Question: Custody of 16yr.old and cannot do foster program

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by IowaMorningGlory, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. IowaMorningGlory

    IowaMorningGlory New Member

    Hello to everyone!:)

    I am in a dilemma and I will try to explain as briefly as I can.

    We have custody of a 16yr old boy. Legal custody as of August 11, 2006. Had lived with us for almost two years off and on before removed from his home.

    He cannot live with his mother, and cannot live with his father. We are not relatives of his so we need to take the foster care program which is 10wks long.

    The foster program is on monday nights from 5 until 9:30 and is an hour drive both ways. I cannot sit through lecture for 4 1/2hrs. nor can I tolerate 2hrs driving time. Not anymore anyway. Yes they would let me get up and move around, but from experience unless I can relax in my own chair at home, the pain and jumping do not cease. Also with the fibro fog I am not sure how much of the class I would retain or be able to participate since it has a lot of interaction. Also this is my husbands only day off, and he has had two back surgeries so he would have to get up and move around. Also, we tried this class once and my husband cannot tolerate the group atmosphere he becomes so anxious he becomes nauseated...no kidding..he literally makes himself sick.

    In a nutshell, we cannot take the class. If we do not take the class (Jake) can no longer live with us and would be placed in a different foster home. In Iowa the law clearly states that if the minor is not a relative they cannot remain in the home unless the parents are licensed foster parents.

    He is like a third son, we love him. We have two boys his age, they are together all the time. That was how he came to us in the first place. We have taken his grades from a 0.9 GPA to 2.8 GPA.

    We have talked with our boys about the reality of what will happen in the next couple weeks. Jake will be removed from our home. It will be like losing a son. I need to contact his lawyer, I need to contact social services, I need to contact his dad. I am putting it off. Just the thought right now makes me want to cry. I can't imagine his room empty, or giving him hugs everyday.

    I don't know if there is a question in here, other than how to deal with this..it is going to devastate Jake and our family. I feel like I am letting him down...his parents have already done that.

    Take care and Kitten Hugs,
    Blessed Be,
    Laurie
  2. Catseye

    Catseye Member

    Is it possible to get one of those camera accessories and be in the class via computer? They'll need one and you'll need one. They aren't that expensive at Radio Shack. The person who gives the class could maybe set it up over there and you would be able to watch class and participate; you'd hear them and they'd hear you.

    I'm sorry, it's all I can think of. Maybe they can make an exception based on medical problems?

    I wish you luck!

    karen
  3. Lendy5

    Lendy5 New Member

    Hi Laurie - I agree with the other poster, maybe there are some other options available. Being a mother to three children I can't begin to imagine what you are going through.

    I can offer my prayers that this situation be worked out immediately. Don't lose hope and I will keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep us posted as you find time.

    Wishing you many Blessings,
    Carolin
  4. boltchik

    boltchik New Member

    Do you have to treat it as a foster care situation? If his father was willing to sign over his parental rights and agrees with it, couldn't you just legally adopt him?
    My BIL just adopted a sixteen yr. old with the consent of the birth father. I don't know what the cost would be, but since he is already in your home, maybe just the filing fees and document fees? I don't know what the laws are in Iowa. Just a thought. Good luck, Kim :)
  5. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Dear Laurie, how wonderful for this young man that he's been able to live with you in your home for this time. I know that the lessons and memories you've given him will strengthen him the rest of his life. But facts are facts. This is one more good lesson you're teaching him.

    You didn't say whether or not this boy may be still living nearby - maybe you don't know - but if so, you can certainly continue the relationship. If not, there is email and as someone mentioned, cameras, so you can see one another frequently. And letters! We forget how wonderful it is to get a real letter than you can hold in your hand and save to read over and over.

    Bless you for your loving heart. I wish I'd known someone like you when I was growing up.

    Marta
  6. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    Hi. Have you attempted to talk to the people who run this program about your circumstances? maybe you could take the first 2 hours, and then leave. you would go to another class to get the last 2 hours of the first class????

