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dascmom
06-03-2013, 10:38 PM
My story is set in NH. A 17-year-old boy and his three younger sisters (12, 10, and 9) are removed from an unfit home. The older boy has been physically abused by the stepfather who, until this point, has not been violent with his biological daughters. The mother of all the children is deemed psychologically unfit to care for children at the present time.

I am going to have them removed on an "emergency basis" from the home. The girls will go to live with a relative, where they will remain even as their mother receives psychiatric care. The 17-year-old is where my problem lies. Would he likely go to a group home? I would like him to go temporarily to a group home but to be placed with an adult married couple where he is treated very well until he graduates high school, and turns 18 (summer birthday).

Can anyone tell me how likely/possible it is for a 17-year-old boy to be placed as a foster child for such a short time?
Are their couples who prefer to work on a short-term basis with older teens who are making their transition into adulthood?

My other question, at this point, is if children are removed from a home, and they do not desire to keep in contact with anyone from the town they previously lived in (my 17 yo wants a fresh start in his new town/home), can it be kept totally confidential as to where he has been placed. I would like to have a friend from his hometown search for him- by asking questions at school, the police department, Child Protective Services- is this friend entitled to any answers? I wondered how this would be handled. Would it be any different if the friend got his parent involved in trying to find this boy.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

jclarkdawe
06-03-2013, 11:27 PM
Understand that any answers on NH are changing rapidly. As the budgets change and the numbers move around in the budget, the process is changing. The number of CHINS (child in need of services) went down 90% two years ago as the result of the budget. It's proposed to increase the budget, but with the lack of a casino and a senate that says no new taxes, I don't know where they're going to get the money from. So the answer to this is going to be changing.


My story is set in NH. A 17-year-old boy and his three younger sisters (12, 10, and 9) are removed from an unfit home. The older boy has been physically abused by the stepfather who, until this point, has not been violent with his biological daughters. The mother of all the children is deemed psychologically unfit to care for children at the present time. Don't get all technical and fancy here. Mom believes the sun shines out of stepfather's butt and can't believe he did anything wrong. That's all you need. Even if stepfather is enjoying one of the county Hilton's there's no judge that would keep the kids with mom in this type of situation.

Further, remember that the boy is a witness and the prosecutor wants to limit mom's ability to tamper with their witness.

I am going to have them removed on an "emergency basis" from the home. The girls will go to live with a relative, where they will remain even as their mother receives psychiatric care. Why can't the boy go? DCYF is going to put a lot of pressure on the relatives. The 17-year-old is where my problem lies. Would he likely go to a group home? Not if there is any possible way for the State to avoid this. It's all about the money. They'd be asking his friends' parents and teachers. I would like him to go temporarily to a group home but to be placed with an adult married couple where he is treated very well until he graduates high school, and turns 18 (summer birthday). I'd skip the group home, unless it is absolutely vital for your plot. Have the DCYF worker know the couple (not unusual) and contact them. The workers tend to keep track of these people.

Can anyone tell me how likely/possible it is for a 17-year-old boy to be placed as a foster child for such a short time? It's possible, but not likely. Money is the issue more then anything else. Lots of resources for a kid who isn't going to be in the system for very long.
Are their couples who prefer to work on a short-term basis with older teens who are making their transition into adulthood? Sure.

My other question, at this point, is if children are removed from a home, and they do not desire to keep in contact with anyone from the town they previously lived in (my 17 yo wants a fresh start in his new town/home), can it be kept totally confidential as to where he has been placed. I can't imagine a teen being able to pull it off, but sure. Most kids will talk in their schools. I would like to have a friend from his hometown search for him- by asking questions at school, the police department, Child Protective Services- is this friend entitled to any answers? If anyone answers, they would be breaking the law. I'd be searching on Facebook myself. I wondered how this would be handled. Would it be any different if the friend got his parent involved in trying to find this boy. No. Placement is confidential.

That being said, there is a very limited number of high schools in New Hampshire, a bit over a hundred. And through athletics and other competitions, the kids have some level of contact between the different schools. Kids that are in trouble especially seem to have a network that the grownups don't quite understand (I sure don't).

Any thoughts? Thanks.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

MythMonger
06-03-2013, 11:27 PM
I am going to have them removed on an "emergency basis" from the home. The girls will go to live with a relative, where they will remain even as their mother receives psychiatric care. The 17-year-old is where my problem lies. Would he likely go to a group home?

There's a good chance he would be removed from people that have any relationship with his stepfather, so I'd think a group home would be a good option.




I would like him to go temporarily to a group home but to be placed with an adult married couple where he is treated very well until he graduates high school, and turns 18 (summer birthday).

Can anyone tell me how likely/possible it is for a 17-year-old boy to be placed as a foster child for such a short time?
Are their couples who prefer to work on a short-term basis with older teens who are making their transition into adulthood?Not very likely, but certainly possible. I know a couple who was seeking to adopt an older child through foster care just so they could go on extensive travels with them. Fostering a 17 year old boy bucks a lot of trends, though. Girls seem to be preferred above boys, younger children over older children, etc. Racial considerations would also be a factor.

But none of that should be relevant to your story. Just give the couple a reason they want to foster the child, and go with it. I'll even give you one: the couple lost a boy who would've been 17 years old now, and they'd like to attend what would've been his graduation.



My other question, at this point, is if children are removed from a home, and they do not desire to keep in contact with anyone from the town they previously lived in (my 17 yo wants a fresh start in his new town/home), can it be kept totally confidential as to where he has been placed. I would like to have a friend from his hometown search for him- by asking questions at school, the police department, Child Protective Services- is this friend entitled to any answers? I wondered how this would be handled. Would it be any different if the friend got his parent involved in trying to find this boy.If the child is considered to be in danger, they'd try and keep his location a secret. There are holes in every system, though, especially when it comes to social services. But if it's just a friend that's trying to find him, not a family member, I'd say this friend has absolutely no legal standing to ask for his whereabouts and that the friend's request would most likely be dismissed out of hand.

dascmom
06-04-2013, 01:30 AM
Thanks. These answers are very helpful.

I hadn't thought of the aspect of if the 17 yo played sports on a different town's team he would be out there in social media. How likely do you think it would be if the two towns were in different conferences that baseball players from hometown would become aware of 17 yo playing baseball in another area? Maybe the 17 yo could play JV- or on a town team- instead. He hadn't been able to play in high school for the first three years due to the chaos in his life and I want him to be able to play when he is in his foster home. Are there rules about athletes arriving in a town in January as a foster child and playing a varsity sport in March?

I like the idea of the case worker knowing a couple who would be a perfect fit to foster my character, too.

jclarkdawe
06-04-2013, 05:15 AM
I don't know how many different levels there are in New Hampshire high school sports. The size of the school is what determines what league a school plays in. There's no reason why a transfer student can't play immediately on a team, unless the student transfers for sports reasons. In this case there would be no issue.

Biggest problem is a junior or senior is that not having played in high school might not be up to the caliber he needs to be. I'd think about a sport like track and field where a lot of schools let everybody compete. Problem with track and field for you is that they are usually meets with a lot of schools getting together.

Mainly I was pointing out sports as one way in which kids from different schools communicate.

Realize that his new high school are going to have some people who are aware of where he is from. The principal, probably assistant principal, guidance counselor will definitely have to know so that he can be placed in the appropriate classes. Kids are going to be asking where he's from and he's going to need an answer. If he's a senior, these questions are going to be stronger. There's fitting into the yearbook. If he's going into sports, the coach is going to want to know who has been coaching him.

For example, he's going to be in counseling. Kids are going to see him going to the counselor. They'll want to know what's up.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe