Illinois recently passed some legislation that makes expands the definition of "fictive kin". Fictive Kin allows people who are close to a family but not related by blood or marriage to be considered a placement and adoption resource for kids who come into care. A non-relative God-Parent or step-parent are examples of fictive kin.
The baby sister, Solana, is placed with a friend Sheila named as a "God parent" and is considered fictive kin. She isn't a licensed foster parent but she is in her 40s and has biological children of her own. I have no idea how they met but I looked up an address for her name and she lives very close to Sheila. (And the Alcoholics Anonymous building is at the intersection. You'd think it would be easy for Sheila to get there...)
The legislation also expanded the definition to include adoptive families of siblings. In fact, because siblings are higher in the pecking order we would have standing to adopt before biological family would. No one at the Department thinks that Solana should go back to Sheila but the judge assigned to the case is a wild card and used to be a defense attorney and tends to favor the parents. (Which is the only explanation I can come up with as to why anyone would give her Another chance.)
Truth be told, I'm worried about Solana. Allowing Sheila 2-3 years to work a case plan and then decide to find another permanency goal just seems ridiculous to me. Might as well diagnose the kid with PTSD now to save time. Sheila is doing the same things she did with the kid that caused her to stop making progress. She also had a dirty urinalysis 2 days after Solana was born. She never did the Aa meetings that were part of her case plan before, I highly doubt she'll do it this time.
We told Caseworker #3 that we would be willing to be the adoptive placement. We also said if the goal changed from Return Home to Pending Termination that we would accept her as a foster care placement since visits would drop down to once a month. Meanwhile, they are trying to get the case combined with my kids' case since that judge has all of the history.
Time will tell. For her sake, I hope that it's not a long drawn out thing.