Last week, I got kind of heated about an episode of "Chicago Fire" that dealt with the subject of foster care. Tonight, once again, I was catching up on shows later in the week, and this foster care story line continued.
In last week's episode, a social worker explained that the foster care system doesn't work like that; you can't just pick a child and ask to foster them. I was happy with that answer, hoping that the show would depict foster care in a realistic light. Unfortunately, this week's episode showed me that the show is not actually sticking to real-life scenarios in this story line.
With a cop for a brother, a boyfriend who recently became an alderman, and her fire chief giving glowing recommendations, this fire fighter is somehow getting her background check processed more quickly, getting meetings with top social services workers to plead her case, and even getting to visit with the little boy while he's living in a group home temporarily. After watching this episode tonight, I have a weird feeling that by next week the whole process will be completed and she'll be taking the little boy home with her.
As much as I love "Chicago Fire," and believe me, I really do love it, I'm just not happy with how this story line is progressing. Everything is usually pretty realistic; my mom and I even heard that the writers check with real fire fighters to see how situations would be handled so that things can be depicted accordingly on the show. Yet with this particular plot, nothing seems to be going according to the way it would in real life.
In real life, aspiring foster parents need to go through parenting classes for quite a while, I believe once a week. The background check takes forever, fingerprinting needs to be completed, and you need a few letters of recommendation explaining how you would be a good foster parent. You don't get to hand pick which children you'll be able to care for, and you don't have this immediate "connection" with the foster child because they come to you scared and unsure of what's happening and it takes a while for you to gain their trust.
Aside from that, there was negativity associated with foster care once again tonight, which made me crazy. The little boy had been placed in a foster home (much to the dismay of the fire fighter who wanted to take him in), but then he was sent back to the group home because he was lashing out, kicking and biting and whatnot. Even though he was just three years old, and the calmest little boy whenever he was shown in a scene, the foster family was afraid for the well-being of the other children in the home.
Yes, it's definitely true that you have to look out for all of the children in your care. There are certainly going to be times when something goes wrong and a foster child needs to be placed in another home. But we just had this negative image of foster care last week, when the foster mother was doing drugs and passing out. Now we need to see that foster parents just send kids back when they don't want them? I mean, come on, can't we see something positive for a change? It's a television show... they can spin this however they want! Being part of a foster family is difficult, and challenging, and absolutely wonderful... where's the loving foster family who will be providing for the little boy and giving him the comfort that he needs, even when he's traumatized from what's happened in the past? Why can't we see a story line where a great foster family takes in this little boy, helps him and loves him, and the fire fighter can rest easy knowing that he's in good hands?
Sometimes, I just don't understand the media.
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