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Admiralty Flag
Jun 7, 2007

I do not wish to create joinder with your stank ass



Slippery Tilde

This has been so loving painful I haven't been able to post it for a couple of weeks.

Our foster son has been returned to his mother (who is not ready to be a stable parent based on evidence we've seen in reports from the supervised visits) by an administrative decision without even an appearance in court by any of the parties.

This all happened so quickly and my wife and I are still alternating between shock and grief. I doubt we'll ever foster another child again. The reason we're unlikely to do it isn't the fact that he was reunified, something we knew from day one of training happens to 75% of kids in this state, but the hamfisted and cruel way it was done by the state agency that benefitted no one but the biomom's ego -- our foster son least of all.

I can't give any real details for the minute chance of someone inside the state agency recognizing them, but this recounting is factual and not sour grapes or grief or rewriting history. This sucks, that's all there is to say about it.

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Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


I'm so sorry that sounds incredibly hard. I hope you can hold on to something and know that you made a difference for your child. I know my daughter still remembers kind and loving foster homes she was in as a young child, and their love and care made it easier for her to survive with her bio family, and also able to know what real love looks like when she sees it, and value herself enough to have told someone when she was mistreated again.

You are valuable and your love and care means something

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Ugh, I'm sorry to hear that. That's always incredibly hard. The best way it was described to us at an in-service support group by the state worker was "You only have to be a D- parent to get your kids back from an A+ foster family because in the end, it's still that child's family." We had a lot of people in attendance walk out as they didn't want to hear that, but it is very true. Reunification is their ultimate goal in these cases even if we feel the parents aren't prepared.

Admiralty Flag
Jun 7, 2007

I do not wish to create joinder with your stank ass



Slippery Tilde

Thanks for the support!

K, you're absolutely right. We had to make that A+/D- cognitive shift quickly when we first heard this might happen. It wasn't about us being awesome people and parents, nor was it about any failures or shortcomings we had. The most frustrating thing, especially as he didn't have a CASA assigned, is that we had no voice and thus he had no voice (as his social worker was instructed to get on board with the decision made at a higher level). We may not be unbiased observers but no one (except his social worker) was saying, "OK, let's look at this supervised visit report from [date] where biomom showed reckless disregard for his safety by [permitting 3 year old to do something dangerous] and justified it with 'He's just a growing boy and I don't want to have to tell him no all the time when I see him.' ". And I don't mean helicopter parent-definition of reckless disregard like jumping off a bench to the ground, I mean vehicular traffic was involved.

Even though he's only three years old, it's apparent he's incredibly smart. One of the biggest things I grieve is the stronger possibility that he will now drop out of high school, not go to college, etc., wasting such amazing gifts and always feeling a little smaller because of that, having seen this happen with my stepson from my first marriage.

I find myself hoping that the biomom pulls herself together and quickly learns how to provide a stable, safe, and loving environment for him, or that she screws up in royal fashion during the next Health & Safety visit and he goes back into the system immediately before he's used to the idea that they will be back together forever. The worst case scenario I can think of for him is spending, e.g., a year with her, letting the cumulative impacts of minor emotional and physical neglect pile up while he rebonds with her and loses his love of life and his free self expression (which took a lot of work for his previous foster family and for us to pull out of his shell), only to go through the trauma of separation when she relapses/whatever and he's taken away from her again after believing this is forever.

I may be a bad man for wanting a specific one of these three scenarios to happen, but at least I'm not so bad that I would prefer he get eventually put back into the system rather than finding that right type of environment with his biomom. But it's so discouraging...he was with us for about a quarter of his life (and about half his 'conscious' life), and his biomom doesn't want any input from us -- I don't mean "Here's how you have to stop screwing up as a parent" but basic poo poo like "he loves dinosaurs, eating carrots & snap peas, and his three favorite books are..."

I just cut a couple of paragraphs of rambling so imma gonna stop now, but thanks for the words of support!

