Calling the Police
When should I call the police? This is up to you to determine. Just realize that there is no easy solution to bad behavior and calling the police will not make the child act any better. You need a plan of action. Something like I will call the police when .... Fill in the blank. You may be required to call the police if you child destroys your property. You may have to press charges to get the repairs paid by them. You may be required to press charges if one foster child assaults another foster child. If you find yourself in a situation that you can no longer control it might be a time to call the police. For example: your foster child attacks you, it may be that you can handle this assault, this may be a weekly routine for you. You decide how bad the situation needs to get until you call.
More on calling the police...Thoughts on Stealing.
Stealing is always wrong. It is not to be laughed away as being cute. We are not talking about taking a few odds and ends around the home. We are talking about major theft like your car, a pocket book, checkbook, credit cards, toll phone calls, jewelry, etc. This behavior will put a young adult in prison, we need to stop it now. Do not confuse this behavior with a small child(6 years old) stealing a pack of gum from the store. Although stealing gum should still be discussed with the child, you want to treat the more aggressive stealing as a serious bad behavior.
We need to decide at some point what we will do when a child steals. If he steals your car (or the neighbor's car) will you call the Police? If he calls 900 numbers costing you 400 dollars will you call the Police? This is a losing situation. This is not the first time this child has stolen and he may have been stealing from you for awhile. Now you caught them. In their mind, they may think "nothing bad will happen to me" even if you call the Police. What will the Police or Courts do? Nothing? Your decision may end up costing you money and time.
OK you do not believe me, let me explain. You call the Police and report the crime
(the crime doesn't matter, short of murder). The police file charges and even book the child. They photograph and finger print them (your child will love this part, they will brag to their friends). The child returns home after you have waited two hours at the station to pick him up. The child cannot wait to tell his friends what cool things have happened. Next it will take months before you go to Court, and by then it will seem like a year has passed. You may have to testify in court. Your child will need to see an Attorney
(which you will get and take him to, this is more of your time off work). The Judge may give this child a fine, which the child may not be able to pay (who do you think pays it? YOU!). The Judge may sentence him to community service (which you need to drive him to).
Then you deal with all of the new problems associated with this community service. For example, the child is required to work 40 hours at a place with other teens
and adults on probation. This becomes a place to pick up more bad habits. When this whole process is done, you have spent thirty hours directly on transportation from one point to another and preparation. You have spent another thirty hours thinking about it. You see an unrepentant child after this process. You feel totally helpless.
Your mind starts thinking...what can I do to change them? Short of a miracle, nothing. All of the things we do are meant to get the child to want to change. It is the child who must want to change. We cannot do it for them. So we commit ourselves to fight this behavior at every opportunity. We must keep them safe from themselves by setting up a life system where it extremely difficult for them to steal!