Guardians could be breaking law on private fostering

By Richard Vernalls
March 22, 2011

PEOPLE who look after their friends’ children may be breaking the law if they do not tell care officials.

If a young person stays with anyone other than their parents, close relatives or parental guardian for 28 days or more then Worcestershire County Council must be told where they will be staying.

Despite private fostering often being an informal arrangement, parents and carers are required by law to notify the county council of where the child or young person is going to live.

The rules apply to anyone aged 16 or under (18 if disabled) and includes people such as teenagers who are living at a friend’s home because of problems at their own home, or exchange students from abroad.

There is no exact figure of how many children are privately fostered but in 2001 the Department of Health estimated there could be as many as 10,000 in England and Wales.

It is feared some of these ‘invisible’ children could be at risk of abuse or become victims of trafficking.

In 2010, County Hall was given 34 notifications of fostering arrangements.

The British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) and the county council are teaming up to raise awareness in the Somebody Else’s Child campaign about the responsibilities of parents who are often unaware they may be breaking the law. Councillor Liz Eyre, the council’s children and young people chief, said: “It’s vital we are notified of these private arrangements before they take place so we are able to ensure that children being privately fostered are being properly cared for.

“Everybody in Worcestershire has a role to play in keeping our children safe whether they are a teacher, youth worker or neighbour.

“Let us know immediately about a child who is going to be or is being privately fostered so we can make sure they are being kept safe.”

Families offering a private fostering arrangement or anyone who believes they are aware of a private fostering arrangement should call the county council on 0845 607 2000 or e-mail childrensservices@worcestershire.gov.uk For more details visit worcestershire.gov.uk/privatefostering or privatefostering.org.uk

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The ol' "Dump and Run" routine?

In America, a similar scheme operates... parent dumps, then runs... only the children being dumped are adopted, and they are put in so-called theraputic foster homes, because there is something wrong with them, (the problem-child found in-care), not the parents who trusted the promises made by members within the adoption industry.  [Yes, each and every AP is given all the facts needed to parent an adoptable child, properly.  I have a bridge to sell, too, so please contact me, ASAP.]

The couple, whose trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 30, are also charged with child trafficking for moving a girl to Arizona without permission from state child-welfare officials.

The Schmitzes strongly deny the charges, which stemmed from complaints by the children and nurses who worked in their house. "The children were our entire life. They were our everything," Debra Schmitz says.

What they don't deny, and what the trial may help spotlight, is their role in a largely unknown aspect of the nation's beleaguered child-welfare system: an underground network of families that takes in children others do not want. Some families do so legally, and eventually adopt the children, but others may violate child-welfare laws by failing to notify authorities, according to interviews by USA TODAY with families, officials and child-welfare experts. (Related story: No state fully compliant with welfare)

"There are homes all across the United States that transfer kids from one place to another. No one's keeping tabs on this. ... These kids just come and go," says Sheriff Joe Shepard of Gibson County in rural northwest Tennessee, where the Schmitzes live.

[From:  Underground network moves children from home to home ]

Now, these children aren't "trafficked", in the traditional sense, (as the original report from the UK suggests/fears). These kids with health/behavior problems are, as the almost infamous Federici claims, "not the merchandise they bought", so adoptive parents are 'forced'(?) to look for the cheapest and fastest placement, without the stigma that goes with 'selling' or abandoning them on the streets. 

Keep in mind, the cheapest and fastest route does not necessarily have to be all that safe, or in the best interest of the child.

And so a business plan family service is created, and promoted, underground.  But first, let's look at the options and alternatives a desperate and good loving parent has, when faced with the unwanted demon-seed.

What placement/treatment options does the parent with an adopted out-of-control child have?

One could put the disobedient child in a dog crate, for wetting the bed too many times.

One could seal the mouth shut (with duct tape) for making too much noise.

One could medicate, to calm the child down.  [A prefered treatment, for many, since it's cheaper than therapy.]

Or if one has the money, the trouble-making troubled special adopted child can be sent to a RTC, (Residential Treatment Center), or "Boarding schools", (as they like to call them in certain circles)  where all sorts of good stuff can happen.  [Yes, that was sarcasm.]

OR, as luck would have it... a desperate parent can do the "dump and run" routine Federici (and friends, such as Dr. Gregory Keck, Heather Forbes, Nancy Thomas, Dr. Daniel Hughes, Dr. David Ziegler, Dr. Arthur Becker - Wiedeman and a host of others ) mention in the ever-growing underground foster-therapy groups.  [Not a bad deal, since Therapeutic Foster Care can bring in a decent monthly income, for some.]

