Can an employer force a single mother to place her child in foster care?

Question by Walter Ford II: Can an employer force a single mother to place her child in foster care?

Is this the norm or just an isolated incident? I can’t believe she was “told” to place her child in it.

Wouldn’t it had been simpler to force the child’s father to care for his son instead of forcing a mother to place her child with strangers looking to adopt a baby.

I can only imagine the headache she would have trying to get her child back when she returned.

Best answer:

Answer by Shannon W
Wow, no! I can’t believe this. I am in the Army and I would stay back as well if I had no one to care for my child. I am almost in the same situation. My husband is deploying soon and there is word that I may deploy. Well, we don’t have anyone to watch our daughter so I would refuse to deploy like that female did in the article you posted. I don’t think that she should have to put her child in foster care but its amazing what the Army can force someone to do. Its ridiculous… I hope she doesn’t get in trouble.

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15 Responses to Can an employer force a single mother to place her child in foster care?

  1. Pippin says:

    The military is not a ‘normal’ employer. Any single parent in the military (or a couple where both are in the service) MUST make arrangements for the care of his/her children should they be deployed. A single mother is not allowed to opt out of deployment just because she’s a single mother.

    (Also, you seem to have a misunderstanding of foster care. Foster care is NOT the first step to adoption, unless the woman has agreed to surrender her parental rights, or has had them take away by the courts. (Always a VERY long and arduous process.) Neither one of which was the case here. If she had put her child into foster care, she would have had NO trouble getting him back.)

  2. Ferbs says:

    This is not the usual “employer” but the general answer to your question is: Of course not.

    Sounds like her child care plans were compromised just before deployment and this was very last minute. We need to wait for the outcome before we can make a final conclusion on the “ethics” of what the employer does.

    Sounds to me like the employer has a clear outline of what is expected of single parents who may be deployed and although I don’t think the original choice this mother made was reasonable (her mother was already overwhelmed with an ailing mother and all those kids), it sounds like she did try to follow protocol.

    I too, would have risked court martial (sp?) to ensure my child was not placed in jeopardy or foster care (as in “taken away”).

    P.S. The child’s father is not involved. Even if he paid child support he can’t be “forced” to “be there” for this child so NO it would not be easier.

    AND ADOPTION is not even part of this scenario. On that point, you are misrepresenting.

    But this is a great link and story to keep track of.

  3. smarmy says:

    I know a few people who were tricked into that foster care arrangement thinking that their children were going to be cared for TEMPORARILY, and their rights were terminated and their children adopted right out from under them. So don’t believe everything you hear about foster care temporary care situations either.

    In regard to the situation of the military, it said if she would have shown up with her child she wouldn’t have been deployed. Not sure i believe that either. always a chance they would have called protective services and had the child removed right there on the spot and deployed her anyway. I think she did the right thing, and i hope the investigation proves that her commanding officer misspoke.

  4. Rosie says:

    Actually, the Gulf War in 1991 caused a huge uptick in foster care placement with families scattering every which way as soldiers were deployed. Mothers and Fathers were both send out.

    We were living near Oceanside, CA when it started, (Camp Pendelton is near by) and it was a huge mess. Child abuse and neglect went through the roof.

    We truly do not do right by our soldiers. We could have planned it better and provided services. (tsk)

    They will place the baby with a family friend or close relative other than her mom. When you volunteer a child into foster placement, you do not lose your parental rights at all. Or I should say, you are not supposed to.

    During the war years, an entire generation can be placed with strangers for safekeeping for the duration. My grandmother-in-law took in a full house of foster children who had been placed with her by the parents so they could work round the clock in a military munition plant. They saw the children on one weekend a month.

  5. sizesmith says:

    This is a prime reason why people who enter the military must have an accepted plan for childcare when they go in.

    I watched this on the Atlanta news a few minutes ago, and was appalled. First of all, as a taxpayer, I’d rather see this woman stay home and take care of her child, because the system doesn’t need a child who doesn’t NEED a home in foster care.

    But, at the same time, I’m also appalled that a single parent is in the service, taking tens of thousands in training to defend our country, who can’t go and do just that. If she wishes to stay in the service, she needs to do something quick. At this point, she needs to not be getting the benefits of all the service offers. Perhaps there’d be a military family, in her same unit, that a caregiver might need some extra income, and she could pay for child support while she’s deployed.

