*SPOILER ALERT*: Watch The Fosters #2.1 and 2.2 before reading.
A 10-year-old and her younger brother enter the social services system. For five-plus years, they move from foster home to foster home—amidst various allegations of abuse and other issues—during which time the girl is arrested and incarcerated…and not once does a social worker, defense attorney, judge, or any other guardian-like adult look at her birth certificate?
With all due respect, The Fosters, I call bulls—.
Although a social worker would likely have no reason to believe that a child’s apparent parents were not, in fact, their parents, common sense says it’s ‘Social Work 101’ to look at the child’s birth certificate—to determine, for example, whether any other family members might be available—BEFORE putting them in the foster care system. Since state resources in this area are often limited, and it only takes a few minutes to check, it seems like the best practice—and, frankly, completely negligent to not do so.
Even if, as is the case on The Fosters, a social worker is primarily focused on keeping siblings together, both children’s birth certificates and other records should be examined to determine all possible options. For all Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Jude’s (Hayden Byerly) social worker knew, Callie’s biological father Robert (Kerr Smith) might have been willing to take Jude too, either with permission from their guardian/his father Donald (Jamie McShane), or by working with social services to become a certified foster care home.
Given the social worker’s (and, therefore, the state’s) negligence in Callie’s case, chances are both Callie and Robert would have a decent lawsuit against the state. Callie never should have been put in the foster care system, so if a jury were to hear her harrowing tale—from abuse by foster-parents and being raped by foster-brother Liam (Brandon Jones), to her multiple run-ins with the law and incarceration—I’d bet the damages number would have more zeros than Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) have kids.
But, all else aside, I just don’t buy that NO ONE would figure out and/or mention Callie’s paternity issue until what was supposed to be the day her familial upheaval ended forever. Despite its liberal reliance on emotional manipulation, The Fosters’ M.O. has always been grounded somewhere near reality. This twist, however, seems way out in right field.
P.S. Locking a ward of the state in their room is considered “acceptable” foster-parent behavior? Really?! If that’s true, well, I really don’t know what to do with that…. #NotOk
P.P.S. Callie never should have been locked in a room by yet another foster-guardian because: (1) It has to be a waste of precious state resources to remove Callie from Stef and Lena’s house, even temporarily, based on a technicality; and (2) Social services hardly has a leg to stand on in a “rules are rules” argument because they actively chose not to provide notice of Stef and Lena’s license’s impending expiration, and THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE PUT CALLIE IN FOSTER CASE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
P.P.P.S. Callie better find a torture dungeon in Robert’s house—with bloody victims chained to the wall—during tonight’s episode…or else the seriously dramatic music and title cards in this episode’s preview were way over the top (and more appropriate for an average episode of Pretty Little Liars or Twisted, in which a torture dungeon would hardly be out of place).
Watch The Fosters (@TheFostersABCF) Mondays @ 9|8c on ABC Family.
Featured Image: © 2014 ABC Family (Photo: Ron Tom)
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