Admiralty Flag
Jun 7, 2007

I do not wish to create joinder with your stank ass



Slippery Tilde

On mobile so not editing my post sorry not sorry, but want to especially thank you for:

Mocking Bird posted:

You are valuable and your love and care means something
Thanks. I mean

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


I'm about to pour out a 40 for all the A+ parents in this thread and at my work who have their hearts battered by the bureaucratic machine of child welfare. You didn't deserve what you got, and neither did those kids, but damnit you did your best.

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


I was planning on posting when i actually finish the process to get licensed, BUT WHY NOT SAY YES TO AN EMERGENCY PLACEMENT BEFORE I EVEN GET FINGERPRINTS DONE WOOOO

Questions: Can someone give me a link to some house safety stuff? Like what do I do with alcohol and drugs?

My precious foster son is a NOT GAY ANYMORE, MOM older teenage boy who kept getting 30 day notices to leave in the therapeutic placements he was in before?
After talking to him, I think one of the places didn't like that he was gay (WHICH HE IS NOT ANYMORE) Idk. He's been with me for a month already, this month is supposed to be my training + process-finishing time.

I'm a short-term placement, since that's my "goal" of going into fostering (providing respite care).
His social worker is trying to do her job and get me to keep him, of course.

I have never been a parent and don't see myself as one, but I've worked with young gay teens ever since I was a young gay teen so we get along.

I found his deodorant in one of his piles of crap, so I see nothing but blue skies ahead

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Paratan posted:

I was planning on posting when i actually finish the process to get licensed, BUT WHY NOT SAY YES TO AN EMERGENCY PLACEMENT BEFORE I EVEN GET FINGERPRINTS DONE WOOOO

Questions: Can someone give me a link to some house safety stuff? Like what do I do with alcohol and drugs?

My precious foster son is a NOT GAY ANYMORE, MOM older teenage boy who kept getting 30 day notices to leave in the therapeutic placements he was in before?
After talking to him, I think one of the places didn't like that he was gay (WHICH HE IS NOT ANYMORE) Idk. He's been with me for a month already, this month is supposed to be my training + process-finishing time.

I'm a short-term placement, since that's my "goal" of going into fostering (providing respite care).
His social worker is trying to do her job and get me to keep him, of course.

I have never been a parent and don't see myself as one, but I've worked with young gay teens ever since I was a young gay teen so we get along.

I found his deodorant in one of his piles of crap, so I see nothing but blue skies ahead

Was it a Kinship emergency placement? Or is your state just that overwhelmed that they're doing a placement without final fingerprints/etc.? Usually they won't even consider you here unless all background/fingerprinting/home inspection, etc. is completely done and reviewed/signed off on. That's surprising but hey if they trust you, why not. We had a weekend emergency placement some time ago before anything was cleared once we reopened our house just because they knew us and our history previously so I guess anything is possible. Won't take 3 kids under 5 ever again, I learned that much.

Generally the rule on medications is that they must be locked up in a secure box (key or combo) that they child can't access (depending on age, more so enforced here for teens it seems) and get rid of alcohol or store it in such a way that it's not readily available or accessible by the child. We had to get rid of ours or the teen would get it as they have a prior history of alcohol abuse, so, woo careful planning.

That's awesome that you're at least giving them a safe place to be themselves

Huge props for taking a child that was in therapeutic care previously. Usually that requires additional training/hours n such as they tend to be more than the normal foster population is equipped to handle.

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


Kodilynn posted:

Usually they won't even consider you here unless all background/fingerprinting/home inspection, etc. is completely done and reviewed/signed off on.

You should've heard me on the phone, I was like "You're aware I haven't even Started the training, etc." so I figure they're desperate.
I just met him when he moved in. The social worker said, gonna need you to get fingerprints within 72 hours, so he came with me to get my fingerprints done.

My home assessment (?) was yesterday, with a new social worker who said, looks good, get a drawer

So a locking medicine thing huh. ok

Admiralty Flag
Jun 7, 2007

I do not wish to create joinder with your stank ass



Slippery Tilde

e: Glad to see things are moving so quickly! I got a bit wordy and missed your post. Consider my advice about a locking closet rather than a drawer, if possible for you. It makes things so much easier just because there's enough space to easily move things in and out.


Echoing everything K said. Each state has different rules though. E.g., in WA, liquid/gel medications also have to be kept in a different container than solid (pills/caplets). This also extends to the refrigerator, if you have both types that need to be refrigerated for some reason. Also, I don't think pet meds have to be separated by solidness but they have to be in a different container than human meds, so you could in theory have four locked cases in your closet plus four in your fridge (if there are solid meds that need refrigeration, but I can't think of any).

The easiest way to handle medicine, alcohol, lighters/matches, etc., is to find a linen closet or other small storage space and replace the handle with a locking knob, which will cost you $15? at the hardware store. If you have multiple doors to secure (e.g., woodworking tools in the garage), get a set of knobs that use the same key. They're sold in packs of 2 knobs usually, or you can also find 2 knobs and 2 deadbolts.

For cabinets (under the kitchen sink, laundry room, etc.), buy a set of padlocks that all use the same key. Then find pull handles that have rings, replace the existing pull handles on those cabinets, and lock the two rings with a padlock. Large cabinet where the grippable handles* are too far apart to lock easily? Get a 2" diameter ring from the hardware store, unscrew one handle, put the ring on it, screw the grippable handle back in, and padlock the ring to the other handle. (* I mean a handle attached by two screws so there's a "hole" in the middle to grasp, as opposed to a standard knob/handle.)

For now, just throw anything dangerous into the locked closet. (I hope they're not all louvered doors! Get a padlock and a tool storage chest/footlocker from the hardware store if you have to.) As it's an emergency placement, when your licensor gets around to the site visit, you'll get a list of things to fix; it's not like the kid will get yanked because you're not totally in compliance, unless you have your machete and grenade collection mounted on the wall within easy reach.

Also, make sure you have smoke detectors in all bedrooms, major hallways, utility room, garage, and kitchen. One carbon monoxide detector per floor, too. Even if not required, there's no excuse not to have them. Hot water should probably come out of the tap at no more than 120 degrees.

DISCLAIMER: All this is what my licensor in my state has accepted, not even sure it actually matches code but she signed off on it, this advice may be totally inapplicable to you.

When I get to a desktop I'll try to remember to upload a blank checklist for WA state, but you can probably find a "site visit assessment" form, or something similarly named, on the website for your state.

Just as I'm getting discouraged by my tragedy (I'm not sure if I'm being melodramatic or not), it embiggens my heart to see someone take this responsibility and privilege on when needed. I'm proud of you, for what that's worth!

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


Wow you're good.
I should've just posted here instead of wait for weeks for this email that seems to think I'm asking about storing the CHILD's drugs or alcohol (wtf)

Lmao I have a feeling my state isn't quite as strict as all that but thank you. I've got so many closets, so maybe one can be a danger zone

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Seconding the locking pantry/linen closet. I got one with a combination lock from amazon, works great. Don't even leave Tylenol out - absolutely everything must be inaccessible. In my previous home I put the lock on my bedroom closet and kept everything in there.

Step lightly - desperation for placement doesn't necessarily mean they won't still expect high level knowledge and care. Check to see if your state has its foster care regulations posted online and do some reading.

Please feel free to use this thread as a resource! We've all been through the wringer with kids and bureaucracy and nothing gives me joy anymore except making it easier for others

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


This is the home safety check list that California uses: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/F...7-11-073631-383

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


Ahhh that's so helpful, thanks. I appreciate it. I'm pretty sure the social worker was filling something similar out yesterday on her laptop.

Tulalip Tulips
Sep 1, 2013

The best apologies are crafted with love.


Pretty much what everyone here said. Lock up any alcohol, drugs, medinces, make sure your smoke detectors are working, enough space (in WA kids of the same gender can share a room), a first aid kit is also good.

Also going to second the CASA volunteering. There'a a big shortage in my county and I doubt that's uncommon. I have been working with a case where one is desperately needed and the backlog is to the point where a lot of kids aren't getting a CASA until termination petitions are filed.

