June 9th, 2008
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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. There isn’t any way they can do the job by the book and only work the 40 hours a week for which they are compensated. Children are returned because of their errors, abused, and returned to care, or worse. They see parents and children who do not respond to treatment regardless of the caseworker’s best efforts. They listen to the parents’ complaints, foster parents’ complaints, and the judges’ complaints.

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After a while, they put in for a transfer to another position or leave social work all together. Who can blame them? Yet, we all know who suffers. However, this past weekend I saw a something a little different. Yes, the worker did transfer out of foster care to protective service after a few years. That part wasn’t different. However, she was not fresh out of college, and she already had a teenage daughter while a foster care worker. I guess she must have really cared about what happened to the children.

She came to an open house for a high school graduation more than 11 years after she was first given the case. She was honestly thrilled to see four of the siblings, all doing well in their forever families and keeping contact with each other.

Photo Credit: 2008 Julia Fuller.

3 Responses to “Do Foster Care Workers Care About the Children?”

  1. cchrflorida says:

    The foster care system should could use some help! I am not sure where you are located, but you may have been watching the Florida newspapers recently and seen the article that spoke about two parents who just adopted two children. They came forward on the day that Governor Crist was talking about adoption. The two parents were appalled at how many psychotropic drugs the children were on when adopted. If anyone has similar concerns, please contact our office at 800-782-2878 or email info@cchrflorida.org. (The Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida). Here is the article about these two parents and their children: http://www2.tbo.com:80/content/2009/jul/22/concerns-over-drugs-and-foster-children-cloud-adop/news-breaking/

  2. abc123s says:

    The people who are working to get a hold of all these children and cause us to hear about these stories are the ones who are abusing children but accusing innocent parents of abuse and terminating rights so they can keep the sick kidnapping business going

  3. native1queen says:

    Dear Mrs. Fuller,
    As a person who grew up in foster homes, i will be the first to say that yes the workers do get out. I have had workers say in there reports that they came to see me and i know they did not because if they did i would have not been locked up in a closet all the time. I am just glad that i had a great juge and a good lawyer who cared about me. Not to mention all the times i was sent to a agencey who had there own workers, what this meant was my real worker did not have to see me all the time. Yes i understood they had alot on there plate for little money. But no child should be forgoten, some times thats what got them in to the system. But i am so glad you found a worker who really did care. I always love to see and hear when there is a happy ending. feel free to stop by my blog @ native1queen.blogspot.com

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