    I'm just trying to think of some options.

    If this boy knows what is going on, this has to be devastating for him. It basically is saying that you don't care enough about him to do this. I know that there is a huge amount of physical pain involved in this. how many sessions would you have to attend?

    I don't know if anyone suggested remote camera or not?????

    I'd try to see if they ran more than one class so you could take just half of a session at a time, then take the other half of a session later that same week or the next week.

    I'd definitely talk to the people who run these programs to see what their suggestions are. They may have a solution that we haven't even thought of!
  7. IowaMorningGlory

    IowaMorningGlory New Member

    I wish there was a good solution. I am losing hope for that though.

    The foster program is through the state of Iowa and you can miss 3 classes, and there are no exceptions otherwise. There was another couple for the earlier classes in Aug., she became ill and had to be home, the state would not let them do it.

    In Iowa both parents have to be licensed. You cannot adopt here unless you are a licensed foster parent. The father has already given up his parental rights, and well the mother...she would never do it and Jake would do anything possible to not live with her.

    He does not know yet. We are waiting until the least possible moment to tell him, probably this weekend when my husband and I will both be home with Jake.

    I am scared, it is so hard. Tonight he sat with me reading a book he had brought home from school. He finished it and said he wished he had another in the series. So we went to the library and got it for him. He asked me if he could spend some time this summer with some friends and family in Minn. I told him we would have to wait till this summer and ask DHS. I watched him play with the cats and dogs (who he dearly loves). He is currently grounded, him and my youngest both. He takes it so well, he doesn't get mad at me (anymore) he respects why I did it and moves on.

    I do think maybe the camera is an option, if the state will allow. I don't know since it is supposed to be more of a role-playing teaching model. I am going to ask because that would be an excellent idea.

    Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts and ideas. I am so appreciative to have so many kind people to talk to on this board.

    Take care and Kitten Hugs,
    Blessed Be,
    Laurie
  8. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Please have Family Childrens foster trainer come and visit your home and explain this to her as you have to us.

    They have to work in the best interest of the child by law and I feel sure they would be willing to accomodate you some way. Many private agencies that may be closer will also train for free for foster care licence and you need to find out as one may be closer. Catholic Charities, SAS and others offer such courses. They may be willing for you to do a shortened version as the boy is already in your care or do a great deal of it at home or ask if they have a video course, or if the trainer would come and work wiht you.

    Please do not give up. This boy can talk for himself too and believe me there is no line of people wanting 16 year old foster sons so they are all lucky to have you and will know it.

    Love Annie Cromwell
  9. Lynna62

    Lynna62 New Member

    I don't have any advice to give, others here have sure given you some great ideas though. Just know that you will be in my prayers. Jake is a lucky boy and you are great people to take care of him like you do.

    I feel like Annie does, make some noise about this, there aren't people lined up wanting teenagers these days, I would think they could make this work out somehow.

    Best of luck to you all.
    Lynna
  10. Busyknitter2

    Busyknitter2 New Member

    I also want to add my heartfelt prayers to you, the young man and all of your family. You are wonderful people to take in this young man and care for him as one of your own.

    I know that every state has laws but I wish that they would think of what is best for this child. He actually has a family who loves and cares for him and is willing to continue to do so.

    You and yours will stay in my prayers. Please keep us posted on how things are.

    God bless; Pam
  11. larryh

    larryh New Member

    Laurie,

    I don't know a thing about the law, but I have a sister who does and I emailed your message on to her and asked if she has any ideas.

    If it were me and the state does not try to work with you I would make as much noise as possible. I would call radio, TV, news papers, congressmen. Anyone who might be able to help or to make the situation high profile. The down side would be your would have to tell your son what is going on before you make a public squawk. At sixteen he should be old enough to understand what is happening. He should also be old enough to appear in court and have a say in where he lives. I think a sixteen year old could ask to be treated as an adult (emancipated) by the court.

    If you need help with finding names of people to contact to make a big noisey fuss let me know. We live in the same state and I can help you gather names of people who might be able to help.

