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 :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May already

I can't believe it is already May. Where did April go? I've been busy, but nothing too exciting, just normal caseworker kinds of things. Busy and stressful, but nothing unusual. I got a new case and main issue is truancy. Not sure it should be a child welfare case, but it is indicative of more going on in a home. In this case substance abuse seems to be part of the issue. The judge came down hard on them on the contempt hearing. It was good to see actually. The case could be pretty time consuming so I'm glad its before my favorite judge.

Suzie is having issues in her placement. I sure hope we can get her to make this work. Its difficult when a teen is bound a determined to fail. This leads me to Celest. Oh boy she is totally checking out of school. I'm glad her attitude at home is good but she is headed down and I'm out of ideas. In her mind ageing out of the system is failure, but she doesn't want to see if there are adoptive families out there. I can only imagine the feelings of rejection she has every day, and understand why she wouldn't want to set herself up for more disapointment. But its heartbreaking to see someone with so much potential waste it. Her life has literally been hell, but she has survived. She definately has issues but also has a tremendous amount of potential and strength.

Jack and Celia are headed out of state for an extended visit with maternal grandparents. ICPC didn't come through yet but I did talk to the CW in that state and she indicated that they passed the background check and initial walkthrough. The judge okayed an extended visit so hopefully that covers my but enough. Dad is still in jail, mom is doing ok in treatment and has found a house so in a month the kids should be able to do a trial home placement. Keeping my fingers crossed.

For my "L" kids adoptive mom relinquished her rights and there is a court date for adoptive dad in a couple of weeks. Hoping to get the paperwork and everything together for a July adoption to bio mom and her husband. This has been a strange case! This is one I feel good about, and I haven't really had to do anything on it. I can't believe how different those kids are. They still have work to do in therapy but have come amazingly far. Just goes to show how critical those first years are. Kids are amazingly resiliant when they were properly cared for as infants and toddlers. Even though things are going to turn out well, the picture of those kids in the hospital still haunts me. The thought that I would've never known the boy except from an obituary...

On a lighter note we are being furlowed. Not sure when it will be or how long. They are thinking 30-40 hours worth. Its not going to affect me that much, but there are a number of workers who are the sole breadwinners for their family, and live paycheck to paycheck that are going to be hard up. The foster parent rates are being reduced, and we are still out of money. I don't know whats going to end up happening.

I think I have pig flu! well I have a cough and I'm tired. Ok probably not pig flu. If I really did I wouldn't have to go to work :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

not bad

Been awhile since I posted anything, but things are going pretty good. Found a good home for Suzie when I was disparing of finding anything to meet her needs. The home has been fostering awhile, but not kids like Suzie. The fostermom seems on top of things and is geting some extra training so it should work out. At any rate finding this home is a huge relief!

My mom stopped by on her way through the state to take my little sister to college and I had just completed a home visit in a pretty large family with bio children and foster boys. My mom was suprised that anyone with young kids would take on teens. I guess I just take it for granted. Its a good thing some families do this otherwise most of my teens wouldn't have homes. I think its more of a personality and home set up that makes fostering work, not having an 'ideal' situation whatever that is. However I do worry that someday the supervision will slack a little as they become complacent and one of the little kids will be at risk. Its something I always worry about.

Sister is still doing well in her home. In this state there are some agencies that primarily use foster homes of a minority. These homes are generally awesome. The one problem I see is a language barrier. Most of my kids are Caucasions (ok currently all are) and speak only English. I only speak English and sometimes its hard for the families to understand what I'm saying. I just had an issue with trying to figure out a perscription, pharmacy, medicaid situation that I'm still confused about. I asked the agency to look into it as I don't think the family understands what I'm asking or recommending. This is frustrating, but if the family works out for Sister, then its the least of my worries.

Little Guy continues to do really well. I feel that now his agency and home are going to be able to really work with him as he is more aware and responding well to people. He will always be a bit quirky (high functioning autistic or maybe aspergers) but everyone that works with him -including me- really falls for the guy.

Jake and Celia's dad is back in jail for relapse, so is Jamie's mom. Actually those two "hooked up" in rehab and relapsed together. so wrong on so many levels including they are both married. I heard that rehab is a good dating service....

Jake and Celia are likely going out of state on an "extended visit" with maternal grandma since I haven't gotten the ICPC back. that process is sooooo slow and cumbersome. this gives their parents another month to try and have some stable housing and progress in treatment. sure hope they do as these kids want to be with their parents, more so then others I've worked with.

