Hey, guys. Long-time reader, first-time asker here!
Prior Research Topics/Sources: foster care, foster homes, orphans, foundlings, abandoned children, non-citizen children abandoned in states, adoption, sixteen-year-old orphans, foundling citizenship, accents in developing children, memory in five-year-olds, when children learn parents' names, posts in this comm's custody & social services tag
I'm fleshing out the timeline of a work of original fiction that's set in present day California, specifically the Bay Area. The timeline in question spans from 2003 to now. Although if shifting the timeline forward or back by a few years would help the believability of this timeline, that'd be okay. The story is just ambiguously contemporary.
The following is the backstory I have planned for an original character:
At five years of age (2003), this character is abandoned by his parents in a park in California. He has no identification and speaks with a British accent. His parents have left the country and are never found. (First concern: Would this be enough cause to believe that the child is British? Would he be deported? If not, would he be made an American citizen?)
From the age of five to the age of sixteen (2003 to now), he lives in various foster care programs--group homes and foster families. He's never adopted and doesn't usually stay in one foster home or group home. He's well behaved, but still viewed as something of a difficult child with a couple "problems" like undiagnosed ADHD and dyslexia. (Second concern: Is this scenario overly improbable? For a child to remain unadopted? For a child to be moved from home to home rather frequently?)
At the age of sixteen (now), he begins to live on his own. He continues to attend high school (though at a new school), works a part-time job, and receives some financial support from government programs. (Third concern: Would a sixteen year old in this situation receive government support? Research results have been a bit split on this.)
TL;DR Summary of Questions:
1. If a five year old with a British accent is found abandoned in California and his parents are never found, would he be made a citizen and/or placed in foster care?
2. Is it unbelievable for a child to be bounced between various foster homes and group homes from the ages of five to sixteen without being adopted?
3. Would a sixteen year old who's left foster care to live on his own receive financial support from the government?
Extra (not custody/foster care related) Questions:
4. I intend for this character to purposefully keep his accent as a way to remember his parents. If he tries very hard to keep the accent, would it be possible considering he lives in the States from the time he's five? (subject: accent)
5. He also doesn't remember his parents. If he was five when they left, if it likely that he would genuinely have no memory of what they look like and whatnot? (subject: memory)
6. Would it be possible for a five year old to know his parents only as Mom/Dad and nicknames they call each other, and not know his parents' real names? (subject: memory)
7. Is anything out about this timeline completely outlandish? Anything else I should rethink/retool?
Thank you all so much!
- Foster Care Procedures for Abandoned Child from Age 5 to 16