    Larry
  12. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    There's a few good suggestions posted already. I just had an idea. You may be FORCED to play your TRUMP CARD. And I have NO IDEA if this might be covered, but,,,The Americans with Disabilities Act covers a LOT of situations. Basically says that "they" must make "reasonable accomodations" for people with disabilities.

    I just fought a case for my aunt. Kept everything in email so it was in writing and didn't have to wait for snail mail, certified letters, etc. They were a Town SENIOR CENTER and thought they could throw their legal weight around. Well, I had to throw my own weight around and sited NUMEROUS Sec. and Articles, in defense, which was supported by law. They tried to say that legally they didn't have to abide by the law governing municipalities, because they were an independant organization. Well you DO,IF, you received Federal money to provide services, and they do, so, of course, won these services for her and others with similiar mobility issues. I will sleuth the American with Disabilities Act for you tomorrow and see if I can find anything at all. You have no idea how much I love a good fight.
    [This Message was Edited on 01/09/2007]
  13. IowaMorningGlory

    IowaMorningGlory New Member

    Thank you everyone, you have really motivated me. I appreciate that.

    Any information anyone can find out to help with this situation would be greatly appreciated. Anything at all, I am open to any and all information that may help. :)

    I talked with my husband and asked "Why not adoption". The court had said this was not an issue in court before because we would be doing the foster program and because Jake was 16. But since we are not taking the foster program I wonder if I talk with Jakes court appointed attorney if it would be an option. I know Jake and his dad would be fine with it, but maybe not his mom. I looked at Iowa code and best I could find we do not have to take the foster class to adopt someone over 14.

    I thank each and every one of you for all your concern. You have made me feel as if the situation may not be hopeless after all. For that I thank you with all my heart! :)

    Take care and Kitten Hugs,
    Blessed Be,
    Laurie
  14. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    I have NO IDEA on the laws regarding this, but what he files to become An Emincipated Minor? I don't know much about it, but one of my daughters' friends in high school did this and was "Emancipated".

    Just found this blurb about California (which I know you are not) . There IS HOPE! I would tell him sooner, than later, the obstacle you are facing, and that you are and will, continue to explore every possible legal avenue, that it is your desire for him to remain in your home. Even if this battle is lost in the courts, this will be a GREAT comfort to him his entire life. I will keep on sleuthing. (And praying !)
    _________________

    California
    In Californian law, the minor must be at least 14, be living apart from his/her parents, and be proven to have the means to support him/herself. An emancipated minor has the ability to legally sign for himself/herself, something a normal minor cannot do
  15. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    This is what I have to start you on (tactfully) demanding your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Go to their Website at: http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm

    In the yellow strip on the right, scroll down until you see STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS in Bold Black Print. Click on the first category, Title II Regulations. Then click on the ADA REGULATIONS FOR TITLE II. This brings you to a page headed DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Go down until you see:

    {35.150 Existing facilities.


    (a) General. A public entity shall operate each service, program, or activity so that the service, program, or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. This paragraph does not --


    (1) Necessarily require a public entity to make each of its existing facilities accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;


    (2) Require a public entity to take any action that would threaten or destroy the historic significance of an historic property; or


    (3) Require a public entity to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens. In those circumstances where personnel of the public entity believe that the proposed action would fundamentally alter the service, program, or activity or would result in undue financial and administrative burdens, a public entity has the burden of proving that compliance with {35.150(a) of this part would result in such alteration or burdens. The decision that compliance would result in such alteration or burdens must be made by the head of a public entity or his or her designee after considering all resources available for use in the funding and operation of the service, program, or activity, and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. If an action would result in such an alteration or such burdens, a public entity shall take any other action that would not result in such an alteration or such burdens but would nevertheless ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the benefits or services provided by the public entity.