As a personal thing I stepped back to backend support rather than field work or supervision because of serious burnout, partially due to a lack of administrative support. It'a a tough job and I love it but I definitely have needed the relative break.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Tulalip Tulips posted:

Pretty much what everyone here said. Lock up any alcohol, drugs, medinces, make sure your smoke detectors are working, enough space (in WA kids of the same gender can share a room), a first aid kit is also good.

Also going to second the CASA volunteering. There'a a big shortage in my county and I doubt that's uncommon. I have been working with a case where one is desperately needed and the backlog is to the point where a lot of kids aren't getting a CASA until termination petitions are filed.

As a personal thing I stepped back to backend support rather than field work or supervision because of serious burnout, partially due to a lack of administrative support. It'a a tough job and I love it but I definitely have needed the relative break.

I had been thinking of you! I've been driving through Tulalip a lot lately, you always pop into my mind when I think about what it would be like to work in WA. I'm glad you're taking the break you need

I finished my LCSW license so now I handle placement/adoption matching for my region, as well as training interns and new workers. It's... a lot. Back end doesn't really exist where I work, unless you're a clerk or bachelors level social worker.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


We are matched with a 14 year old girl, and now they've tossed out there that her 11 year old, 10 year old, and 8 year old sisters are also in need of a family.

We said yes to 14 and 11 (they're a very close pair, and have been living separately from the rest) and we're going to seriously consider a bigger home to accommodate the littles too.

Goddamn, one kid becomes four.

Spikes32
Jul 25, 2013


Mocking Bird posted:

We are matched with a 14 year old girl, and now they've tossed out there that her 11 year old, 10 year old, and 8 year old sisters are also in need of a family.

We said yes to 14 and 11 (they're a very close pair, and have been living separately from the rest) and we're going to seriously consider a bigger home to accommodate the littles too.

Goddamn, one kid becomes four.

... You're as crazy as ever. You're also as awesome as ever. I can't imagine the life you're about to lead

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


You're not wrong

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


One set of three once was enough. Almost had an anxiety attack with just that. We have potentially three more weeks until our teen is in our home full time.

Mocking Bird youíre a crazy hero in my eyes.

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


Yeah wow.

Tonight was my last night of the training they do here (yaaay), and the foster parents that came in to talk to us about their experiences had THREE foster kids age 3 and under in addition to their older three biological kids, holy cow

Thaddius the Large
Jul 5, 2006



Some families are just like that. Iíve got the one kid and canít fathom more, I feel like Iím flustered just handling that much coordination in my life.

PT6A
Jan 5, 2006
THE VOLKSWAGEN DEFENDER HAS LOGGED ON

Spikes32 posted:

... You're as crazy as ever. You're also as awesome as ever. I can't imagine the life you're about to lead

Yeah, I was going to say the same thing about being both entirely crazy and equally awesome. Goddamn, some days I'm just so thrilled to have a reminder that there are some people in this world who are so solidly Good.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


We are definitely committing to the two older girls, the hurdle of making space for four is a challenge and honestly the county agency may not be willing to wait - we would be glad if another family was willing to adopt them and join our crazy circle We'll know more once we meet with the supervisors and workers next week.

I am a therapist and a clinical case manager/bureaucrat so my entire life is juggling kids/families/crises. I'm good at it. My daughter (moved in at age 16, adopted at 18, currently 20) was and is an absolute agent of chaos so I feel really prepared to handle any constellation of kids. My husband has... reservations, I can't imagine why

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


Mocking Bird posted:

My daughter (moved in at age 16, adopted at 18, currently 20) was and is an absolute agent of chaos

lmfao nice

I've seen YouTube comments on the Removed video we watched for homework, there are people with strong opinions about splitting up / taking in sibling groups.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Sometimes it's not a choice to keep them together - with big sibling groups, it can be impossible to find a home with enough space. The four we're considering are part of a total group of ELEVEN. And there's definitely a huge attempt to at least keep them in pairs and trios. If you toss in special needs or behavioral health issues there may be no choices at all.

