Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cute baby

Couple of months ago I "babysat" at the office. Sometimes when another worker has a removal we have kids at the office for a bit while they get the paperwork together or wait for a foster parent to come pick them up. I tend to voluteer for this when I'm around, playing with a kid is much better then paperwork! It also gives me some opportunity to learn a little bit more about the kids to share with the foster parents, especially the ones who come without a lot of info. Kids come to the office in all different ways. This one was from a drug raid and didn't even have a name at first (were able to figure it out as the family had been involved previously and got more info from parents).

The baby was not really distressed, willing to play with me, or whoever was around. Ready to laugh and enjoy the attention. Oh he was sooo cute. Big fat cheeks, big eyes, and curls! Needed a bath desperately but still would take him home in a heart beat. I got out a toy xylophones and it was interesting because when I played it, he would cover his eyes. I wasn't sure if he was playing peekaboo, or what. Didn't really seem to distress him but it was odd enough that I mentioned it to the worker. Worker wondered if it was cause he was high when they picked him up. His eyes were all dialated from the second hand meth and who knows what else. They were looking better when we were playing, but that may be why he was so ready to be having a good time and not really worried about what was going on. He was enjoying throwing up blocks in the air and giggling at cars going down a track. Can't imagine detoxing a 18 month old. It'll be interesting how his drug test comes back.

He was also just in a diaper and frosty (partly why he needed a bath) when picked up (and it was still winter). So I picked out an appropriate boy baby quilt for him to tuck around him in the car and he liked it. Not speaking to much but he rubbed it against his cheek. I share this because I know there are people out there who donate those blankets and other items for our kids just for cases like these. so THANKS!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Been a long time.... I've still been following some of the blogs but didn't feel up to posting anything. Things continue on about the same. I got piled on with a lot of cases and that takes quite a bit out. My numbers are somewhat down again which means I'll be getting more soon. Seems to come and go in waves. With my numbers down I should be catching up, but I still don't seem to get any where very fast. Takes time to close or transfer cases so I'm just as far behind on my day to day stuff. I've been working on old logs.... caught up through Aug 09. oh well. I'm trying to get caught up so i'm only a month or so behind by the end of Feb. my organizational skills are sadly lacking :)

I just got a great new case from a different division. Dad threatened the previous caseworker and strangly other worker's car windows were broken same night that a kin provider of said case expereinced same vandalism. Oh so glad the powers that be thought this would be a good case to give me. yep. the single caseworker who is the last to leave at night and is often there on days the office is closed. nice. so far things have gone ok. moved kids to an out of the way foster home. limit my communication with dad to emails. mom is off her rocker but seems harmless other then not being able to care for more then one kid at a time (too bad she's got more then one!). Dad has sued me, and that will be heard before the court, also had a couple of investigations on me and foster parents. i did break protical and shared a picture of dad with my housemate because if dad is around my house, they need to call 911. Dad is antisocial and pretty smart so i don't know how this all will end. doesn't matter so much about me, but i sure worry about the kids. even so i'd prefer not to die any time soon. i may be being a bit melodramatic, but the guy is really scary.

Sister blew her adotive home a couple of months ago. I've still got some hope though that we may be able to salvage something. I don't understand how this happens. i explained over and over Sister's behaviors. the homestudy worker explained over and over, the previous providers explained over and over, the therapist explained over and over. i guess they heard what they wanted to and thought she would act differently for them.

Greg made a huge turnaround after my last post. he is still in his placement. he calls them mom and dad now. he is no longer in a behavioral classroom at school. I guess he just needed a family to commit to him no matter what. that and medication has made a huge difference. he is growing into such a fine young man and i wasn't ever sure that would happen. wow.

