Thursday, July 06, 2006

Evan's Story Part 1: The Beginning

So I started the blog in January, but moved Evan in sooner than that. So I will back up and tell his story from the beginning.

As usual it started with a phone call.


When Hubby and I talked about whether we wanted to take any more kids any time soon we agreed that if there were gay kids we definitely wanted to meet them and that we might take a one-year (i.e. high school senior) straight kid. We figured that would be a different sort of relationship. We would go into it with less intensity. It would not be about building a parental relationship but more "sure, you can live here -- if you follow the rules. And if you do want to talk to someone, we're here."

We got a call yesterday about a gay boy who is turning 18 in August but has one more year in high school. Apparently he learned about us from David. He talked to his social worker about us -- he even figured out the bus schedule so that he could finish at The City High, though he is willing to go to Our Small Town High if he must. We are told that he clearly understands that living with a family means living by the family's rules -- no matter what age you are.

He has not "disrupted" from a previous placement. He had been in care and was returned to his mother (I don't know how long ago). Her boyfriend hit him and she is now in the justice system (I don't know for what). He has never been in any sort of trouble, though he has had some severe depression (and has had good reason for it). Right now he is living in the teen shelter and he hates it. Most of the kids at the shelter are there because they have been unmanageable in a home and but don't have to go to Detention. They put him there because in just a couple of months he would be 18 so why bother with all that placement stuff?

So he sounds like the sort of youth we had said we could handle. Andrew and Brian surprised me by their willingness to investigate this further. I guess "gay older youth who would be living here but would have a lot of independence from the family" sounds appealing to them -- at least not at all objectionable. I really did expect more hesitation. Hubby had the same reaction too.

I am hesitant because he is a state kid. The person who contacted me works at my agency but she does transition care for them and state kids. He would technically be in the state transition program though his case manager would be one of my agency's people. The case worker knows how reluctant I am to start working with the state and she said she would see if there was anyway she could get him into the permanency program – even though he is so close to his birthday.

I did tell her that I would not get a state license. If the state places him here they would have to do so on the basis of my license from the private agency with which I work, and I don’t think they can do that. I’m nervous and "I know you don't usually do young kids and that you are licensed for only two, but we just had to take in 4 young siblings. Could you find room for them until we can find a more appropriate place?")

I had forgotten until I read this that the whole process had started beause Evan knew about us and asked if he could live here. The initial attitude of the state worker was that was nearly 18, so he could live in the shelter for 4 months and then he would be on his own. Given that most kids don't want to stay in care after their 18th birthday, no one considered placing him with a foster family.

Transition Services in My Area
Evan's Story Part 2: First Steps

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