We have all been shocked by the murder of 12-year-old Queensland Schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer, by her foster father.
Predictably and rightly, there have been many calls for a review into the Foster Care system in Queensland, and possibly across the nation. Totally support this.
Apparently little Tiahleigh had asked for help from the “system” and had said she didn’t want to return to her Foster family….But these comments were sadly dismissed as lies.
So a review is in order.
But I hope the review is far more reaching than I suspect it will be. I would like a review into the way the entire system operates.
I regularly pass billboard ads asking for more foster carers and there is clearly a need. Which I suspect as social ills like the ice epidemic continue to grow, the need for foster parents will only increase.
The need for children to be placed into a safe family setting for short, medium or longer term when they have been in an unsafe environment is of utmost importance for the health of the child. And for this reason I support Foster Parenting.
But let me say something controversial.
I would never be a foster parent.
Why you ask? Well I have seen the way the “system” treats foster parents. As the Senior Pastor of Nowra City Church for 15 years, I witnessed firsthand multiple family’s insane frustration with the organisations they fostered through. Here are a couple of observations:
- Each Foster Care provider organisation seems to assumes that the Foster Family are complete idiots who have no idea how to raise and care for children….even though every family had multiple children themselves. I so could share specific stories here but for the sake of protecting the people involved I will be general.
- Each Foster Care provider organisation seemed to be completely insensitive to the emotional ties that a child would develop for their foster family and instead capitulated to the Policies and Procedures manual, seemingly even to the detriment of the child. My conclusion is that robots run these organisations and worship the Policies and Procedures manuals as if they are Holy Text. Reality is that looking after kids never works according to a manual…..Sometimes these case managers need to use their brains and their emotional intelligence. May I suggest these organisations should be run by people who have raised children themselves…not 20 something Child Psychology graduates whose biggest exposure to a child is walking past one at the local McDonalds.
- Each Foster Care provider organisation seemingly specialized in making life hard for the foster family. I can’t begin to tell you the number of couples I have had in my office in tears from the way they are being treated by their Foster organisation.
There are more points….but I think I have made my point. Foster Carers in the main are awesome. Foster Carers provide a much needed service to our children in need. But the Foster Carer Organisations and the system they run under needs a serious serious review.
I understand that this is a negative blog and may actually cause people who are thinking of becoming foster carers to rethink their decision. But I am also aware that people who are currently fostering are often too afraid to say anything for fear of losing the children they foster. So I am saying it and calling for a far reaching review of the Foster Care System.
Anyway, that’s what I think.
Ps Peter Pilt