Foster Care Lies | The Demonization of Birth Parents

Foster care lies: sometimes they focus on the foster children, sometimes on the foster parents, but many are focused on demonizing the birth parents of children in foster care. These falsehoods are an all-too-common belief of the public, and sometimes, foster and adoptive parents themselves.

Children are never placed in foster care through any fault of their own, but some go into care for different reasons then you might think. Sometimes birth parents are doing what they think is best to care for their children based on their circumstances, but those choices lead to having their children removed until they can get on their feet. Many commonly believed foster care lies paint all birth parents whose children are in care as monsters, but there are many reasons this is not the case. Here are some of the most common lies about foster care that involve birth parents:

Foster Care Lies: Only children who are beaten and sexually abused by their birth parents come into foster care

While, sadly, many battered children and sexually molested children are placed in foster care for their safety, these aren’t the only reasons that children are removed from their birth parents’ home. In many cases, the reason for removal is not outright abuse, but abuse by way of neglect.

Neglect can happen for a number of reasons. A parent may have a drug addiction that causes them to think of little else but getting high. Although this is increasingly the reason for children are coming into foster care, children may go hungry or be without clean clothing for other reasons as well, including poverty.

Birth parents who work jobs where benefits like sick days are not offered may feel they need to go to work – no matter what – in order to provide for their families. Desperate birth parents may sometimes leave their children at home alone, or in a locked car outside their job site, when there is no family member or friend to babysit and they are unable to afford child care. While they are not intentionally neglecting their children – in fact, in their mind, they’re doing just the opposite – these actions can lead to child welfare caseworkers to be called and the children to go into foster care.

Foster Care Lies – All birth parents of kids in foster care are criminals

It’s a fact that some children are placed into foster care when a birth parent goes to jail. When we hear the word jail, we automatically think of a major (and probably violent) crime, such as abusing children, committing murder, robbing a bank at gunpoint, etc.

But there are many other reasons that someone could go to jail, including something as “dangerous” as too many unpaid parking tickets that there is simply no money to pay.

Foster Care Lies: Parents whose kids are in foster care don’t love their children

This is one of the biggest lies about foster care, and one of the most repeated. No matter what the circumstances are for a child coming into care, this is far too serious a claim to be made as a sweeping generalization, and far too often, could not be further from the truth.

Sometimes birth parents cannot raise their children safely, not because they have an addiction or because they themselves are abusers, but because they need knowledge and experience to meet their children’s special medical needs.

When a child’s medical needs are so overwhelming that they require 24/7 special care, they are sometimes placed into foster care with foster parents specifically trained in caring for medically fragile children. The children may have issues like Prune Belly Syndrome and Maple Syrup Urine Disease, which are uncommon, and if not cared for properly, can cause the children to die.

These foster parents then assist in training the birth parents in how to care for their children and keep them safe. Once the birth parents have mastered caring for the children in accordance with the child welfare system, they welcome them home and often spend the rest of their lives caring for them.

Foster Care Lies: Kids with good foster or adoptive parents don’t need their birth parents in their lives

No matter what reasons children come into foster care, the goal, whenever possible, is to reunite birth parents and their children. Even when foster children cannot return home, it is important for foster and adoptive parents never to demonize birth parents and to allow them, and the rest of the children’s birth family, to be as much a part of their children’s lives as possible whenever it’s safe to do so.

Author: fafsblog

15 thoughts on “Foster Care Lies | The Demonization of Birth Parents

  1. True. And It’s not all cupckaes and rainbows. Bio parents also have the MOST rights of anyone involved, the child included. Foster parents have the least.

  2. I know this site means well and intends to educate. As a free adoption search angel I find the term birth parent repugnant under any circumstance , but when we are talking about fostered youth who have not even been adopted….the term birth parent is just inappropriate.