The only other reason I split siblings is safety - some trauma really reflects itself into sibling relationships (eg sexual trauma and family violence). When I'm in my social worker role, I'll still work to bring them back together with therapy and therapeutic visitation, but we can't have children live together who act out sexual trauma or beat each other with cords

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


When we had our very first placement she had an older sister that was not allowed to be placed with her due to safety concerns after allegations/investigations of certain behaviors (use your imaginations). As mentioned sometimes they arenít placed together for a reason.

The teen weíre getting is one of a group of 9 but most of the siblings have aged out or have already been adopted separately.

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


Hey, hello everyone I am having a great time with this teenager in my home. His first social worker kept asking me if I'm being sarcastic every time I said that but I'm not. We're doing so good

I'm getting regular approved to be a foster parent this week, I've been on like an emergency approval (?) these past 60 days.

My QUESTION is:
I just found out today from his 3rd social worker in 60 days (my 3rd as well) that he has a court date next week. What can I expect?
The social worker only said she is transporting him and that I can come, too. That's it lmao, no other info. Teenager tried to explain to me what it was for and he's kind of afraid he's going back to juvie.

Admiralty Flag
Jun 7, 2007

I do not wish to create joinder with your stank ass



Slippery Tilde

I'm so happy that things are working out for you and him! Changing social workers happens relatively frequently but 3 in 60 days? Sure you're not driving them away? (Joke.)

I assumed that this was dependency court until your last sentence. Criminal court? Get a lawyer. Most DAs or judges would have compassion for a foundering teen who had made mistakes but then found a loving home, and would go easy on him. Emphasis: most.

If you go to trial, you risk him incurring criminal penalties up to and including incarceration. With a lawyer, assuming what he did wasn't too bad, you have a much better chance of a deal that doesn't involve much or any bad stuff happening to him -- and even with a sympathetic DA the deal will be much better for him if a lawyer's involved.

He needs to tell you everything about the situation too. Let him know that this was the past any you're not holding it against him, but (if it were me, and he were a late teen like 16-17) I would tell him, "I promise you this: I will help you however I can. But you have to know this: your side of the deal is you have to be completely honest with me about this if we're going to be living together."

Consider that civil restitution might have to be made (if he is a ward of the state, this will be the state's issue most likely) and that whatever he got arrested for was serious enough to be the reason he really got kicked out (if I'm remembering the story correctly from a couple of months ago; I may not).

But step one: get a lawyer.

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


ahhh wtf, seriously?
Your post freaked me out, so I just got off the phone with Current Social Worker and she told me the same thing about the situation that Teen did, but she added that they deferred finding him guilty about a year ago to put him on a plan, so I hope they're checking in on his plan progress Monday?

tf. Like. What is going on, did everyone forget to tell me these fine details because they really thought he was only going to be here for a few days. was anyone going to tell me about this if i hadn't gotten freaked out by a goon post

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


It sounds like this kid is a "dual" case between child welfare and juvenile justice. Go to the hearing and talk to his public defender and case manager. Your kiddo may have to give consent for them to disclose some things because of his age, but you should definitely ask what the deferred charges are and if he's on a plan (like, no new arrests, therapy, maybe community service) where successful completion means a clean record (many dual jurisdiction kids are in plans like this)

Soak up info and see if there's anyone who can help you digest it - foster parent association? Court appointed special advocate? Is the public defender willing to set a meeting with you? Etc

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Also lol my husband cracked and now we have thrown our hat in the ring for all four kids (though we're gonna take the 14 year old young lady no matter what)

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


that owns

Paratan
Jan 1, 2008

it's sumo, folks


Long post short, I am still annoyed but There was a lawyer, who told the judge my teen was doing his plan of no new charges and attending counseling so they dismissed whatever the case was and teen is not stressed out anymore

edit: yes thank you,left out the
hooray

Paratan fucked around with this message at 20:16 on Oct 21, 2019

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


A victory!! Good job, parent!

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


We have our meeting set for Monday at noon to do the paperwork to officially start the in-home 6 month trial adoption for our teen. 3 months of 8 hour drives every weekend are coming to a close and we're extremely excited. They told us ahead of time and asked us not to tell our teen and let it be a surprise we're dying over here. Her room has been set up and ready for her since we started all this almost a year ago to the day.