Mike's case continues to drag on. Team meetings are ridiculous. I really should rotate the case. Its my longest case (went to drug court for about 4 months in the middle) and I got it right after i finished training. I feel that someone with a new perspective might be better, but we have trial in August and so it doesn't make that much sense to switch it off. I hate transitioning cases. I feel such responsibility (and a bit proprietary) about my cases, but sometimes its a good thing. The problem is that I know if Freeda's case had gone to another worker she would've gone home instead of TPR and adoption. However proving me right is that the Freeda's (and Greg's) mom is relapsed and in jail AGAIN and so I feel that I made the right choice by staying on as the "evil, baby stealing, controlling" case worker that I am.

With Brian's case closed and more budget cuts I'm getting at least one new case sometimes soon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

better mood

So I think I was just really onry yesterday. My coworker was really greatful for my help and gave me a hug and then a cupcake. I'm not real demonstrative but appreciated the sentament. The cupcake was very tasty, so apparently I'm easily bought by some chocolate lovin.

I also was able to get more done on my garden because I got some help. The others in my home aren't really garden savy, but I'd already marked out where I needed holes dug and had more then one shovel. I ordered way too many plants from some of the cheapy catalogs, and they all came at once. I'm sure there is a lesson in there somewhere. I was extreemly proud of myself for not stopping to buy more today. i have a problem i'm willing to admit it, but not really do anything about it. I work with much worse addictions everyday.

I helped out another coworker today with some other documents. I found I'm much more motivated to do others' work then my own. I'm a master procrastinator for my own stuff and so doing someone else's work is great because then it seems like a legitamit way to put off my logs. unfortunately that backfires on me regularly.

Sister is finally getting enrolled in school. Can't locate a new foster home for Suzie, well found a couple of homes but none are a good fit. Suzie's mom and dad appear to be trying to work things out and get mom's mental state back under control.

Very worried about Jake and Celia's case, because their short term placement is coming to an end, but parents aren't in a place to take care of them yet. This one is getting way stressful.

Heard from the daughter of one of Celest's placements that they would be interested in adopting her, now that Sophie isn't able to pass a homestudy. I'll talk to Celest about it, but I think at this point she is ready just to move on to independent living programs. Nonetheless its got to be better knowing that people out there want to help her.

Held court for the L kids and something good is half way to happening. Its a strange case, but its going to be a happy ending. These kids were horrifically abused and almost didn't make it. Well the 2 older ones almost didn't make it. They are all recovering but the youngest will probably have the most long term damage because she was made to have a hand in the abuse. That is almost more horrifying to me.

Ashton's mom is writing more crazy emails and making life difficult for my supervisor and the foster mom. She has so much hate and anger towards me that she doesn't deign to communicate with me. Unfortunately for her, I'm actually rather grateful! Also, she was TPR'd (Ashton was wanting to be adopted, but changed his mind during the forever appeal process and as he is an older teen he gets to decide that) so I don't really worry about what she says.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ups and downs

Little Guy is doing so much better, better then I've ever seen him before. He is still funny and quirky, but he was interacting more with me and the other kids, and his smile could've lit up the world! Its amazing how much meds can help kids, and can really screw them up when their off.

Sister although bored is doing fine so far in her new placement. They let her set up an email account and she is really enjoying that. I figure it can only help her writing and reading so as long as they monitor it its great. Funny thing about sister is she only calls me after 8pm. I answered the first few days after placement, but now I'm not happy with this pressadent.

Then their are the other clients who habitually call me after hours, Saturdays and Sunday, who aren't low functioning... ok maybe I should rethink that statement.

Poor Suzie is having problems. She has done so much better regulating her emotions and everything these last two weeks. Then her foster home broke the news that they are moving and I need to find a new placement asap as they don't know when they will be leaving. ok. so I talked with the consultants and explained what I'm looking for... I would like to order Basically the same foster home, thanks. But they were fresh out. I do have some options and will see what turns up.

The other situation for Suzie is her mom left her dad and took the brother with her. Actually Suzie has it a little easier because she is in a stable home, while brother is stuck between mom (who is probably going through a manic phase) and dad (who has anger issues). As much as you would think I'd be decensitized to something as minor as divorce, the emotional devestation I saw in this kid was heart wrenching.

I had two clients hook up in rehab. Problem is thats against the rules. Other problem is they shared pills. Another problem: they are both married and not to each other. Intersting that just the relapse part came up to their spouses. The one was sooo out of it running into walls, stumbling etc and then denied there was a problem... They were both kicked out, and not for the relapse or even the hook up, but for not being honest about it. They are still in such addict mentality.

Brian's case closed! It was either DCFS pays for high cost placement, or we give him another shot with his mom and he can go to JJS. I just don't think a truancy case should've come into DCFS custody. The Judge agreed. I wished him luck and told him he has the chance to make it work at home. I don't think he actually will start going to school and behaving. 3 years ago I probably would've made a different decission, based on that knowledge, but now I feel that DCFS resources should be wisely used for kids who've been abused and neglected.

