View Full Version : question about rights of child in foster care

04-21-2014, 11:13 AM
If a 14 year old child is placed in foster care because she was abused (not sexually-physically) by her uncle in whose custody she is in (mother in jail), does she have the right to refuse to see her adult sibling who lived with the victim and her uncle at the time of the assault?

Any help would be great!!
Thank you

04-21-2014, 11:30 AM
The foster kids I've worked with could only have visits with family members who were approved by the caseworker and caseworker's supervisor. A teenager would be consulted about this. They usually try to find another family member for the child to stay with. So, if this adult sibling wanted to take the girl in and the girl objected, they might want to know why. But, especially if it was just visiting and no interest in providing a home for her, I can't imagine they'd force her to visit a relative who she didn't want to see.

04-21-2014, 03:23 PM
You didn't mention what country this is in; different nations have differing rules, obviously. But this is what I remember from UK experience...

First of all, it all depends on who currently has parental control over the kid - if she's been put under a care order, this means that Social Services are. If she hasn't, but her usual guardian is deemed unable to exercise that function, officials will often look to a 'responsible relative' (adult sibling, grandparents etc). As you mentioned her being knocked about by an uncle, it sounds like they'd probably apply for a care order - though might just shunt her to another relative (relatives don't need to be paid to care for 'em - Social Workers are often pressed hard from above to always find the 'cheapest' option... with some hideous results.)

Guidelines say that social should 'listen' to the wishes of the child, but aren't bound by them, told to take the emotional maturity and age of the kid into account when deciding something - so at 14, she would be listened to, at least to some extent. Can't remember the exact wording of such, but it is written in such a way that social can ignore the kid if they don't like the answer.

In your case, I can't see what Social could gain from forcing the kid to meet their sibling, so they wouldn't force it. Their Social Worker might try to coerce the kid if they believed it was the 'right' thing to do, but that's it. However, if they still think the uncle would be a good guardian, they might see the sibling as a 'mediator' between the two so the kid could go and live back at the uncle's again.

Naturally, what's written down and really happens is two things altogether. She might not have an assigned Social Worker; using the duty or (god forbid) a supply one instead. The worker might be incompetant, lazy or is being ridden hard by their manager to fulfill targets on 'keeping the customers in contact with siblings'. But experience unfortuantly tells me that Social are usually crap at keeping the kids in contact with relatives that they do want to see, let alone ones they don't.

04-21-2014, 11:54 PM
Thanks Fruitbat and KarmaPolice. These answers help a lot. The (U.S.) character is a 14 year-old-girl who is currently living with her uncle and her 18 year-old-brother, as her mother is in jail and her father is out of the picture. After she is beaten by the uncle, she holds her brother responsible for what happened to her. Although he is not technically to blame, he did know there was violence in the home and never reported it. However the violence had been mainly directed at him to that point. So, once she is in a safe place, she chooses to blame her brother and does not want to see him.