My social worker came by last week for our monthly visit. Our little "Puddin'" got a little stressed out. It was our second interface with the agency in a couple of days and it worried her. A few days earlier, we'd met a photographer in the bluebonnets. Puddin's worker met us there too, and when Puddin' saw her, she said, "Look. Mommy and Daddy are here with me." In other words, "Don't take me. I belong here." These little encounters are heartbreaking for me. I cannot imagine being three years old and your strongest connection is people you've only known a few weeks. Her worker and I reassured her that we were just going… [more]
I absolutely love being a foster mom...most of the time. I work with a group of caring, admirable caseworkers...most of the time. My plan is to keep doing foster care until the day I die...most of the time. Today is not a "most of the time" day. I want to be done! I want to walk away from all of it and never look back. After all, I have done my part, haven't I? We have been foster parents for over 11 years to over 40 children. I have had birth parents call me horrible names, caseworkers go behind my back and act unprofessionally, and kids who have ensured I have nothing of value left to break in my house. I can walk… [more]
I recently came across an interesting blog post. Well, it is quite an old blog post—from 2007. But it is still just as relevant. It details what foster parents wished social workers knew or did. I won’t copy and paste his whole post—because it is quite lengthy—but I’ll give the main points. Foster parents wished that social workers told them if the teen used drugs or was sexually abused.
- Stop lying to foster parents; both foster parents and social workers should be on the same team. But sometimes, it seems that they’re not.
- Inform the foster parent about the teen’s religious beliefs so the foster family can be respectful and tolerant.
- Most foster parents aren’t in it for the money. But, are
How many times have you heard a foster parent complain about their children’s foster care worker? If your state’s foster care system is anything like ours, then probably too often, unfortunately. It has been our experience during 14 years of foster parenting that foster care workers do not stay at their job for very many years. Many are young, fresh out of college, without children of their own, when they start. They are full of ideas about changing the system or making a difference. They are confident in the parenting techniques they have learned at college and expect you to follow. Then reality sets in. Within a couple of months, their caseloads are filled to an overwhelming capacity because of government cutbacks, vacancies, leaves, and transfers… [more]
If you have been a foster parent for a few years then you may have noticed that there is a lot of turnover in foster care workers. I understand why, but it doesn’t make it any easier on the children, the foster parents, or the families. Foster care is an incredibly stressful job that really doesn’t pay all that well. I have seen help wanted advertisements for foster care workers, requiring a master’s degree, offering less money than a nurse or an accountant would make with an associate degree. What could possibly be more stressful than knowing a child’s future, possibly his life, hangs on your decisions and case management? If you terminate parent’s rights, they call screaming, stalk you, and sometimes threaten to kill you… [more]
The entire foster care system including the caseworkers is struggling to deal with the problems that foster care is facing. I had my fair share of run-ins with caseworkers but I also realize they are also fighting the same system that I am just at a different level. One caseworker has 60 children on her caseload to oversee. Caseworkers are stretched way too thin. Most of these children are not basic care. The monthly visits alone is too much for one person to deal with. The travel distance to see each foster child can be 1 to 2 hour drive for them. Just trying to keep up with the basic paperwork on these foster children must be overwhelming. Some spend two or more hours at home… [more]
Continued........ I have had my fair share of weird caseworkers, ones that try to get involved in everything in your home, ones that we did not agree with on what was best for the child and for the large part we have pretty good caseworkers. I think it just boils down to the caseworker also do not know how to interact with every foster parent. Think about it, sadly not all foster parents have the child’s best interest at heart and want to get fully involved. So, in the beginning I think they are seeing what you are like. Their case over load can make things difficult for them. I had a lot to learn dealing with caseworkers. My biggest problem was that I like to have control… [more]
Continued....... Several months later I was at a bio visit with the above caseworker and case aide, we started talking (since bio’s were late) and we ended up talking for two hours. The caseworker stated that it is a change working with a foster parent like me. I asked, “What do you mean?” He explained that with me he did not have to worry about the child. When I was asked to do something or take care of things, I did. He felt that I truly wanted what was best for the child. Then he said, “You are an easy foster parent, in a good way.” After talking with them I realized that everyone gets involved in foster parenting to different degrees. I personally do what I normally do… [more]
Continued........ The poor guy had the look of a deer in headlights, he started stammerring about how he did not know anything about babies. Him - I do not know what to do with her? Me - Hold her until they get here? Him - I do not know how to hold her. What if she starts crying or needs to be changed? Me - Holding her is the easy part. If she starts crying, walk with her or talk to her. I have just changed her and she will be fine until I get back. I take it your have had infant placements before? Him - I have worked with older children and feel more comfortable with the children in juvenile detention centers than this. Are you sure you cannot stay? Me… [more]
Continued........ I had only one caseworker that I had major issues with, to the point what ever I said she seemed to feel or say the opposite. I foster care through a private agency, so I had my caseworker at that agency to deal with her. The caseworker would tell me something like there was a hold up with the child’s medicaid and then would say she did not know what I was talking about. To deal with this I started corresponding by email which was great because she then put things in writing. Then if things were questioned I would forward the emails to my caseworker at my agency. Granted this is not the best working relationship to help the child but in some cases it… [more]