    (b) Methods. (1) General. A public entity may comply with the requirements of this section through such means as redesign of equipment, reassignment of services to accessible buildings, assignment of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, delivery of services at alternate accessible sites, alteration of existing facilities and construction of new facilities, use of accessible rolling stock or other conveyances, or any other methods that result in making its services, programs, or activities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. A public entity is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities where other methods are effective in achieving compliance with this section. A public entity, in making alterations to existing buildings, shall meet the accessibility requirements of {35.151. In choosing among available methods for meeting the requirements of this section, a public entity shall give priority to those methods that offer services, programs, and activities to qualified individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate.


    (2) Historic preservation programs. In meeting the requirements of {35.150(a) in historic preservation programs, a public entity shall give priority to methods that provide physical access to individuals with disabilities. In cases where a physical alteration to an historic property is not required because of paragraph (a)(2) or (a)(3) of this section, alternative methods of achieving program accessibility include --

    (i) Using audio-visual materials and devices to depict those portions of an historic property that cannot otherwise be made accessible;


    (ii) Assigning persons to guide individuals with handicaps into or through portions of historic properties that cannot otherwise be made accessible; or


    (iii) Adopting other innovative methods.


    (c) Time period for compliance. Where structural changes in facilities are undertaken to comply with the obligations established under this section, such changes shall be made within three years of the effective date of this part, but in any event as expeditiously as possible.


    (d) Transition plan. (1) In the event that structural changes to facilities will be undertaken to achieve program accessibility, a public entity that employs 50 or more persons shall develop, within six months of the effective date of this part, a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. A public entity shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate in the development of the transition plan by submitting comments. A copy of the transition plan shall be made available for public inspection.


    (2) If a public entity has responsibility or authority over streets, roads, or walkways, its transition plan shall include a schedule for providing curb ramps or other sloped areas where pedestrian walks cross curbs, giving priority to walkways serving entities covered by the Act, including State and local government offices and facilities, transportation, places of public accommodation, and employers, followed by walkways serving other areas.


    (3) The plan shall, at a minimum --


    (i) Identify physical obstacles in the public entity's facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with disabilities;


    (ii) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;


    (iii) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and

    (iv) Indicate the official responsible for implementation of the plan.


    (4) If a public entity has already complied with the transition plan requirement of a Federal agency regulation implementing section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, then the requirements of this paragraph shall apply only to those policies and practices that were not included in the previous transition plan.
    _____________________________________________________

    I would draft an E-mail, much quicker than snail mail, and still leaves a paper trail, as opposed to a phone call.

    Dear (Director of Agency, or Social Services Commissioner)

    I have been providing care for John Doe, in my home since XYZ date. I have been advised by (whomever) that I must complete the Foster Care Training program and become Certified as Foster Parents, in order to continue caring for John Doe. As I am disabled with (CFIDS/Fibro, or whatever), it would be impossible for me to attend (XYZ dates, and times) due to several disabling symptoms associated with my illness. (Do NOT start listing them at this point)

    I am requesting that (your agency) allow REASONABLE MODIFICATIONS to your Policy Programs and Procedures, as required by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. I am NOT asking for FUNDAMENTAL changes, but REASONABLE ACCOMODATIONS.

    I would like to comply with agency requirements, and offer the following suggestions on how (your agency) could offer these REASONABLE ACCOMADATIONS.

    1. Use video conferenceing, where we can observe/interact with others in attendance at training programs.

    2. Provide lectures, on tape, or CD, and have a caseworker conduct homestudy and interview, one on one.

    3. Provide alternate training locations, closer and/or of shorter durations (which ever may be applicable to your needs)

    4. Waive certain non-essential requirements, and offer an alternative to the regularly required program guidelines, as deemed appropriate by your agency.