Been some interesting talk here at dcfs about the haiti crisis and the orphans. at one point they said a plane was in the air bringing in a bunch of little kids and they needed help. everyone that i know is willing to do whatever is needed, but I doubt that the adoption agencies will want dcfs involved beyond providing basic caseworking needs. I don't know much about all that, but it does seem crazy to me. dcfs doesn't charge $20,000+ for adoptive parents. dcfs pays attorney's fees, pays for the family to care for the kid until adotion, and often has a small adoption subsidee after the adoption (I know its should be more!) which is as it should be since the state has an obligation to the kids. I guess none of that matters right now. just helping the people there.

i'd be more then willing to take a child if they have an extra one :) i'm sure there will be lots more families then kids.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Any ideas?

Any ideas out there? Greg has attachment issues, I wouldn't say RAD levels. Anyways he is on some new meds and doing really well. He earned tons of priviledges the last couple of weeks (after a horendous month), but at his bday celebration he ran off. Typicall for him when he was found, he ranted at foster mom saying he didn't want to come home or live with them, etc. It was better this time because when he came back from respite over the weekend he wasn't all attitude. He was able to talk to his foster dad afterwards about how he jsut didn't know what to do with the feeling of being wanted. Anyways I'm wondering if any of you awesome moms have any ideas to help with this behavior. Still looking at adoption for him with this family which is a relief because 3 times this past month looked like he would blow it. He has too much power in this situation, but fotunately was able to decrease that a bit and help him maintain the placement. I do think that finalizing the relationship will help and make things rougher all at the same time.

This is my blog so I can whine all I want. I'm tired. I'm falling further behind and there is no end in sight. I don't know how much longer I can last. I don't know that I'm able to provide the casework that needs to be done on each of my cases. I ponder what my road should be from here. There is some good news. I got all my homevisits in for last month before the 10th. Whoohoo go me. A couple of other cases have come to resolutions which while not perfect, are good and thats an outcome I can be greatful for!

Monday, July 13, 2009

just keeps on going

Nothing too new going on for me. Some cases are going better, others not so much. Close some cases, get some new ones. I left for a vacation and Suzie moved foster homes while I was gone. Its very frustrating when a foster home asks for a kid to be moved when they are exhibiting the behaviors that were very throughly laid out before placement. Suzie has made improvements in some areas but continues to struggle with stuff that won't make for a very successful life.

Greg is continuing on with criminal behaviors. Not sure if he is going to end up in DT or a group home but at this rate he isn't going to be able to stay in his foster home.

Little Jamie's coming up for permanency in a couple of weeks. Dad is still in jail, mom was kicked out of drug court and overdosed a few times, but is now in a private treatment center and is starting work on her service plan. So eventhough its soooooo last minute, still will probably recommend continuing reunification until the 12 month mark as thats what the AG in their courtroom likes to do.

Celest is not happy with staying where she is. Its a tiny little town and everyone knows everyone and so she can't really get away with anything. She was so adament about not going with what looked like a great option a couple of months ago, but all of a sudden changed her mind last week. hmmmm wonder why? then she proceeded to tell foster mom, therapist, and me that she had always wanted to do that. Not going to get away with that sister. We were all there in the last two team meetings where you talked about how that was the last thing you ever wanted to do. I felt bad telling her its no longer an option. Even though I'm evil I don't like making people cry.

Ashton had his team meeting today. He is doing well and so doesn't get a lot of notice on my blog. I mention him because my new supervisor came in at the end of our meeting. That was weird. My old supervisor would only come to the "icky" ones, even though she was invited to all of them. She was really laid back and so its going to take some getting used to.

Still lots of drama with Sister and the issues between foster mom, adoptive mom, and the agency. I get tired of people asking me for direction, then ignoring it, then getting upset when things aren't going their way. I feel like telling people it doesn't matter what I think you should do since you're going to do whatever you want to anyways! I get very frustrated because although I don't know everything, I've actually had more experience then the average person off the street. Its good that these people care and are trying to do what they feel is in the child's best interest, but I actually know what I'm talking about! I've been sister's case worker for 4 years and so although I'm not going to adopt her, I know quite a bit about her, her needs, her history, her patterns of behaviors, etc. grrrr

I'm not happy with either of my new in-home cases. both are not following through, and in huge denial. I'm thinking I like out of home better then in home cases, but maybe its because these two are just not going to get better any time soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

This week I went to a meeting with foster parents. I actually enjoyed it very much. Its good to get another perspective, and hang out with some people who aren't completely jaded with the system....yet.

