I didn’t forget about you!

Thanks for all the love on the Valentine’s picture!  I really can not believe how stinking cute they are.  While I’m away from them, I stare at their pictures and get taken aback.  In awe, humbled, and grateful for the beauty that fills my life. 

The past couple weeks have been quite the whirlwind.  There has been lots of sickness (poor RB being the recipient of most), teething, case progress, hours in the therapists’ office, and a stint in sunny Florida on business.  I’m ready for life to slow down a bit…maybe I can look forward to that in approx 3 to 4 years?

Now to finish up a couple of those outstanding questions:

Q. If you could change 3 things about the child welfare system, what would you change?

A.  I feel woefully inexperienced to make an educated answer on this one, but I’ll take a stab at it, with the understanding that in 10 years from now, I’d probably have an entirely different set of answers.

1) Redistribution of funds.  The foster care system in my small state has a huge budget, but where is all that money going? Certainly not to the social workers.  We all complain about being overworked and underpaid, but social workers really do win that crown.  They have such an important job, but don’t have the proper motivation and support to do it well (forgive the sweeping overgeneralization).  Less files and higher pay would allow social workers to support the children in their caseload in the way that serves everyone best.

2) Open lines of communication/give foster parents more rights.  You all know the way we struggle with lack of information on this case – its been the thorn in our side all  the way through.  Foster parents need to be trusted with case information.  We also need to have more rights to care for the children in our home.  Just before Christmas sweet little Daisy was so sick and her pediatrician needed an x-ray of her chest asap – she was hoping for within the hour.  Instead, thanks to ridiculous hoops, it took me more than 24 hours to get the authorization.  That was 24 extra hours before they could begin treatment.  I’ve never been more frustrated, angry, and scared in my entire life than I was during that time.  A tiny 3 week old – my daughter – was sick and couldn’t breathe and my hands were tied to get her the care she needed.  All I could do was walk and bounce and kiss and pat while she screamed and screamed.  No mother should ever have to feel that helpless.

3) More oversight.  This goes back to #1, but due to the overwhelming amount of work, supervisors are just not able to have a good handle on all of their employee’s files.  The amount of power each social worker has over the outcome of the cases scares me (though they’d probably disagree).  I’d like more round-tabling and more joint decision-making.

If any fellow foster parents would like to take a stab at this question, I’d love to hear your input.  What would you change? What do you think of mine?

Q. Are you able to leave the kids with your parents or another adult like you would if they were your own? Or would those people have to get licensed, too? What about for a few hours (babysitting)?

A.  The rule on the books is that we’re not allowed to have any babysitters that have not been approved by DCF.  Also, unless it’s another foster home, the children are not allowed to be watched in someone else’s house under any circumstances.  We can get someone (family member, friend, ect) approved to watch the kids in our house, but it requires approval by congress.  Okay, not really, but it does require finger printing, doctor statement, references, background checks, a stack of paperwork an inch thick, and approval by 3 different people at DCF.  Needless to say, we haven’t had a date night in a very long time.

And that’s today’s installment. On the horizon is my incredibly informal cloth diaper post for Mama Monica!

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3 Comments to “I didn’t forget about you!”

  1. Welcome back. 🙂 Your three things are interesting. I’d really like to know where the money goes too!! Regarding caseworkers having power… it’s funny, because at least in NYC, caseworkers have a lot of power over day-to-day decisions, but decisions easily flip into the hands of lawyers and judges and then all of a sudden caseworkers have no say at all.

    Poor Daisy (and you!) with no court order. 😦

  2. Wow. This is very interesting. Thanks for writing this. Number two is very shocking. Even as a camp counselor, if a kid got hurt, we had the ability to take them to the hospital, get X-Rays, etc. This is shocking and disgusting. Another example of kids suffering for red tape.

    And no babysitters–wow! As I read so many of these blogs, especially yours, I think, “could I handle that?” “What would that be like?” It is really sad that two of the hardest things for me to handle are fixable. Kudos to you, again. I wish I lived nearby, and could get licensed just to give you a break!

    So, does that mean no play dates, either, unless you stay at the house with them?

  3. Erat – the good news is that from what I’ve heard, other states are much more reasonable on the babysitter front. And yes, we have to be present for play dates but that’s not really been a problem since the kids are young and its expected at this point anyway.

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