Friday, July 11, 2008

How I understand our states foster care system..

When a child comes into care they will go to court to establish a case (at first) and to get temporary orders. They are meant to have a plan in place after 6 months (for babies) and 12 months (older kids) - to stop the merry go round.

At first (while in the Child Protection case plan) court will be on several occasions. One for mention, one for the parents' right to reply, one for the department to state their case ...and so on etc...It can drag on for months.

A court order can be made with concurrent planning They work on restoring the child to parents after a time frame eg 12 months or if that doesn't eventuate then long term orders (till 18) with the carer GOM18.

Children are SUPPOSED to be placed on GOM18 orders after 12 months (or have a reunification goal being worked on) - doesn't always happen, sometimes 2 years goes by, but the department is now working on placing them sooner rather than later. With older kids they often float around in care until a long term carer is found. Most babies will find a long term placement right away (for obvious reasons). Parents will appeal, not turn up in court, object, all sorts of things to stall the long term outcome.

Temporary or short term orders usually involve at least 3 x weekly access to keep the parental bond, as they still aren't sure of the outcome.

Once GOM18 orders are in place, the court will drop it down. Most are 4 x yearly, some parents manage to get monthly access even after long term orders. If the child on GOM18 orders has siblings with other carers,the department tries to get the carers to do sibling access every couple of months.


redmaryjanes said...

This is very interesting, and it sounds like Australia has a pretty good system in place. How is little Miss Foster?

Maggie said...

Interesting. So the kids never become available for actual adoption, but they are placed in a permanent foster home. Hmm. That has it's pros and cons, doesn't it?

On one hand it makes sense in theory. Slugger hates that his mom's and dad's rights were quote unquote "terminated." I mean, they're his mom and dad -- he can understand why he can't be with them, but it's not a relationship that can ever, ever be "terminated." And it shouldn't be.

Janine said...

My state of Victoria is similar to yours, but instead of the GOM18 we have a Permanent Care Order. That's what my two are on. As far as permanency plans go, as you mentioned, the reality never works as well as it should in theory. Little Angel will have been with us one year next week, and it would seem as though reunification is still the goal. If that doesn't happen, I doubt he would move to a permanent family for at least another 9 months or longer. At least he's been with us the whole time...what's worse is when they return home a while, then end up back in care, with different carers. That's what happened to my Portia when she was an infant....13 years later she's still paying the cost of an unsettled babyhood, despite our efforts to make it up to her.