home meant an unprecedented amount of freedom for her.

Her mother and I met her social worker at the foster home which was on a farm a few miles outside of Janesville. She had Mary with her. We sat around the kitchen table while the foster mother told us about the types of kids she had previously worked with and about all the things she would be able to do with Mary. I didn't want to sugarcoat anything, and I made sure she knew the extent of Mary's behaviors — what she had been through so far. I got the sense, however, that her social worker didn't want me talking about these things, but I needed to know if this foster parent honestly believed she could take care of my child. I desperately wanted Mary to stop moving. But none of this mattered. Mary only lasted at this place about 12 days. There were numerous problems, including some mention of things going on at the school in Janesville, but I was never able to get the whole story on this. The night before she was kicked out, she left the house, headed into town, and was found later that evening in Janesville.

The next day she was taken back to the New Ulm Detention Center where she stayed for nine days, and then she was moved to an even worse kid-jail, the infamous Elmore Academy in Elmore, Minnesota. Elmore Academy had a reputation of being an extremely punitive jail for kids with a history of abusing children. Even judges would admit this. So much for attending her older sister's graduation.

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