    {35.150 Existing facilities, states:


    (a) General. A public entity shall operate each service, program, or activity so that the service, program, or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. This paragraph does not --


    (1) Necessarily require a public entity to make each of its existing facilities accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;


    (2) Require a public entity to take any action that would threaten or destroy the historic significance of an historic property; or


    (3) Require a public entity to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity or in undue financial and administrative burdens. In those circumstances where personnel of the public entity believe that the proposed action would fundamentally alter the service, program, or activity or would result in undue financial and administrative burdens, a public entity has the burden of proving that compliance with {35.150(a) of this part would result in such alteration or burdens. The decision that compliance would result in such alteration or burdens must be made by the head of a public entity or his or her designee after considering all resources available for use in the funding and operation of the service, program, or activity, and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. If an action would result in such an alteration or such burdens, a public entity shall take any other action that would not result in such an alteration or such burdens but would nevertheless ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the benefits or services provided by the public entity.


    (b) Methods. (1) General. A public entity may comply with the requirements of this section through such means as redesign of equipment, reassignment of services to accessible buildings, assignment of aides to beneficiaries, home visits, delivery of services at alternate accessible sites, alteration of existing facilities and construction of new facilities, use of accessible rolling stock or other conveyances, or any other methods that result in making its services, programs, or activities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. A public entity is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities where other methods are effective in achieving compliance with this section. A public entity, in making alterations to existing buildings, shall meet the accessibility requirements of {35.151. In choosing among available methods for meeting the requirements of this section, a public entity shall give priority to those methods that offer services, programs, and activities to qualified individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate.


    (2) Historic preservation programs. In meeting the requirements of {35.150(a) in historic preservation programs, a public entity shall give priority to methods that provide physical access to individuals with disabilities. In cases where a physical alteration to an historic property is not required because of paragraph (a)(2) or (a)(3) of this section, alternative methods of achieving program accessibility include --

    (i) Using audio-visual materials and devices to depict those portions of an historic property that cannot otherwise be made accessible;


    (ii) Assigning persons to guide individuals with handicaps into or through portions of historic properties that cannot otherwise be made accessible; or


    (iii) Adopting other innovative methods.


    (c) Time period for compliance. Where structural changes in facilities are undertaken to comply with the obligations established under this section, such changes shall be made within three years of the effective date of this part, but in any event as expeditiously as possible.


    (d) Transition plan. (1) In the event that structural changes to facilities will be undertaken to achieve program accessibility, a public entity that employs 50 or more persons shall develop, within six months of the effective date of this part, a transition plan setting forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. A public entity shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate in the development of the transition plan by submitting comments. A copy of the transition plan shall be made available for public inspection.


    (2) If a public entity has responsibility or authority over streets, roads, or walkways, its transition plan shall include a schedule for providing curb ramps or other sloped areas where pedestrian walks cross curbs, giving priority to walkways serving entities covered by the Act, including State and local government offices and facilities, transportation, places of public accommodation, and employers, followed by walkways serving other areas.


    (3) The plan shall, at a minimum --


    (i) Identify physical obstacles in the public entity's facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with disabilities;


    (ii) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;


    (iii) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and

    (iv) Indicate the official responsible for implementation of the plan.


    (4) If a public entity has already complied with the transition plan requirement of a Federal agency regulation implementing section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, then the requirements of this paragraph shall apply only to those policies and practices that were not included in the previous transition plan.

    I look forward to working together, so that John Doe can continure to provided be provided with loving care in our home. I can be reached at,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Sincerely,,,,,
    [This Message was Edited on 01/10/2007]
  16. IowaMorningGlory

    IowaMorningGlory New Member

    ELLIESPAD you really did your research and I will definitely use this! It is great and I really truly appreciate what you did.

    I am talking with Jake's lawyer today. I am going to ask him about all the option's listed in these wonderful posts. There has to be an option with one of these at least!

    Jake does have a job, but only part time because he needs many nights to make sure he gets his homework completed. With emancipation I know he has to prove he is able to provide for himself. I don't think the courts would say Jake is able to do that. But you never know, they might. His mother would be the stickler for this whole thing.

    I will keep everyone posted on how my phone call goes today.

    Again, thank you all so very much. I don't know what I did before I met all of you.

    Take care and Kitten Hugs,
    Blessed Be,
    Laurie