Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Train Wreck

Some of you may remember the Children Raised By Wolves across the street from The Big House, whom Fellow Traveler befriended and who do odd jobs for us.

These kids are in a world of hurt, and it's going to get worse.

First of all, their slumlord has sold the property upon which their trailer sits, so the family is going to be evicted within a few months. To compound the problem, their septic system is failing, but they're afraid to tell anyone because they don't want to lose their home even sooner than they expect, or lose the kids to foster care.

Our local public housing authority has a daunting waiting list for family housing...and even if it didn't, the parents balk at the rules they'd have to follow to live there (including ditching their junked vehicles, rabbit hutch and numerous semi-domesticated dogs).

The only family member willing and able to take the family in is Grandma, who lives in another city...with a registered sex offender boyfriend.

Meanwhile the mom and dad -- one of whom is mentally disabled and doesn't have the wherewithal to make responsible decisions, and the other of whom is constantly playing/skirting the system -- have pretty much cashed in all their goodwill chips with the Department of Human Services.

FT also found out that this family took out a $500 loan for kids' Christmas presents, then wound up taking the presents back and pawning them. We've already known that, unless we give the kids their chore money on the sly, their parents take it from them to pay their bills. Mom was recently laid off from her part-time, minimum-wage job, and has decided she doesn't want to work anymore, at anything.

Multigenerational dysfunctional families like this are why idealistic twenty-somethings who become DHS social workers in order to "make a difference" wind up bailing out for private practice where they can instead spend all day listening to whiny middle-class neurotics like me.

FT and I are understandably worried about the kids -- who didn't choose to be born into this train wreck of a family.


Tom in Ontario said...

Is there room for a trailer at The Big House?

P.S. an after-thought said...

Sad reality show.

LutheranChik said...

Well, we already feel as if the family is squatting on our, we can't support a trailer on our place, let alone all the crap they'd want to move over here with it. (We already told them they couldn't store their junked stuff in our garage.)

We give these people a lot of money and goods in kind, both as payment for services and just to be good neighbors. But right now our liberal principles are running into the reality of two adults who either can't or won't get with the program to make a decent life for their kids. Their non-compliance with DHS has hurt them big time, and their stubbornness about changing their behavior in order to qualify for public housing is hurting them big time. In my honest opinion, what the two adults in the household need are life minders, 24/7, who manage their lives for them -- who tell them to get up; who find them jobs and make them go to them; who budget for them; who take care of the kids for them; who keep them from making blockheaded decisions that hurt themselves and their kids. FT and I can't be that for them. And DHS doesn't have the manpower to provide that service.

LutheranChik said...

And I haven't even mentioned the relatives who leech off THIS family's meager resources...they live in a little hovel next to the trailer -- the kids' aunt, her unmarried daughter, unmarried daughter's two little kids and the youngest kid's babydaddy. The daughter got caught for welfare fraud and got kicked off her benefits other than food stamps; babydaddy is disinclined to work; God only knows what the aunt's issues are.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering whether short-term foster care might not be a good option - possibly finally giving the pseudo-parents a wakeup call? - IF the quality of care in your region is likely to be good enough - people who love children taking on extra as a commitment rather than people using the allowances for running a kiddie-farm to supplement their lifestyle. A failing sanitation system in a developed country in 2008 should be a good enough trigger, with all the other troubles, to get the authorities to take action.
Whatever you feel led to do, you may already know that any positive contribution to a child in a difficult/abusive situation is disproportionately helpful and remembered by them. (I've "seen studies" but I was there too and it was true for me)