Children in care with biological family

Common wisdom demands that children should be placed in care of their biological family before seeking out other families.

Over the last couple of weeks I've come across more and more abuse cases involving biological family members children were placed in care of. A quick scan of our abuse cases archive revealed that the following cases involved biological family members, most of them aunts. 


Re-defining "safety"

When I was a nurse, working on the floor, it was my job and duty to assess not only the patient in my care, but assess the patient's family for discharge needs.  There's a reason why we had to do this.... the reason was simple.... if the patient was being sent-home with new medications or new treatment instructions, it was the nurse's responsibility to make sure that patient had the full understanding and ability to continue with prescribed treatment/therapy OR the patient had a responsible person readily available for whatever assistance that patient needed for long-term recovery.  [This was part of "discharge planning", and in simple terms, the goal was not to see the patient in the hospital with the same condition, for the same reason, again.]

Most of my cases involved chronically ill patients, with a high percentage of patients being either confused, elderly, or both.  Upon admission it had to be documented if the person lived alone, with family/spouse, or in a nursing-home.  In the situations where suitable discharge placement was questionable, our staff Social Workers would be called so they could find appropriate care and assistance for the patient who needed it.

I cannot tell you how many times we had repeat-people on our floor.  In some cases, the patient's return was due to complications commonly seen in certain progressive conditions or chronic diseases.  In many cases, the problem with the returning patient was due to neglect.  I could never understand why someone would let another person deteriorate... it's simply not in my mind to allow that to happen.  I stopped being amazed by what people would and would not do for another person.

There is a time "family is best"; there is a time anyone but family is better for the person in need of recovery.

EACH time that decision is made by a professional, it MUST be taken seriously.

Now, realistically, for the sake of conversation, in the cases where a child is abused/neglected by biologic family members, aren't there red flags saying something is askew with the ENTIRE family?  (Isn't this the way trained-professionals are supposed to think?) In other words, how many of the families featured in the above listed cases were thoroughly investigated by social workers, in the first place?  How many followed certain rules and protocols without doing much thinking?  [Hell, if I had been removed from my adoptive parents, I can't say I would have wanted to live with "relatives", simply because they were part of my Aparents family!]

Personally, I don't believe the family preservation movement is best in all cases, especially if serious family dysfunction crosses generations and infects many different family members.  

Any thoughts on what's to blame for poor child safety in child placement services?  Is it really money, or is it people just don't care about other people?

Pound Pup Legacy