Today I was a bit frustrated with a coworker. I was helping that person out as they were behind and I've been working for a couple of days on this needed document for an upcoming review and its due tomorrow. I was frustrated because all of a suden it hit me that I was tired of it, its not my case, its not like this coworker is going to read this document, and I'm at the office working late to get it done and coworker isn't. I need to be more understanding as coworker has a lot on her plate. But I kept thinking of how I'm not exactly caught up on everything myself, and I'm at the office everyday, and often stay late. Coworker isn't. To be honest I was annoyed because I'm also behind with my gardening and daylight hours were wasting!

Monday, March 30, 2009

moving kids

I just got back from placing Sister in her new foster home. Late night, but I wanted to do it and I couldn't do it any earlier due to prior appointments. Sister is with a pretty good agency and they are confident this home is a good match. I hope so, but it still sucks. Sister was really happy and excited to be moving to her new home. Moving kids sucks. Sisters attitude made the car ride easier. I didn't have to try and convince her that this is a positive thing, but her response makes me worried. Does she just not get that she isn't going back to the home she has known for half her life? Is she just pretending to be happy (I don't think she is that sophisticated, but maybe its a survival technique?). Maybe some attachment issues, but I really feel she was attached to her last home. I feel like I will be waiting for the next shoe to drop. Is she going to have a big blow up? Is she going to cry tonight? I am.

Even when moving kids is the right thing (like in an "easy" removal) its still horrible. Sure its hard on me, but thats not the point. If its hard and stressful on me, can you imagine what it does to the kids? I know I'm preaching to the choir here on the trauma of moves. I don't know how many of you have done this before. Trying to stretch out what little details you have about where we are headed, and who will be caring for them to last the car ride. Trying to answer the unspoken questions of shell shocked children. Letting them know its ok to cry and be scared. Being scared yourself of what you will find when you knock on the door of an unknown foster home. What if the kid (especially a little older one) tries to run off before you get there (I had to hold down the lock button of a car once the whole way there as a child kept trying to open the door on the highway).

I've picked up methods or things I do to try and introduce the family, tour the house, go over basic rules but it doesn't really make it any easier. The look in the child's eyes as you leave... even if you are the one who took them away from their former home, even if this its a teenager with a long line of moves, their eyes plead with you to not leave them, not leave them alone with strangers. But you talk to them about how transitions and changes are hard, but this can be a good thing for them. I try and remember not to tell them to be "good" its not because they were "bad" that they were removed. Then even with their eyes on me I have to act cheerful and upbeat as I get in the car and head out.

There is a bit of a relief to be out of there, its uncomfortable and sometimes finding the placement has been so difficult, that I'm just greateful the child has a place to stay tonight. Some foster homes are good at breaking the ice, others not so good. Some try to be helpful and get me out the door so they can get on with getting the child into their family's routine. I like to stay and see the child get involved in things before I leave... somewhat settled in if posible. I don't know whats better, and schedules don't always permit that. Either way they still look at you. As I drive away I often cry. Or I have phone calls to make and let everyone know about the placement, tie up other loose ends. Take care of crisis that happened while you were trying to make the placement. Then I go back to the office and try and get things ready for the next day. Then I go home and cry.

Also I want to eat bowls full of icecream, and lots and lots of greesy food. Cheesburgers, fries, fried chicken, fried anything. Lovin from the window as I like to call it. I still want that tonight even though I'm not really hungry. hmmm and I wonder why I've gained 30 pounds since starting this job :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

breathe deeply

Last week sucked. Didn't feel much like writing about it and I was crazy busy. I got away for the weekend which was sorely needed. However, still have a lot of catching up to do.

Sister has burned her placement. She has been there for 5 years. I think this was inevitable, as the family had made it pretty clear that adoption wasn't an option. Hindsight is always 20/20 but I sure wish more had been done to find her permanancy while she was younger. Its sad, but cute younger kids are more likely to find permanent placements, so that shouldn've been taken care of as soon as the kinship options failed. Sister and Little Guy have special needs, so individualized permanency is their primary goal, but it sucks thinking of them eventually leaving care with no real family and so many special needs.

I was upset that foster mom didn't clue me in for 2-3 days on what was going on with her. I left a 4 minute long message to her consultant and then had to email her and appologize since I apparently needed to vent. Embarressed about it now. I sure wish foster mom had told me directly what was going on, but it all came down to just feeling so upset about Sister's situation.

She is really hard to place (which is to be expected), so I'm in a holding pattern with Sister at respite so she can keep attending her school, until I hear back from some agencies.