    Also, to the question asker here. Not all foster parents want to adopt. MANY are in it just to temporarily take care of children, as we were when we first took in not only children, but also took care of young mothers. At the same time, as a single parent, she could get out of the service to take care of her child. I’d also like to know where is this child’s father??????

  6. grapesgum says:

    If the employer is the US military, yes, they can.

    The mother acted appropriately to protect her child. She made plans for her deployment which fell through at the last minute. Foster care is a dangerous backup plan for her as a single mother. There are some very wonderful people who do foster care because they want to help children, however, there are a significant number who do it as a business and basically warehouse children for the state. Also, I expect that she would have had a hell of time getting her son back when she returned.

    ETA – What Redbook1 said – that’s how it goes down. The mom in this case knows that she will likely lose her son if he goes into foster care.

  7. UH-LISS-UH says:

    this is wrong.
    someone should not even be allowed to ask a mother to do that.
    hey can you please make your son go live with strangers when you risk your life?
    uhm just say no.

  8. Redbook1 says:

    There was a questioner here a few weeks ago who had placed her child with the child’s grandmotherr on the advice of an army recruitment person, and the grandmother had sued and adopted the child. The mother has no right to ever see her child again. So, yes it happens.

    Where I live, if you “abandon” a child in foster care for 90 days or more — for whatever reason — the State can severe your rights and get a permanent care order on grounds that you abandoned your child. The foster parents can sue for custody. “Permanency planning” for children is the motive: get them into a permanent “forever family” ASAP. The judgement is that if the mother has surrendered her child to foster care (child protective services) she is obviously unfit to parent (otherwise she would not have done it).

  9. R says:

    As far as the military is concerned they don’t care if you are a single parent have a sick spouse or what ever when it is time for deployment you must go. Many many soliders are sent while their wife is pregant or just delivered when it is your time it is your time. You know that going in and before you have kids. You have to have a back up plan for that child they don’t care what it is just need one. They can’t force the father to parent they can only force you to go and if you don’t you get arrested like she did

  10. Commercials are Brainwashing says:

    The service(Military, Navy, Airforce, Maries,) will not deploy a parent when there is no where for a child (ren) to go or they will extend time for the person to find a suitable caretaker . There was a way to go about this and unfortunately this mother did the wrong thing. She needed to contact a superior officer other then the one that told her just to place the baby in foster care. The mother should have had a Plan B.

    As far as the father we know nothing about him he may not be a suitable person to care for the child.

    To try and force someone to take care of a child when they don’t want too could lead to disaster. The child could end up being neglected or worse. For all we know this little boys father may not have the patients to be a parent. Then the child is the one that will suffer and even possible yes could be killed. Only a few months ago a toddler in my area was killed by his father (yes biological) apparently the baby was not doing something fast enough for daddy so he flung him across the room, this happened more then once. Plus at this point the father is a stranger because he is not involved in the child’s life and we don’t know if he has ever been involved in the child’s life.

    Also please understand that not all foster parents are looking to adopt. If this boy was placed in temporary foster care his foster parents would know that it was only for a year or so because his mother is serving the country.

  11. matkaantytto says:

    Absolutely NOT. That is 100% illegal

  12. BabyBoy Due 1.11.2010 says:

    This article makes me sick. The army is in the wrong here. If someone told me to place my child in foster care i would laugh in their face. no way would i willingly abandon my child. this is sick. i hope this women does not get in trouble.

  13. SJM says:

    Even if the father wanted the baby, many service members lose their children to non-custodial parents while deployed. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act doesn’t seem to apply to child custody cases. The problem isn’t at all uncommon. If it were me, I sure as heck wouldn’t leave a baby in foster care, either. If custody cases can proceed during a deployment, I wouldn’t know why TPR would be any different. I wouldn’t personally take the chance. This mother was in a bad position. I hope things work out for her.

  14. gibson.samantha23 says:


  15. Jennifer L says:

    I haven’t read a whole lot about this,but I was under the impression that a serviceman/woman could request a family hardship discharge.

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