TWO children who were removed from the care of their foster mother over a “minor incident” are now living on the streets, using drugs and committing property crimes.
The foster carer, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the NT News that in the space of two years the two teenage girls she had cared for for 13 years had gone “completely off the rails”.
“(The older girl) has been in 15 different placements, has been in Don Dale, she abuses drugs and alcohol and has a 25-year-old boyfriend ... nobody even knows where she is,” the woman said.
“They (the Department of Children and Families) have destroyed a child who was successfully becoming a young adult and now she rings me and is begging for my forgiveness and asks me ‘why can’t I just come home?’ and I can’t let her because the other children I have at home will be influenced by her.
“She is not safe and I can’t do a damn thing about it.”
The woman said the “shattering” experience almost made her give up her 15-year career of being a volunteer foster parent.
“You didn’t keep my kids safe when you took them,” she said.
“I kept them out of this situation and you’ve allowed them to be sexually abused, allowed them to be drinking and allowed them to be homeless.”
The veteran foster carer said trouble arose during a stressful period when she was trying to merge families together – seven kids in total.
She asked the department to provide a cleaner to help her cope and allow more time to be spent with the kids but it refused.
Following the incident, the woman told DCF about it and subsequently two of the children were removed from her care.
“Instead of the department talking through what happened with us and dealing with it as a family, the flow-through consequence from what they did means they’re in no man’s land now,” she said.
The only the reason the woman kept fostering the other children was because she said “when I take on a kid, I take them on for life”.
“I believe I’ve gone through this because I have the capacity to help the department help these kids better than what they are doing now,” she said.
Children’s Commissioner Colleen Gwynne would not comment on the specific case but reiterated comments made earlier this week that supporting foster carers was paramount to reduce the NT’s reliance on residential care facilities.
Originally published as Foster girls removal from carer triggered spiral.
Source : http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/foster-carer-blames-department-of-children-and-families-for-teenagers-predicament/news-story/98cb2d059a4590d213f8d7f90ad0eae3?nk=2a20a9069afc21f69df4238275fa8877-1479642416