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View Full Version : Do foster children move to different cities in the same state?



Psychorase
12-05-2015, 07:55 AM
My deuteragonist is a twelve-year-old foster kid in Montana. I drew up a plan that involved him being born in Missoula and moved around the state before ending up in Bozeman, them promptly realized I had no idea how realistic that is. Does that happen regularly? Not regularly but enough that a character with that backstory won't make me look like I have no idea what I'm talking about?

MDSchafer
12-05-2015, 05:42 PM
Yep, happens all the time.

Pyekett
12-05-2015, 08:47 PM
It's more likely than staying in one place, actually.

Psychorase
12-05-2015, 09:31 PM
Awesome. Thanks for the confirmation!

Leading on from there: How likely is it that most of their homes will be in different cities from each other? Particularly given this is a small state.

WeaselFire
12-05-2015, 11:35 PM
Leading on from there: How likely is it that most of their homes will be in different cities from each other? Particularly given this is a small state.

It's unfortunate, but foster homes are not determined by geography or convenience to the children, they are determined by availability. If you have a five-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy, brother and sister, then the first choice is a home that can house both together. In many areas, that doesn't happen and they go to different foster homes, the homes available may only have room for one, may not take children over ten or the like.

In a state like Texas, Florida, California, etc. there may not be a home available in the current city/county at the time it's needed. Then the child goes to the best home option elsewhere in the state. It could be they live in Orlando and a home is available in Tampa. Then something changes in that home and they need to move, and the next is available in Miami. Often, the child grows too old or has too many special needs to even find an adequate home, in which case they end up in your basic orphanage. Worst of all options.

Write it how you need and it will be believable.

Jeff

Orianna2000
12-07-2015, 10:54 PM
I didn't know it was common for foster kids to be sent to other cities. All the foster kids we received were from our area. However, when we moved to another city three hours away, we were given special permission to take our two foster babies with us. One we took because my parents were in the process of adopting her. The other, because he was sick with a rare disorder and had some major special needs, and it would have been very difficult to find a family willing and able to care for him. So, we dragged the poor kid along with us when we moved.

I say "poor kid" because shortly after moving, my parents' house got hit by lightning and caught fire. We had to run outside with the foster babies (toddlers, really) and wait for the fire department while the house burned down. Then all seven of us (Mom, Dad, my brother, my fiance, myself, and both toddlers) were crowded into a small apartment while the house was being repaired. It wasn't a pleasant summer, to say the least. It turned out for the best, though. Not long after that, the little guy was adopted by a family down the street. They had several special needs kids, so he fit right in.

Anberlin
12-09-2015, 11:16 PM
My parents have gotten kids from over a hundred miles away. It all depends on the availability of homes where they are. They will will try to place the child as close to their original city as possible, especially if the parents get visitation.

Fruitbat
12-10-2015, 12:50 AM
CPS units are arranged by county and their standard way is to work within their home county with fostercare and adoptions (it's extra work on their part to go outside their county and have to work with another county, and the other counties have their own work to do so it's extra work for them, too). However, if there's a reason, they'll certainly work with other counties. For example, if no appropriate placement is available in their county. Sometimes they prefer placing a child out of the county, for the child's safety. For example, if criminal proceedings are going on against the parents or the parents aren't trusted not to harass the foster parents, or for some other reason it would be a terrible idea for the child and parent to run into each other. Another reason would be if a relative in another county, state, or even country agrees to take the child in and checks out okay. Then, say that placement disrupts (which in not uncommon). If the case has been transferred to the child's new county of residence, it's possible the child would return to care in the new county.

For story purposes, I think you could probably just have it happen and not bother with learning all the technicalities, it's likely enough to have reasons to occur that I doubt any reader would screech "It doesn't go that way!" Because, as above, it certainly could go that way. I could easily see reading a story where the child is then sent to another city and all that would be mentioned would be maybe a scene where the placement disrupts, with no explanation of CPS's behind-the-scenes decision-making.

Also, a note on another post below. In the US the term "group home" is used, not "orphanage." Plenty of people call them that anyway, informally, but just so you don't get a reader yelling that that's incorrect. And yes, teenagers are hard to place and most often do go to group homes although they'd be sent to a regular family home if one was available.

Another thing, for authenticity sake, foster parents and group homes need special training and certification (and get my remuneration) for kids who need higher levels of care than just more or less basic parenting. Those homes are fewer in number so that's another reason a child might be sent out of their home county for a placement. Serious medical needs and psychological needs or behavior problems, for example.

Orianna2000
12-10-2015, 04:06 AM
Another thing, for authenticity sake, foster parents and group homes need special training and certification (and get my remuneration) for kids who need higher levels of care than just more or less basic parenting. Those homes are fewer in number so that's another reason a child might be sent out of their home county for a placement. Serious medical needs and psychological needs or behavior problems, for example.

My parents had to get certified as foster parents every time we moved, and sometimes that involved training or attending some kind of workshop. But I don't recall them ever needing special training for taking "medically fragile" infants. They usually only accepted babies that were born premature, or addicted to drugs, or with some kind of medical problem that regular foster parents weren't qualified to handle. They got paid more or less, depending on the child's exact needs. A preemie on oxygen and a heart monitor, with a feeding tube, would pay a lot more than a healthy baby, because they needed a lot more care.

My parents only accepted "medically fragile" infants, babies that were born premature, or addicted to cocaine, or had some kind of medical problems. I think two years old was the oldest they took, unless it was special circumstances and/or short-term. For example, one time we had a foster baby who was around six months old, and her older sister, who was three or four, was eventually put into foster care, too. They asked us to take her, so the siblings wouldn't be separated. We did, even though we didn't usually take kids that old, but a few months later, both girls were sent back home--even though everyone knew the parents were abusive. They couldn't prove it, though. The older sister had been sexually molested, too, but she wouldn't say who'd done it, so they couldn't prosecute anyone. If I recall correctly, the parents gave the baby back into foster care after a few weeks, saying she'd "been spoiled" and wouldn't stop crying. Then, they left the state with the older girl, in order to avoid having her removed from their custody again. The baby was eventually adopted by another family.

Fruitbat
12-10-2015, 04:41 AM
It may vary by time and place but ten years ago or so when I was in it (foster parent and MSW), in my state you had to get special additional licensing for any but "Level 1 and 2 kids," who were pretty much regular kids, with minor problems only. You had to have special additional training and licensing for the threes and fours and the higher pay due to their more extensive needs.