Calling Out the Greats

September 30th, 2012
Posted By: on Foster Care

1207125_promiseI think that one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of watching was a foster mother who intentionally opened her life to foster teens in her area. I have never seen a  woman so willing to deal with the issues and baggage that a teen brings home in order to change a life. This woman used to tell me that her goal was to ensure that the teenagers in her care were given the opportunities that they needed for success. She not only made sure that they got the services that they needed, she also sat with them and made sure that their fully understood their responsibilities. This was good for the teens in her care because… [more]

Foster Care System Frustrations

March 4th, 2012
Posted By: on Foster Care

Dog on goat-gfairyYesterday I had lunch with the director of my foster care/adoption agency.  We coincidentally were at the same training so it was great to lunch with her, my case worker and the adoption case worker.  Our agency is undergoing a change right now, and we will no longer be taking foster-care placements from the state (Texas).  The agency is going back to it's original mission of infant adoption. I was curious about this decision, obviously, since I know the director has a real passion for older-child adoption.  . It was a lengthy conversation but basically, it boils down to this: I've known for some time that the way the state uses CPA's (child placing agencies) for foster care is unfair.  Basically, the… [more]

It Gives Me Chills

September 14th, 2011
Posted By: on Foster Care

1361792_girl_1There are so many kids that are waiting in foster care. Most of them are good kids that are just looking for a chance to grow, learn and live a good life. Yet, there is nothing that can be done to change many of their situations. Their lives have been disrupted. They are often unstable. This is where a foster parent can make all of the difference. When a child's needs become the focus of somebody in their lives- they have a better chance of making decisions that reflect it. The expectation that children will be able to redirect themselves and make proper decisions without a positive adult in their circle is not fair. Without the proper training and encouragement, wisdom is not… [more]

Foster Care Redesign

September 14th, 2011
Posted By: on Foster Care

Thanks to Senate Bill 218, signed into law last June, foster care in Texas is undergoing some needed changes. While these changes may make life different for those of us who provide foster care, I think they will vastly improve the experience of the children in state care.  Perhaps the positive outcomes of these changes will encourage other states to follow suit. As recently as 2008, 60% of the foster kids in Texas were placed outside their home county.  If you don't happen to be from Texas, you may not realize counties in Texas are big! Sometimes that meant children were placed hundreds of miles from home and their support systems.  The program called Foster Care Redesign addresses that issue and many others.  If you are interested in the complete plan… [more]

Caseworkers: The Good and the Bad

February 1st, 2011
Posted By: on Foster Care

1237611_teamwork_2In any profession you have your people who excel at what they do. They feel, in a sense, called to their jobs. They often view it as a mission or fulfilling their destinies. While they may become stressed with the details of their jobs. Overall, they found it and life to be enjoyable and worth doing well. Then you have the opposite side of the coin. People who are there for the paychecks. They clock out at five and do not think about work again until after their first coffee break in the morning. I have dealt with both types of caseworkers as a foster parent. Some really care for the children and families they are working with. You can feel of their concern… [more]

A Brief History of the United States Foster Care System

January 26th, 2010
Posted By: on Foster Care

1215912_paper_chain_in_the_darkThe foster care system has been around for quite a while. While it didn’t start out as we know it today, it had similar goals and motives. You may be surprised at how United States foster care all began and how it has progressed since its earliest days. English law established in 1562 allowed children from poor families to be placed with wealthy families—as indentured servants. Once the children became of age, they were allowed to go and live their lives as their own. While this type of servitude was an upgrade from its predecessor, it obviously wasn’t the best situation for the child. Previous to this arrangement, orphaned children were placed in almshouses. There, they did not learn a trade—which was critical… [more]

When Foster Children Begin Extended Parental Visits

May 8th, 2008

A challenging time in fostering children is during the transition home period. Usually, if the children have been in foster care for at least quite a few months, then extended visitation usually precedes the return home. The children will begin by spending a night or two over the weekend with their parents. The foster parent still has the major portion of responsibility for the children. If the children are in school, then the foster parent will continue to make sure they attend and do their homework. Foster parents will continue to make appointments for the children and take them to the appointments. However, the children begin to view their parents as the people in charge of them and may refuse to obey the foster parents or… [more]

Foster Child Goals for Reunification

April 28th, 2008
Categories: Court, Paperwork, The System

As strange as it may sound, even foster children are given goals in the reunification plan. The foster children, like their parents, are expected to make progress towards their assigned goals. Their progress is reviewed every 90 days by the court at the review hearings. The goals for the children vary depending on their ages, developmental levels, and needs. It is up to the foster parents and caseworkers involved in the case to assist foster children in achieving most of their assigned goals. This is because most foster children do not have a car or a driver’s license to transport themselves to assigned therapies or activities. Even if the children were old enough to utilized public transportation, they would still need to be provided with proper… [more]

The Review Hearing for Your Foster Child

April 23rd, 2008
Categories: Court, The System

Once a child has entered the foster care system a review hearing must be held every 90 days. Information must be submitted to the court at these review hearings about the parents’ progress towards the reunification goals. The reunification goals are established at the beginning of the case, usually when a foster care worker is assigned to the case, after the adjudication hearing. I will cover reunification goals more thoroughly tomorrow in another blog. The child has goals established to achieve while in foster care, as well. The child’s progress towards those goals is reviewed at these hearings, too. Review hearings may conducted by a magistrate. The child is assigned a court appointed attorney before the adjudication hearing. The attorney for the child is called the… [more]

The Permanency Planning Meeting for Your Foster Child

April 21st, 2008
Categories: Court, Paperwork, The System

If you have provided foster care for children then you already know that every 90 days the case progress has to be reviewed by the court. If the children remain in care for 12 months then the case progresses to permanency planning status, for the children’s long-term goals. This is because regular foster care is meant to be a short-term answer to family crisis. Many studies have proven that children, who just age out of foster care without either being adopted or returned home, do not fare well in adult society. The courts, in their wisdom, have concluded that within 12 months a family should be able to work through their crisis. Unless there have been extenuating circumstances in the case, this will be the… [more]