Therapeautic Foster care is, in-theory, supposed to keep the "institution", (and all the harms that go with institutional-living), out of the famly/home-centered care-system.

Such care is provided as an alternative to incarceration, hospitalization, or different forms of group and residential treatment for children and adolescents with a history of chronic antisocial behavior, delinquency, or emotional disturbance. This intervention is also used to address multiple public health goals for various juvenile populations, including children with physical health problems (e.g., acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, cerebral palsy, deafness, and other disabilities) (2).

Participants in therapeutic foster care are placed for several months in foster families (one to two participants per family) whose members are trained and compensated for their work in providing a structured environment in which participants can learn social and emotional skills (e.g., emotional self-awareness, anger management, and conflict resolution). In certain programs, participants are separated from their usual peer environment and closely supervised in school, at home, and in the community. These programs might include psychological therapy for participants and for members of their biologic families to improve family functioning if and when youths are able to return to their homes.

[Fom:  Therapeutic Foster Care for the Prevention of Violence ]

It's interesting to note the increase in numbers related to TFC in the USA:

(This amendment adds language directing the State Executive Council (SEC) to authorize guidelines for better utilization of therapeutic foster care services for children in foster care with a focus on rural areas and areas with few services providers. The SEC is required to direct the Office of Comprehensive Services to work with stakeholders to develop these guidelines. The cost of therapeutic foster care services have increased by 38 percent from 2007 to 2010. The average per child cost has increased by 35 percent, even though the number of children receiving these services has declined by about eight percent. Currently about 36 percent of children in foster care receive therapeutic foster care, while nationally only about 11 percent of children in foster care receive these services).

[From:  Budget Amendments Regarding Therapeutic Foster Care- 2/11/11 ]

So, let me get back to "I can't believe it's not-child trafficking because it's some type of odd parent-trade" system that's taking place in America, as it does operate for those lucky enough to be associated with the friendly Federici name.

In America, we have Nancy Thomas, a self-published author who once worked as a dog groomer.  She has taken her life-experience, and turned it into a nice career for herself.  [Kudos to the ambitious American who sees an opportunity and takes it.]   However, she has no professional license to practice what she preaches or teaches. 

Think about this.

How many seek the advice of untrained, unlicensed professionals for parenting advice?

Many, actually.  (But many of these lay-people are not trying to sell their methods to health-care providers and teachers, or charging fees to attend 2-day seminar events).

Instead, many adoptive parents seek the wisdom of respected friends/family members, or those who teach and preach locally -- like in their own church-communities.

Faith Allen is a fine example, as she received help from a pastor in her church. Lucky for Faith, this pastor was more than willing to make home-visits.

Around the time of the adoption hearings Faith Allen was being counseled by Charles Brown, a pastor of Potter's House Ministry, a predominantly black evangelical church in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. During one of these counseling sessions Faith Allen was supposedly brought under hypnosis during which Brown fondled and sexually touched her. Faith Allen decided to video tape the next session and four months later took the evidence to the police.

[From:  Masha Allen and the faith-based agenda ]

The Schatz couple, is another good example of adoptive parents who allegedly sought and used the "free advice" offered by members in their church.  In fact,  the Pearls wisdom and techniques used to train stubborn children in parenting puts a new twist to the classic spare the rod, and dare to discipline routine seen in many fundamentally faithful families .

Prosecutors say parents used quarter inch plastic tubing to beat their seven-year-old adopted daughter to death, CBS station KOVR-TV reports. Apparently, they got the idea from a fundamentalist based Christian group, which promotes using this as a way of training children to be obedient.

[From:  DA: Parents Killed Daughter With 'Religious Whips' ]

Well, not everyone belongs to a church. Thank someone (the government?) for private non-denominational intervention.

In America, land of free-enterprise, we now have parent-teachers, who have no license or degree to practice therapy or teach child/health educators, but still feel entitled  to charge (and receive) money from those who wish to learn the highly successful ways of a praised published author.

Enter former dog-groomer/modern miracle-worker/dog-child whisperer extraordinaire, Nancy Thomas - who, BTW, will be visiting/teaching in England in November,  (2011) and in Russia in Februrary, (2012),  with, (I'm guessing), Federici's (The Emperor) support and blessing. 

