It’s every foster parent’s nightmare — being accused of abusing a foster child.  I read a story this week of one happy ending after new medical evidence cleared a foster mother of breaking a 6-week-old baby’s leg.  I understand her instinct to push for legislation to prevent other parents’ having to go through the same thing, but I’m not sure legislation can overcome human nature.

We know that foster parents do abuse children.  We also know that it is too easy for caseworkers to jump to the most probable conclusion, and to simply check boxes rather than look at each case anew.  Overworked courts and case managers simply push cases through the standard operating procedure, and it takes quite a bit of time and resources to get their attention.

The brutal fact is that unfair accusations is a risk that we take as foster parents.  We can do some things to protect ourselves, but at the end of the day, there will be risks that we cannot avoid.  It is simply one of the possibilities that we need to factor into our decision to care for vulnerable children who often have no one else.


Debbie Ausburn

Helping foster parents and stepparents learn how to be the person who is not supposed to be there.