Monday, April 11, 2011

Parent's Rights Versus Child's Rights

Chloe* was born drug-addicted and immediately placed in the home of her father's mother (paternal grandmother) after her discharge from the hospital. Chloe's mom, Lydia, was addicted to heroin and cocaine and received no prenatal care. Lydia's three older children were all adopted after she failed to successfully reunify with them when they were in foster care.

Lydia incurred criminal charges of theft and prostitution immediately prior to Chloe's birth. As result, she was court ordered to attend drug treatment and referred to a facility that could accommodate children as well. Chloe had been living with her grandmother for one month when Lydia petitioned the court to have Chloe placed with her in treatment.

If the judge asked for your opinion on whether Chloe should be moved to the center in order to live with her mother, what would you recommend? Should Chloe move or stay with her grandmother? What factors would you consider in making your decision.

*Chloe's name has been changed to protect her identity.


  1. As a foster parent this is hard!!!!

    I feel like she should have a chance- shouldn't everyone!!! And yet the success rate is very very very low. Then the child is hung out to dry in the system for wayyy tooo looonnngggg.... and that puts grandma in a hard place too!

    I think it is ok to try within the first year - year and a half if all is going well, but NEVER should that go to 2-3+ years. That is unfair to everyone!!!!

    I think that it is so hard. This is why social workers do not get paid enough!!!! They are work soooo much more :) The good ones that is.

    The down side is she may do ok at the center, but how long is the treatment? Is the child going to be with her for a year, then go back to old habits and then the "case starts all over AGAIN". This is part of the perpetual problem!!!!

  2. I think Lydia needs to show that she is on the mend for at least a year before she gets custody of her daughter. If she stays clean and productive during that year she could earn visitation that can increase through the year. Children are not items that can be passed from one person to another. Developmentally they need to be in a stable environment, a rehab is not a stable environment. Even if Lydia stays clean and of her right mind there it doesn't mean someone else in the facility couldn't go off the wagon and be harmful to others. Lydia's track record is far too damaged to have any rights to Chloe at this time.

  3. Absolutely not! As a social worker it would be my job to put them back together, sure, but as a parent I couldn't imagine expecting my child to go through that. I agree with the above recommendation of leaving her with her grandmother and letting her mother prove herself. She isn't a ping pong ball, she's a human being, and she deserves love and a stable environment.

  4. Chloe should not be placed with Lydia. Lydia has proven she cannot be responsible enough to care for herself, much less a child. Sadly, I do believe some people are not "helpable" Lydia seems like one of those people. I agree with the above post. Chloe is a human being, she needs love and stability that Lydia cannot provide, and has proven it over and over.