There was one family that related a horror story where their caseworker was determined that that family should not have the kids. It was so bad, that I wondered if it was completely accurate. Don't get me wrong, I know some workers in my region sare pretty ineffective, and somewhat incompetent. This makes me really mad and I think they should be fired, but as its a government agency, thats not going to happen. However, with that said, I've yet to meet anyone truely evil (other then myself of course, being the evil social worker) with bad intentions, and trying to harm the kids.

I looked up this case. I know this worker. This worker is more bio family oriented then myself, giving parents more chances to get things together then I would, but we both work within the same system and policies, so its only on the really gray cases that we would recommend different outcomes to the court. In the case, its pretty obviouse that this worker did everything she could to help the bio family get their act together,. However, they failed and she did move onto the concurrent goal of adoption.

I don't know where the disconnect happened between the worker and the foster family. The logs weren't that clear but from emails back and forth it appeared that there was mutal respect, and pretty good communication for most of the time the kids were there. Several times the worker suggested resources, and helped the foster family with these children going through normal (for foster children) behaviors and reactions. This isn't to say that these behaviors are easy to deal with, but you can't expect children who have been abused, neglected, and now going through loss and grief (due to removal and foster home changes) to not have issues after visitation. In this case the therapist was pretty ineffective (I've worked with that one before and can state this for a fact), and so didn't help teach the family what works well, what to expect, or to recommend changes for visits.

From the emails it appears the foster parents were struggling. At one of the court hearings it appears the foster parent went way overboard. The records don't say why the kids were moved to another foster home, the one in which they were adopted. I can guess though.

I've struggled with several foster placements. I've tried to help foster families that say they want the kid moved, but everytime the fix only lasts a couple more weeks (month at the max). Now If they say they want the child out, I hear it with resignation because there is no point in trying any more and find a home as soon as posible. But, I've usually known it was coming.

I've had other homes struggle, but not ask for the kid to be removed. I've gone onto adoptions with several of these and its hard for me to tell the judge that i believe adoption to this family is in the best interest of the child. If its hard now, just wait until this kid is a teenager! Things aren't magically solved with an adoption. Re-entry to care is the last thing anyone wants. But, moving a child is also horrible. Whats the best way to go?

I had one foster mother call me up overwhelmed again and again. I worked with her, her consultant worked with her, the therapists worked for her. It just wasn't a good match. She had difficulty being supportive of reunification services (hey, for that matter so did I, but thats where its at), didn't like the kids' hyperactivity after visits, had difficulty getting the kids to their many appointments, etc. Things got worse as the kids settled into her home, and she attributed it to visits (it could've been, but I also felt that the kids were coming out of the honeymoon stage). The last time she called me up I told her it was time to move the kids. This was a long conversation, but there was some relief to her voice. I made arraingments. That night she calls, crying not wanting to move the kids, but telling me its up to me. I told her we will plan on a weekend visit with the new foster home, respite if you will. Halfway into the visit she calls me, crying saying she doesn't know what to do, she wants the kids, but not sure she can handle it. Tells me about all the health problems she is exeriencing due to the stress from parenting these kids, etc. I told her its not up to her, this isn't a decision she can, or should make. The kids are moving, but she will be their respite. This gives her some relief. A week later her consultant is calling me telling me that she wants the kids back, and that I should never have removed them from her home. Oh boy.

