Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday's Tears - Abuse Allegations Update

A couple weeks ago I told you that one of our children made an unexpected claim of horrific abuse.  Thankfully (and rightfully) the finger wasn't pointed at us but instead at another child at a former foster home. The allegations were clear enough to know something for sure happened but because I was not involved with this child prior to placement in my home I had no idea who the alleged perpetrator was and whether or not the story and all its details made sense in light of this child's past.  In other words - I didn't know if the alleged perpetrator existed in the former foster home, whether it was a child or adult, whether it lived in the home or was a visitor, etc.  This person could have been another foster child or a neighbor or someone at the former preschool.

I turned it over to the investigators and was asked to stay out of it from there.  They even asked me twice not to discuss the incident with my child.  This is understandable as to not corrupt the investigation but also irritated mie as it is my job to help this child heal and I felt like my hands were tied a little bit.

After an initial investigation I was told that they were going to be doing an official forensic interview at the child advocacy center.  I thought this was good news until they said "...as a last ditch effort before they rule it out".

I was furious.  It appeared as if they didn't believe the allegation.  Not only (and primarily) is this a problem for this child who spoke up and had to go through the traumatic interviews and isn't believed (and therefore won't get help for it) but it also made mie wonder what the investigators thought about us.  Did they think we were trying to sabotage the case so that the child didn't have to go home?  Did they think we made it up?  What exactly did this child tell them?

As it turns out the investigators did believe something happened.  As I've said before the details presented to us were specific enough that no child of that age should have been able to make it up.  The problem was that they couldn't match the alleged perpetrator to anyone in the former foster home.  There was a birth child in the home with a name similar to the one given (think something like Bryan instead of Ryan) and yet there was absolutely no concern that this person would be a perpetrator.  So, because they couldn't identify who the perpetrator was they had to rule out the abuse.

I wish they just had to say "unsolved" instead of closing out the case.

I felt much better about their analysis except of course that meant it wasn't solved and there were still problems -

  • The case was still ruled out and closed making it look like it was a false allegation
  • Our child still won't get any official support to heal from the abuse
  • There is still a perpetrator out there who could be harming other children
The investigators told us they believed the perpetrator was someone from the birth parents' home that had come in prior to the case starting.  They think that the child is mis-remembering.  I don't know what to do with all of this.  I understand why but it makes mie a bit frustrated that if they believe this happened prior to coming into care that the birth parents aren't held accountable for it in some way - instead reunification is happening on schedule according to plans.  Not to mention - I don't think it happened before placement.  My child is emphatic that it happened at the former foster home.  I asked if "bryan" and "ryan" were different people (names changed).  The child said no - they are the same person.  If that's the case then the perpetrator would be the foster parent's bio-child.  If it is a perpetrator then they shouldn't be fostering any more and something should be done.  If it isn't a perpetrator then I can so identify with that family who opened their home up to care for orphans and ended up having their own biological child accused undeservingly.  I can imagine myself in their shoes.  I'd be devastated.  Nevertheless I feel like we needed to fix this situation so it never happens again.  Ever.

I don't know that there is much I can do.  I wish I could take back time and prevent it even though I don't know where it happened, when, or by whom.

My child seems to know and now I'm left knowing that it will be ignored as this child transitions in the next few weeks - not enough time for me to get this child the needed help.

In a way, given the circumstances, I'm glad to know that the case is being closed.  Again, if it were my family under investigation for false allegations I'm reassured to know that they aren't out taking action on innocent people (at least not all the time).  And yet - someone did something and nothing will ever be done about it - that's unacceptable.


Anonymous said...

So sad ... at least the child should receive counseling/education related to the alleged abuse. If it happened - the child definitely needs help. If it didn't happen or is being "misremembered", the child still needs counseling. The fact that the child knows inapproprite information for his age (no matter how that came to be), means that there is education and working through issues that needs to happen.
The system lets down kids even if there is no specific proof of wrongdoing. Even a "lie" (and I am not saying that is the case here) is a call for help from a child.

Mie said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Thankfully play therapy has been in place for other behavioral issues and I have told the therapist about the situation so she can work with the child. That being said the therapist was out of town for the 2 or 3 weeks immediately after I was told of the situation so it took that long to get my child any kind of therapy and now the kids are leaving in approximately 2 weeks. With 4th of July and then the transition schedule there will probably be only 3 sessions total between the time the child let us know of the situation and when the child goes home - not really enough. The home county is very far from our county so the therapist can't continue seeing the child - the child will need a new therapist and that will all be on mom whether or not she makes that happen. Then of course there will be new trust building and all - this case will be over before the child gets any help for it, if ever...