“UNFIT, UNABLE, OR UNWILLING.”
by Ray Ferris
author of the book “The Art of Child Protection.”
You can purchase it from him by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
|unfit as in unfit for dwelling|
|'Unable to Fly' by Dean Grey|
Now we come to the topic of special needs children. The parents of such children may be unwilling or unable to care for them or both. Some parents are simply emotionally overwhelmed when they have a severely handicapped child. They may beg the authorities to care for their child, while another parent will insist on giving the care themselves. Some children are so severely handicapped that it seems that institutional care is the only answer. The parent may, or may not wish to retain guardianship functions. Our view on what can be achieved in the home with good support has changed over the years. We used to think that children with Down syndrome should be in institutions, but now we know that home care is the best. I also think that we have to thank some pretty wonderful foster homes who showed us what can be done with some very difficult children.
Many of the challenging children have different sorts of behaviour disorders. Attention deficit disorders, autism, hyperactivity, mental illness, severe retardation and so on. Some parents want to cope with them at home and some do not. Some parents can cope if given a little practical help and support. Respite care is always a help. One of the problems has always been that it is often almost impossible to provide a service in the home, but as soon as a child comes into care one can pour on the help in the foster home. No wonder some social workers think that the best interests of the child involve being a ward, because that way they can tap into the necessary funds. If a parent is willing to look after a challenging child, it is hard to justify apprehension and care.
Ray Ferris is an occasional GPS post writer. Retired now, Ray speaks from 31 years in child welfare and protection as a social worker, district supervisor and family court coordinator. He cannot tolerate injustice imposed upon families by ineffectual case work.