Perhaps in the other case, the foster parents continued to make remarks that concerned the caseworker. They weren't that suportive of reunification, and created big problems at team meetings. They also frankly crossed the line at court. (when the Judge asks for an update of the kids, just give him that, you can include concerns you have for the kids, but don't give your opinion about the parents to the Judge). Share your concerns with the GAL, share them with the caseworker, share them with your consultant, share them with the kids' therapist. If nothing is getting through talk to supervisors, get your own attorney if necessary, but also check in with others to make sure you aren't just having the wrong perspective or something (and by the way, often I give the birth parents enough rope to hang themselves by letting the case take its course. Then there is no question at the end of the case, nothing that the parents can appeal,e tc)

I just had a team meeting where foster parent was mad at perspective adoptive parent. Bio family has sided with foster parent as they don't want anyone adopting their child. Adoptive parent pushed the issue and I've been trying to tell them to just hold on, don't make waves, don't antagonize people. They aren't even licensed yet, so the child couldn't be placed with them even if I wanted to today. Once they are licensed the child will be placed with them full time. So please, please, please don't fight over visits right now. The bio family has demanded visits on the days you wanted the child, but eventually their rights will be terminated and we won't even have to have this conversation. Meanwhile foster parents, bio family, etc get a nasty feeling towards the potential family and it makes everything much, much harder.

Oh boy I've been on a rant. Don't even let me get started on visits.

Friday, June 5, 2009

it seems I've stagnated. in this blog, in my job. I just want people to stop calling me, stop having problems, stop complaining, stop messing up, stop acting criminally, stop expecting something different, and on and on and on and on. I just want to stay and work in my garden.

Even when something dies or doesn't do welll, I can either just pull it out or get something new. Its just a lot more rewarding!

It just seems that it never ends, and is getting somewhat repetative.

visitation issues between foster family, bio family, posible adoptive placement for Sister. saw it coming but there is nothing to do about it as everyone plays their roles out. Continued visitation issues on several other cases.

Two new PSA cases where the families are new, but the excuses and blaim game are all old, and tired. Its everyone else's fault, they don't really have a problem, they are great moms, etc, etc, etc.

One young mother bent on self destruction, she doesn't really want to be a mom, why doesn't she stop pretending and stop waisting everyone's time and energy.

Teens continuing to make poor choices and stay on the path their birth parents were on, the parents that put them on this path.

relapses and excuses in a couple of drug court cases. Families falling apart.

Friday, May 15, 2009

back to bloging

Haven't posted in awhile because I've been sick, sick, sick. feeling better now, but still have the left overs of this cold plus seasonal alergies. nice. Truth be told I actually enjoyed not being at work, even though I was miserable.

Nothing earth shattering occured while I was sick which was nice. I had a couple of foster parents complain about their foster child's therapists. One is a newer foster parent in this area and doesn't realize that her child is with the best agency in the area. The other foster parent should know that a therapist isn't going to solve things, and her child is with the best therapist of a different agency (and has been with that therapist for like 4 years)... In both cases, what upsets me most is that if there is a problem with a professional, its good to let me know about it, but please bring it up directly with the therapist. With both of these kids we are trying to teach them to not manipulate or triangulate. Wouldn't it be good to show the kids how we do this? Both of the therapists in mind are very professional and are going to either work it out or be ok with changing therapists. I just hate being in the middle.

Celest is not doing so well. She is on respite in the middle of nowhere because her priorities are so screwed up she got suspended from school. We had a team meeting the day before and she promised she would attend every class and get caught up. But it was pretty obviouse that she wan't that committed. She might be able to go out of country for a visit with a former foster sister who is also willing to be an adoptive placement. She flat turned it down, but earlier had said that would be cool. We all think there is a boy. That seems to be what really gets her into trouble.

Greg is also still totaly screwing up. He got suspended from school again for a fight. He also has been stealing stuff again. One of the agreements for him to not go to DT last time was to work hard in therapy, which meant writing in his thearpy journal everyday. Well thats not getting done either. I just don't know what to do for him at htis point. Fortunately his foster family still is thinking about adoption.

A lady has contacted me about adopting sister. Thats great, only I think this lady is not playing with a full deck. I guess we'll see what happens. Speaking of that, I don't know if any of you have run into this, but it seems that many foster/adoptive families have issues. Maybe its just me but it seems that some foster families are "client-esk". Ever ran into the fact that it seems many therapists could use therapy themselves? In saying this I realize that doing foster care is enough to make anyone crazy, but some families seem to start out already halfway there. I'm sure any of you reading this are the normal ones :)