    To be clear a person with offspring is a parent whether they or anyone else like it. Look it up in Websters Dictionary. Adoption does not stop them from meeting the criteria of being the parent of their own offspring nor does it qualify the adopting party as a parent, but rather an adoptive parent. Given that people are inclined to refer to people who adopt as parents because the government allows falsification of adopted people’s birth records it is understandable, though not acceptable, that people will sometimes refer to adopted people’s parents as their birth parents to differentiate from adoptive parents, because legally they have proof via a falsified birth record that the adoptive party is a parent. It’s fake and false but when that fake document exists then people feel they need to refer to the adopter as parents and the parents as birth parents. When a minor is being fostered, there is no excuse for referring to his or her parents as birth parents. As I said its always incorrect to refer to someones parents as something other than parents, but sometimes there is an excuse for doing so. A person who is in foster care has not had their rights violated by the falsification of their birth record and there is no excuse for referring to their parents as birth, first, natural or original parents which all mean ex parent. Their parents are their parents and that is the end of that everyone else is just helping to raise them. People may think they can become parents by raising other people’s kids but they can’t and the sooner they get that through their heads and hearts the less damage they will do to already vulnerable youth who have been separated from their relatives.

    1. Wow, I’m not sure why you are so angry at adoptive parents but trust me, we are not all evil. We adopted two children who’s birth mother did drugs while pregnant and beat one child in the head with a baseball bat. We also made sure when they were old enough that they met their birth parents if they chose that. I use birth mother because that is what she did, gave birth to our children, of which I am greatful. After meeting her (She was high by the way) one of my children wants nothing to do with her and the other child is friends with her on social media. Using those terms allowed the kids to have a way of differentiate between all of the parents, mostly to other adults. There is not malice in these terms. I do resent your implication that because I did not actually give birth to my children I am not their parent.

      1. I agree just because you did not birth the child does not mean you are any less of a parent im in the middle of foster to adopt my toddler granddaughter who is 3 i have had her all her life her bio mom is a junkie who keeps having kids im grandma but im also mom to her she has autism and i love her like she is my child

  3. My son was putbbqin a theuraputic foster home because he was acting out at school and home (drug use, etc). Even though foster parents get subsidies; the foster mom asked me for money constantly and i had to provide all clothes, extra money for activities, and shampoo, soap, etc. She said she didnt have money to buy things….she also had 7 dogs in here house eatingoff tables…..needless to say my son is back at home acting 100% better….how can NC authorize these people to be foster parents.

  4. What would happen if a foster child lies that the male foster care parent hit him and was caught on video? Would something happen to the child?

  5. In my story’s different. The foster parents of my 17 old grandchild giving him and buying him everything possible and impossiboe ..just to buying him out and stay him with them and not communicate with birth parents. So. He is doing what ever he wanna do ..missing school . Coming home very late and other things that I don’t wanna even mention. They allowed him to do ..just to stay there and they already asked him to call them mama and papa …we just don’t know what to do and why they are acting like that. Maybe just to ruine his life and to ruine our life because we love him very much …or maybe something else involve . Hard to believe.

    1. Sabina,
      Thank you for reaching out to embrella. I am sorry that you feel this way about your grandson. One of the harder parts of having a child in care is feeling like everything is out of your control. Remember, there are always two sides to a story, and it’s not always best to assume what the foster parents intentions. Most foster parents are trying their best to support a youth, not ruin anyone’s life. We have to remember that it is not the foster parents that caused this situation and that they are there to try to help. There could be a court order limiting the contact with the birth parents, which the foster parents and case worker then have to try to enforce. The best thing to do in this situation, if you have communication, is to encourage your grandson to be positive and act like the young man you believed he was raised to be. Adolescence is a time of “storm and stress” for youth, and the struggles your grandson has encountered may magnify this and cause him to act out more than he should.

  6. Does anyone know a good lawer my children was taken from me because I went to jail I was in foster care myself and the foster parent had me arrested because her husband raped me her and the husband attacked Me and I ended up going to jail I never had a record the court made me plea guilty for charges I never did they ended up using all of these charges against me and ended up terminate my rights

    1. Shanisa,
      As we do not know in which state you reside, I would recommend calling 2-1-1 and asking for an agency that provides free legal consultations or services. Here at embrella, we are not legal advocates and cannot provide legal advice.

      Lenore Bonilla
      Support Services Manager

      1. You really need a good attorney who specializes in family law. I had a legal aid attorney and I’ll tell you,they don’t do much!

  7. Having issues with having kids were it seem ok but grass is always greener on other side have heard a recording but they seem to have team up on one parent feeling already emotiobal but they took advantage of that state of mind ihow can one help with safety n well bing of children

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