Yesterday 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 investigator who is removing the child calls anyone she can think of to help house the child(ren). The whole system is based on relationships. If he or she cannot find a place, they have a list of CPA contacts and they begin calling them. It’s very random. What this means is that for a small agency like ours, we don’t get that many placements. We get almost no “straight foster care” placements and few legal risk ones.
Texas was supposed to be changing the way the system worked. Regional agencies would be appointed to receive all the calls for their region and they, in turn, would use an equitable system to distribute the calls to the CPAs in their area. The director pointed out I was a bit naive (she was NOT that blunt) to think it would actually work that way! But it matters not because the State, of course, has postponed that initiative. Who knows when — or if — they will ever get around to it!
It’s a shame, too, because we have the most amazing families in our program. It’s all people who truly just want to make a difference. There is no one running a group home or even making their living this way. It’s a Catholic agency and a lot of us are here out of our desire to “let our actions speak louder than our words.”
In the end, the board of directors decided to terminate our partnership with the state. They felt they could no longer afford to underwrite the program which has to be staffed to meet needs even if we never get a call. The State has lost a treasure in this agency. It saddens me to think of the kids who would have gone to some of these amazing families may now wind up in what I call a “warehouse” foster care situation.