A look behind the scenes

A crisis day

Police contact CIT. It’s about an 11-year-old boy. He has been living in foster care for 10 years. For years there was minimal contact between him and his mother. After secretly having had contact, the choice was made to reestablish contact. Unfortunately, this has not gone well recently so he has not been able to see his mother again for some time. Mother’s influence on him is not always positive.

The boy has trauma disorders, attachment disorder and signs of borderline would be seen, however, due to age, this cannot be determined. He seeks a lot of attention on social media, among other things. For example, he has shared self-harm and other (sexually) transgressive videos on social media. The boy runs away a lot, but usually he is then quickly found again.

Last week, the boy again ran away from the foster home. He has run away with an older friend with whom he is not allowed to hang out because of all sorts of troubles with the boy’s foster brother. Police, after some searching, eventually find the boy along with this older girl. Police then made contact with the boy’s already involved social services and the foster family, as arranged. Social Services refers the police back to the foster family. It was agreed not to go along with the boy’s excessive behavior and thus return him to his foster parents. Police switched with (foster) father, who was then quickly on the scene. The moment police escorted the boy, along with his foster father, to the car, he became verbally and physically aggressive. Police tried to place him in the passenger seat of the foster father’s car, but this proved almost impossible. He continued to balk and scold toward his foster father who was at a complete loss. When the boy arrived home, the foster mother still refused to accept the boy into the family. She indicated several times that the situation with her foster son had become untenable. They no longer want him as a foster child, because it breaks down their own family. Left or right, the boy would no longer come in. Police tried to mediate, but there was no way forward with the foster mother. Police ultimately chose to take the boy back to the station to ask CIT for an assessment.

CIT goes to the scene and tried to contact (foster) mother and (foster) father en route in the car, both are unreachable. Next, contact is made with counseling services. They believe that foster parents really will not take the boy back into their home now. There is no possibility of shelter in one’s own network. With the biological mother, there would also be insufficient security for the boy. Furthermore, there are attachment problems and he now creates unsafe situations himself.

Later consultation with foster parents is still possible. They indicate that the situation has really become untenable. If he comes home now he will run away again immediately. He is too messed up with himself and wouldn’t even consider life. They indicate that outpatient services are no longer sufficient to ensure safety. Furthermore, there is also assistance regarding the boy’s extreme sexually transgressive behavior, which is also of serious concern.

The CIT then engages the boy in conversation. He mostly sits in varying postures from cozy chatter to shooting into resistance. He explains that although the relationship with foster father is good, he believes that foster mother does not want to help him. He experiences not being welcome anymore. He indicates that going home is not an option now, it is no longer possible.

Since there has been an impasse in which the boy does not want to return home under any circumstances and foster parents indicate they will not take the boy back into their home under any circumstances, the decision has been made for now to place the boy for an overnight crisis.

The impasse described is one that CIT has increasingly faced over the past year. (Foster) parents increasingly report that a (even young) child is no longer welcome at home. Of course, it should not be underestimated that parents do not make such a decision just like that, there is almost always a lot that goes into it. Still, it remains an extremely complex issue, because (custodial) parent(s) do have and retain full responsibility for the child. If you add to that the fact that crisis spots are extremely scarce and sometimes unavailable due to a huge amount of youth problems, the question of ”Who has or takes responsibility for the child?” arises again and again.

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