So I will begin referring to the current placement as The Quartet. (And if I'm crazy enough to take a 3rd set in the future you all will have to help me brainstorm!)
The Quartet consists of the following:
Girl- Smiley (4)
Boy- Simon (5)
Girl- Sarah (7)
Girl- Stella (9)
The goal is return home. A reader asked if there was a concurrent goal. This means that in addition to the case goal of return home there is a goal for another form of permanency for the case such a adoption. In our state, there is almost always a concurrent goal of adoption. Although, in my experience its not often focused on until much later in the case.
The kids have not lived with Mom (27) for 11 months. They have been in Foster Care for nine months. The details are fuzzy. I've asked several times how the system became aware of them and I've not been given a straight answer. I am going to leave that to the therapists to piece together and ask them later.
We are the concurrent plan. Willow (case worker) and her supervisor were looking for an adoptive resource that would be willing to adopt all four kids together. In August, when they contacted me the 1st time, they were discussing expedited termination. This did not pass legal screening. So unless Mom surrenders, this looks like a long term placement.
Now given the family history of domestic violence, past dealings with DCFS (Stella and Sarah were in foster care for a year prior to Simon being born) and Mom's mental health it's quite possible that parental rights could be terminated if Mom doesn't start working hard. However, since the reason for removal was neglect (Mom was hospitalized and did not enact the safety plan in place) and not physical abuse it is possible that these kids will return home should Mom stabilize. Since the neglect wasn't too severe (from what I understand) (and can we take a second to recognize that I'm now rating neglect on a scale and that makes me feel dirty and jaded all at once), it may not be that hard for her.
Visits are once a week, supervised in Mom's home. Simon and Sarah also visit their Dad for 2 hours supervised in the community. He's not complying with services although this month he has shown up consistently for his visits. (This was not happening before.)
There are also two other boys (10 & 2) living with a relative in another state. I don't have much information other than the oldest Mom lost custody to.
9 months in and only at 4 hours supervised visitation does not make me feel like anyone has a sense of urgency.
We are in the process of trauma assessments on the kids. There have been reports of some molestation happening to Sarah and Stella but nothing they have disclosed themselves to therapists.
We knew that this placement could be traditional foster care and we took it anyway. Maybe this is our calling. Maybe these kids are meant to be ours. Only time will tell. (Smiley's eyes bugged out when I told her the Fab Four lived with us for 2 years. I so wish I could have taken a picture especially since she was wearing this ridiculous headband with bright pink wings on either side of her head!)