When my wife and I decided to be good Samaritans and intercept my cousin on his way to a group home, we naïvely thought that with the support from Manitoba CFS, we would be more than capable to offer the care and discipline he desperately needed. We couldn’t have been more wrong. In terms of receiving support that is.
Let me stress than monetary recompense was never a reason in our decision. As a matter of fact, it is more of a financial burden than it is a windfall. If you have a teen-aged boy you would know.
Our first few weeks of being Foster Parents went well. We had regular sessions with our CFS case worker. We were made to feel that they would be there if we ever ran into any problems. We didn’t expect it to be a breeze, even with three kids of our own.
We soon found that our new son’s scholastic performance was at a grade five level. He was in grade nine. Without hesitation, we contacted CFS to find out how we could get him into a program for upgrading, maybe also provide funding or at least help to defray the cost. We were shocked to learn that not only did they not have any such programs but were also unwilling to assist in any way. We ended up enrolling him in Saturday classes at a cost of almost $110 per session. (When it was time to do our taxes, we found that we couldn’t even claim this cost).
According to CFS, money is an issue hence the lack of financial support for many programs. I understand that but what I don’t get is the speed in which they were able to get our foster son a mentor to take him out once in a while for a couple of hours. Coincidentally, the mentor cost more than his tutoring. Heck, the mentor made more than the parent he even got more than we did for keeping him full-time. (Not that I’m complaining, mind you but what is priority?)
Our foster son is also seeing a child psychologist who has some reservations about his mental acuity and has tried to schedule some tests for a few months now. CFS has not been exactly eager to assist him in this regard either. More dead ends.
A month ago, we had some issues with our foster son that drove us to the edge. We were ready to call it quits and called our case worker for an intervention. We left him a voice message stating how dire the situation was and that we were ready to throw in the towel. He did not come with tires squealing in our driveway. In fact he did not come at all nor did he return our call. It’s a good thing it wasn’t THAT dire.
It brings to mind the case of Phoenix Sinclair. This five year old was in the care of CFS and was murdered by her parents. She was not even missed for nine months after her death! I am not saying they are to be blamed but I am saying they dropped the ball when it came to being there for her.
There are other instances where we have found CFS to be more of a hindrance than a help. (I hate to be so harsh but it’s the truth). Maybe we expected too much from them? Maybe others have more flattering stories? Maybe they are pushed thin by lack of Government funding thus handicapping their ability to provide proper services? I don’t know. What I do know is that whatever it is, it leaves a lot to be desired.