|Mary Goodearle's Book
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*PARENTING ON THE SAME CHANNEL!
(Workshop for Parents/FosterParents/Step-parents)
*PREVENTING AND SURVIVING ABUSE ALLEGATIONS
*RESILIENT CHILDREN; BUILD ON THEIR STRENGTHS!
*WHEN CHILDREN LIE"
*DIFFICULT CHILDREN 101
*AFTER THE SPECIAL NEEDS ADOPTION
*PARENTING CHILDREN WITH POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS"
FOSTERING LIFE"S RELATIONSHIPS SERIES
(Marriage, Parenting, Life at Work)
"WHEN LIFE IS NOT FAIR!"
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Kaukauna WI 54130
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many other excellent trainings by well known authors on a huge variety of
topics! A certificate of training hours is awarded upon completion. Allen
and Mary are both regular training contributors to this excellent website.
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"Fostering Life's Relationships"
Excerpt From Mary's Book
A Guide to Foster Parenting Everything But the Kids!
(From Chapter Five)
PREVENTION TO SURVIVAL
You need to be prepared in advance for the possibility that a foster child might make a false allegation against you. Please read and
carefully consider the following preventative measures:
1. Before you accept any new foster child placement into your home, get as much information as possible about the child.
Learn about the child’s previous behaviors including lying, destructiveness, combativeness, ability to get along with others, eating
patterns, sleeping patterns, social skills, school performance, and other behaviors.
Ask if the child was ever a victim of sexual abuse. If the child was a victim, there is a greater chance that he or she will victimize
someone else. You have to protect other vulnerable children in your home. This applies to boys as well as girls. In addition to protecting
other children in your home, you have to think about protecting yourself as well. When children with sexual abuse histories make
allegations, they have very graphic memories to draw upon in the event they make false allegations against you. Have your social worker
give you the information in writing.
Find out if the child had previous foster care or relative placements. If so, why did the placements fail? Ask to speak with the former
caretakers or foster parents to find out exactly what went wrong.
Has the child ever made false allegations against anyone? If so, how was it investigated and resolved? Get the details in writing. If
the same type of false allegations are made against you, you will have something that establishes a pattern of behavior. You will also
know how believable the story was and what measures were taken during the previous investigation.
Has the child been sexually active or promiscuous? If so, you will have to have a plan to not let the child be alone in your home with a
member of the opposite sex. You will also encounter a higher chance of each parent ‘seeing a different child.’
Inquire about the child’s biological family. What will be the degree of difficulty working with them? Does the child have visits with
them? If so, are they supervised? By whom? What is your own role? Has the birth family made false accusations in the past?
What medications is the child on? For what reason? What are the possible side affects? Get the complete medical history.
Will the child be in special education classes? Will riding the school bus be a problem? Has the child had suspensions or
expulsion from school in the past?
Does the child have a history of abusing animals?
Has the child ever started a fire?
Will the child need supervision beyond the normal level appropriate for his or her age level? (I do not leave my 18 year-old and my 17
year-old home alone. Most parents could trust a child that age home alone.)
2. Decide if the child being offered for placement is within your capabilities to parent. (Remember, that is where we went wrong with
Ben!) Can you give everyone in your home, including the new foster child, enough time and attention? Can you meet everyone’s individual
needs? How will the new kid fit in with your own biological children and other foster children? Are you putting anyone (including yourself) at
risk of being harmed emotionally or physically?
3. Say “no” to accepting a placement if you feel the child will not work out in your home. Lots of foster parents are afraid to say no,
thinking that if they don’t help out the agency that they will not get offered future placements. That is not true. Agencies get overwhelmed
with kids needing placements. They need you. If you are unable to accept a placement for whatever reason you have, another offer from the
agency will soon follow. You will make a worse impression on the agency if you accept a child you can’t handle and request to have the
child moved again early on. You also have to think about the amount of added stress and disruption to you and the rest of your family that
getting in over your head will certainly create.
4. From the first day of the placement until the day your foster child leaves your home, keep your own case records. The rest of the
other professionals on your child’s treatment team all document the case. You must too! Documentation could clear up or explain
something that initiated a false allegation. You may need to provide an investigative worker with specifics. By documenting events the day
they actually occur, you won’t have to rely on your memory.
Use a bound notebook, the kind that shows if pages have been torn out, to keep a record for each foster child in your home. (If you
use a spiral notebook or the computer, pages could be torn out or records changed. For legal purposes, a bound book is more
permanent.) Have a separate notebook for each foster child.
Write down anything out of the ordinary that happens. If your child falls down and skins his knee, write that down. How did it occur?
What did you do about it? How did the child react? Make sure to include the date and time of the incident. So many things happen with kids
that we can tend to forget incidents or blur them together in our memories. If we don’t write things down, they become lost or distorted.
If your child tells lies, write that down. Leave out your feelings about it and include only the facts and circumstances. Write down how
you handled the situation.
Write down how your child behaves both before and after parental home visits. Include comments that seem out of the ordinary
made by the child and the biological parents. Document the time the child left your home and the time he returned.
Keep track of absences from school, contacts with school personnel, school performance and behaviors. Include the reasons for
absences and other contacts.
Document all contacts you have with your case worker and counselors. Include the topics of the conversation, where your meeting
took place, time of day, date, suggestions made by the worker, and any important information you provided.
Write down things that ‘trigger’ behaviors with your foster child. Triggers are memories, sounds, voices, songs, pictures, and other
events that ignite undesirable behaviors in foster children. Remember the song on the car radio that Roger heard. He went into a sullen
and withdrawn state upon hearing a country western song on the car radio. We later found out that it reminded him of the way his birth dad
In general, write down anything that you want to share with the social worker or other team members. You have the most contact
with, and knowledge about your foster child. You are the one who spends 24 hours a day with him. You cannot possibly remember
everything that is important for the other team members to know. Write it down and date it as soon as it occurs!
5. Make sure you know and understand all of your agency’s licensing rules and regulations. Sometimes foster parents get into trouble
with their agencies by breaking foster care licensing rules. For instance, if your state’s rules say that you must keep all medications,
cleaning supplies, and insecticides locked up, and a foster child becomes seriously ill from ingesting one of them, you would be in
serious trouble. Know and review the rules. Never bend them or slack off from them!
6. Develop family rules and post them for all family members to see. An example of some rules from our house:
Only one person is allowed in the bathroom at one time. The bathroom door must remain closed while in use. No one is allowed to
barge in on anyone else.
Bedroom doors must be closed while getting dressed. At all other times, the doors should be open.
Boys and girls are not allowed in each other’s bedrooms. Mom will not be alone with a boy in his room, and dad will not be alone
with a girl in her room.
It is important not to have too many rules, but the rules you have should be
designed with everyone’s safety in mind, including your own!
7. Maintain clear communication with your child’s treatment team. Ask for help when behaviors arise that you don’t know how to
handle. If you have concerns that your child’s needs are not being met, insist that the team gets together to remedy the situation.
8. Maintain a cordial and professional working relationship with all of the treatment team members. Extend that to include the child’s
9. Prepare in advance in case you are ever falsely accused of child abuse. Have a plan that includes selecting an attorney who has
defended similar cases in the past. When and if you are accused of abusing a foster child, you will be in a state of turmoil. It will be hard to
think clearly. By having an attorney and support people in mind, you will not have to make those difficult choices while in the primary shock
and fear stages of your case.