Admiralty Flag
Jun 7, 2007

I do not wish to create joinder with your stank ass



Slippery Tilde

I'm so happy for you!

Engineer Lenk
Aug 28, 2003

Mnogo losho e!

I just finished up MAPP class a week ago, and am trying to get everything figured out to get licensed by early spring. The class was great, but seemed a little more geared towards younger foster children (understandably, that lined up with what most of my classmates we're aiming for, with the exception of a truly impressive women with a kinship placement of four teens).

I plan to take in a teenager (maybe more, if a sibling group needs a spot to land; I have two spare bedrooms but am a little unsure about starting out outnumbered). It seems like there's a solidly wide range in what a foster teen might be ready for in terms of picking up adult life skills.

Thinking about all the things that a kid might be going through and all the things they may need to pick up to successfully gain independence is overwhelming to me, so I'm not sure how to open the discussion with them. How much do you rely on what they want to prioritize versus the opinion of their social worker, care team, and birth parents (if there's shared parenting)?

Is it better to start out treating a teen like a younger kid until you have a good sense of where they are and can relax rules/expand privileges, or will that be setting them up to fail by demonstrating a lack of trust?

Has anyone looked at using Famzoo with their older foster children? It seems like a good pre-debit-card intro to adult finances, plus a good way to separate and track foster-related expenses.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Engineer Lenk posted:

I just finished up MAPP class a week ago, and am trying to get everything figured out to get licensed by early spring. The class was great, but seemed a little more geared towards younger foster children (understandably, that lined up with what most of my classmates we're aiming for, with the exception of a truly impressive women with a kinship placement of four teens).

I plan to take in a teenager (maybe more, if a sibling group needs a spot to land; I have two spare bedrooms but am a little unsure about starting out outnumbered). It seems like there's a solidly wide range in what a foster teen might be ready for in terms of picking up adult life skills.

Thinking about all the things that a kid might be going through and all the things they may need to pick up to successfully gain independence is overwhelming to me, so I'm not sure how to open the discussion with them. How much do you rely on what they want to prioritize versus the opinion of their social worker, care team, and birth parents (if there's shared parenting)?

Is it better to start out treating a teen like a younger kid until you have a good sense of where they are and can relax rules/expand privileges, or will that be setting them up to fail by demonstrating a lack of trust?

Has anyone looked at using Famzoo with their older foster children? It seems like a good pre-debit-card intro to adult finances, plus a good way to separate and track foster-related expenses.

Welcome to the rodeo! I adopted one teen girl and have another moving in shortly

1. Your job is to be there for your kid, not the social worker or bio parent. You should follow the rules, but emotionally, the teen needs to know you care about what they want. Don't be the bad guy or the peace maker or the negotiator - that's the social workers job. Just listen, support, and advocate as much as you can, and be honest and direct when you can't. Remember- Safety first! Then give as many choices as humanly possible.

2. Always start out more restrictive. No use in closing the barn door once the cows are out. I have a very relaxed household, but you have to sit through a talk about internet safety and expectations before you get the wifi password. Your curfew starts at 8pm even if I know that I'm going to give you wiggle room to get to 10pm. We both share our locations on our phones so we both can know the other is safe and sound (depending on the kid, I might make it a one way street). Everything is firm but has a reason. If they have a good reason to adjust the expectations, then it is a discussion but not a debate. I always make sure the "deal breakers" (where you lose a privilege, eg: like a wifi password) are very clear and known. Follow through, but always give an immediate option for earning trust back so there is a directed goal.

3. I added my daughter in a teen sub account and I may do it differently with the next kid. She needed the sense of confidence I had in her, and we learned a lot about each other grappling about overdraft fees and consequences. It was a learning experience. Build a bond first - stick to cash for the first few months, do everything you can to stack up the positive experiences before things get dicey.

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Engineer Lenk
Aug 28, 2003

Mnogo losho e!

Thanks!

I've seen some very different philosophies on phone use for foster teens. I would probably prefer a child had a phone so that they can be reached. What level of oversight has worked for you? How does loss of a WiFi password work if they have a phone with data?

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