Sunday, May 25

Deaf Children In Foster Care

This has been heavy on my heart & I hope it opens some eyes. We adopted a hearing child last summer and we are working on adopting our second child who is her Deaf sibling. The largest difference between these two children was with the caseworkers. After many years in foster care, Rebecca got her 1st caseworker who knew a little bit of sign with us. This broke my heart, not because of Rebecca but because of all of the other children in foster care. We have 2 caseworkers, our agency caseworker (who could sign a little) and then a CPS caseworker who knew no sign. We interpreted the conversations between the caseworkers and Rebecca.

This bothered me because we know that there are faults in our foster care system, that is one of the reasons we became foster parents. I was tired of complaining about it and not doing anything about it, so we became foster parents to try to change the lives of some of the children in the system. Many foster care children are being abused and that is why we have monthly visits from the caseworkers. They ask questions, like "how do you like living here" and "how do your parents act when you are in trouble" or "have your parents spanked you"? I'm fine with all of those questions and I'm glad that they ask those questions of my children. When we got Rebecca, those questions were dwindled down to "how do you like living here" and "are you happy here" which again, I am fine with but it got me thinking, "how would children answer that question honestly if there was abuse going on in the home?" Would they say to their parents interpreting, "Last night he came in my room and touched me??" NO! How are the Deaf children supposed to speak out for themselves when the parents are the interpreters and always have to be present??

I don't know how to make these changes, but I think that an interpreter needs to be provided or the caseworkers need to take an sign language class if they are assigned to a Deaf child. Something needs to be done. It breaks my heart to think that these children don't have the same opportunity to speak out for themselves as hearing children do.

12 comments:

Deb Ann said...

It broke my heart, too.

I agree with you and thank you for sharing. It's so important to share. My two deaf friends who are foster have deaf foster kids, too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a real qualified (hopfully RID Certified) interpreter is the only way to go with this one. It's great if the caseworker knows some sign, but that does not mean that knowing the signs for colors and animals means that they can effectively communicate about sexual abuse happening in the home.

Anonymous said...

Have you talked with the caseworker about this? Perhaps if you explained the situation to their supervisor, they would see the need to provide a sign language interpreter for all of their deaf foster children. If it's a government agency, they really shouldn't have a problem paying for this.

Anonymous said...

I have a deaf foster child and i simply refused to interpret for her. I said "i'm sorry, i don't feel comfortable interpreting because this is important and i am clearly biased, as i love this child very much." she has lived with me for over a year and they have never failed to provide an interpreter.

Jana B said...

I don't understand why the state can't just hire an interpreter for the child during interviews with the caseworker! That's crazy.

Inari said...

Keep up the good work.

Sisterlisa said...

I am a hearing parent who has been an interpreter for 14 years. My best friend is deaf as is her little boy. You have a valid concern! The Lord has placed the deaf in foster care and orphanages in my path a few times over the last month. I am praying how the Lord will direct my family. My 3 girls all know sign language. My husband has been learning it too.

Miss Mysterious said...

Doesn't that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act? It is there job to provide an interpreter. You may need make this clear to them and be stern with expecting results.

Linda said...

My heart breaks for all children caught in our foster care system, but especially the deaf children. We have a deaf grandchild and I can't imagine the nightmares these children must go through. My husband and I are very interested in fostering deaf children. I am studying to be an interpreter and able to sign. The problem is I can't seem to locate any information on fostering deaf or locating a child. Can anyone help?

Candice said...

Linda, what state are you in?

Linda said...

I am in Texas.

Linda said...

I am in the state of Texas.