I put my foot in my mouth today.
I have been following the Marcus Fiesel case with my hands over my eyes not wanting the details but not able to stop reading and listening to stories about him. I was speaking with a woman about the fact that Marcus was taken from his mother and put into a tragic situation and how the mother is now suing Butler County for placing him in the care of such terrible people. I made the comment that she lost her right to have a say in his life and she should not have rights in his death. Furthermore, if she is going to blame Butler County she must take responsibility for her part in his death. Had she been a good mother – no had she been an average mother Marcus would not have been in foster care. After letting me rant for a few moments the woman looked at me and said, “A few months ago my kids were placed in foster care because I spanked them. I don’t think I was a bad parent, but the authorities did. It could have been me, it could have been my child.”
I did not know what to say. I was at a total loss for words. I still stand by what I said, but I do wish I had been more considerate of her feelings. I had no idea of her situation and point of view. I was harsh. I was angry.
The entire situation is tragic and there is more than enough blame to spread around. The Carroll family should never have been on the foster parent list to begin with. The social worker should have noticed the neglect. The neighbors should have noticed that something was wrong. The mother should have taken responsibility for her child. Nothing will bring Marcus back.
We can only look to the future. What can we do to prevent this from happening to some other child? What changes can we make to the system? What can we do as neighbors and members of the community to help foster children and their foster parents? What can we do for parents to prevent the need of foster care?
The Child Abuse Prevention Network