To be fair, on paper, the teaching theory does indeed seem logical and reasonable:  children need boundaries and bad behaviors need to be controlled, (some behaviors exhibited by a child should never be tollerated or encouraged); last but not least, the "special needs" child does not learn or communicate like a normal healthy child learns or communicates. 

"Special needs" requires "special" training.   Some may see this process as brain re-wiring, or re-molding, but in essence, it's two or more people learning a mutually understood language/expression which fosters a sense of safety, and as a positive consequece, allows "room' for learning, understanding, and comprehension.

''Positive experiences that contradict a traumatized child's negative expectations are critical to helping the brain to readjust itself. For example, just saying to a child that you are sorry the event happened changes brain chemistry.''

Dr. Alexandra Cook, who directs Children's Services at the Trauma Center, also stressed that interpersonal experiences such as psychotherapy can change neurobiology. For instance, Cook began treating a girl she calls ''Sally'' when she was 5, right after her father had been sent to jail for sexually abusing her and the family had relocated to Massachusetts. Sally was prone to temper tantrums, and she was crying for three hours a day.

''I hypothesized that the abuse, plus the stress of testifying at her father's trial and the move had led to a cascade of chemical changes in her brain and body,'' Cook said. ''Her amygdala couldn't stop firing.''

To stabilize Sally, Cook helped her find constructive ways to discharge her overwhelming emotions. So, when Sally would run laps around the table in her office, Cook did not discourage her. Cook then suggested that Sally try ''messy painting,'' an activity involving splattering water colors on paper. After about four months of weekly sessions, Sally was much calmer and could move from stabilization to memory processing, the next phase of therapy.

Cook said she believes that the therapy improved the circuitry in Sally's brain because she never saw such acute distress again.

[From:  How child abuse and neglect damage the brain ]

Some licensed therapists have followed the teaching that "restraint techniques for therapeutic purposes" does work, to a degree, but for whatever personal reasons were behind the cessation of Holding Therapy in the clinical setting, the bottom line has been quite clear:  some practices are not worth preserving, if one wants to be a licensed therapist, and earn a decent living.

Other non-licensed individuals have found a way to work WITH a licensed professional, not afraid to promote therapies (like Holding Therapy) even though these unconventional practices seem to go against the recommendations made by scientists who got paid to study the effects of abuse on the brain.  [See: Child abuse in monkeys and The Scars That Won't Heal  ]

Unfortunately, some take the questionable back-road towards teaching respect and discipline to a child, and say a painful, humiliating, fear-provoking approach is both necessary and good for the child who needs to learn boundaries.

What's fascinating to me is this:  one can read how the same technique, (the use of pepper sauce to control a child, for instance), is used in a domestic situation, and yet the way in which a parent is treated or punished will depend on who defines the words "torture" or "reasonable".  One lawyer can say the adoptive mother's "loving choice" may be questioned as an unorthodox style of discipline, it doesn’t rise to the level of child abuse under the statute,”  while another lawyer will claim the birth mother should be charged of endangering the welfare of a child because she was present for the abuse but didn't prevent it. 

If the person teaching parents how to train or re-condition a child says using painful stimuli to produce a change in behavior is good, one can only imagine how many parents are going to take it upon themselves to believe, "If one (torture technique - like restraint, humilation, and deprivation) is good, then 3 will be even better".

Furthermore, if a parent is receiving adoption subsidy payments, and those payments are going towards pain-inducing treatments/therapies, I would like to think - or hope - the instructor/therapy used by a "desperate" parent to train/educate the wild child be named, AND will be investigated and monitored, so no significant harm (like severe injury or death of the child being "treated") results.  [See:  PPL's list of torture cases and  forced confinement cases.  ]

If you ask me, I think "underground" activity in foster-care/Adoptionland has a whole new meaning now... and as far as I'm concerned, that's quite scary, for many reasons.

Uh huh

"If you ask me, I think "underground" activity in foster-care/Adoptionland has a whole new meaning now... and as far as I'm concerned, that's quite scary, for many reasons."

I am 100% with you. There *are* kindly people out there who help struggling families out and who are safe and do not practice all of this quakery. However, I have learned they are very much in the minority. There is money to be made off of these kids and even when they don't get subsidies and payments, taking in kids satisfies their need to collect and hoard children (or worse...but I don't want to go there), which in a way is even more frightening. 

For the AP with a very challenged child and few resources these so-called experienced therapeutic families may seem like a Godsend, but for the child it could mean a childhood of hell.

Pound Pup Legacy