New case, lets call him Brian, gave me his word he wouldn't run again, not that I really believed him, but I was willing to give him a second chance. Foster family picked him up from detention at 7pm, and then promptly ran that night. His mom totally feeds into him and instead of calling the police, he convinced her to let him get some of his stuff and spend the night in exchange for turning himself in the next day (this was a day or two after he ran) he then ran off from her. Suprised? Well he is back in DT, and the next step is a residential placement out in the middle of no where. Just keeps making stupid choices, but perhaps he can get caught up with his education and work on some of his other issues.

Jake and Celia's mom had a dirty UA. Their placement is temporary so I'm not sure whats going to happen if the parents don't seriously get their act together. I think they will probably go to an out of state kinship placement, but don't know if the judge will go for that while we are still doing reunification services.

My team has started COW awards several weeks ago. At our weekly staffings, we each share a story from our caseload over the past week, and then vote for the case of the week. I made up a certificate with funny pictures of cows and if anyone asks its for caseworker of the week. It makes it kind of fun, and gives us much needed laughs. So many crazy things out there! I'm greatful that my cases are relatively calm right now. I'm still really upset and feel like a failure over Sister, but have to have some faith that things will work out. I continue to tell myself to breathe.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Sorry to anybody actually reading this blog. Its not very uplifting, and not very well written either. Its also become a bit of a "what I did today" blog which is going to get boring fast. I do have deep thoughts occasionally, but I tend to forget about them as soon as the next crisis appears. I know, excuses, excuses (as if I don't get enough of them at work).

Tired. Tired of people who should be helping, setting up other caseworkers for failure (this comes from another caseworker getting stuck with a really bad foster placement. They even pulled the license on this family, but then placed a difficult case with them- way to look out for each other and all that other stuff they talk about in training. The father couldn’t get over the fact that the 12 year old lied to him. Ummm even “normal” 12 year old girls lie... did he forget why this child is in foster care, cause I'm sure she hasn't.)

Tired of explaining to families what is expected, and then having them blame everybody for their short comings. Tired of kids making poor choice after poor choice. Tired of having no good answers. Tired of people ignoring suggestions that could work. Tired of the system that uses increasingly limited funds on families that aren’t willing to put forth any effort, while turning away families that are on the edge. Tired of the generational abuse that seems to say what I do doesn’t make much of a difference.

I've read on a couple of people's blogs about how the suggestion they get from their caseworker, is "have you tried a sticker chart?" I know with seriously mentally ill kids a sticker chart isn’t going to do anything, and chances are the worker knows that as well. I get how frustrating that must be for parents. The caseworker is frustrated too, and there are no easy answers. But the fact of the matter is that, token economies do tend to work for most kids. Even my kids in residential treatments respond to token economies or “sticker charts” (for the seriously mentally ill ones they have to first get stabilized, usually on meds). So with the caveat of not dealing with a serious mental illness read the following, if you still want to.

I'm tired of people saying, "I tried that, it didn't work." I strongly feel that it doesn't matter what you try, as long as you stick to whatever program it is (just ask Super Nanny :)). Charting or whatever you want to call it is important. It lets the professionals understand where we are with this kid. Sticker charts in and of themselves don't work, but giving a kid specific goals with specific outcomes does. Often the idea behind a token economy is breaking the day into minutes, sections, manageable pieces. Finding a childs’ triggers, motivation, etc is helpful. Finding places where kids can excel, and figuring out the kids' cycles is really important. Charting can help do all of this, just please don’t get stuck on the idea of a “sticker chart”. Not sure where all this came from. I just have an overwhelming feeling of Frustration right now.

Have you read "The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog" by Bruce Perry? I thought it was an interesting book. He did a presentation last year (or maybe the year before?) in our state and it was great to hear about the research they are doing, and the success they've had using his methods. He showed us that they've got a way to clearly map the missing pieces in a child's brain due to early neglect/trauma and how thier program helps fill in these gaps. But unfortunately his methods aren't available outside of their facility yet, that I've heard. This is frustrating to me.

This is one of the reasons I went into social work. I was actually drawn more to the scientific research and results in something like sociology, but came to understand that for me it isn’t enough to understand how or even why things happen, I need to do something.

Actually, I just looked up his site again, and they are offering some free courses to help people understand working with maltreated kids so there goes a useless rant. Nonetheless the feeling behind the rant still works. I’m fine with people making a buck, but if there is something that will help any of my kids, there better be a darn good reason for not making it available! (

I've had good things happen this past week, so not sure why its all negative. Guess I feel that way often on Sunday nights anticipating another fun filled Monday adventure.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

all at once

My new case.... so I got him out of detention on Wednesday to take to a foster home, Thursday he ran away. Friday he called me demanding his clothes. I told him he didn't need them right now until we knew were he was going to be. He hung up on me. He called his mom several times trying to manipulate her into getting his stuff, and just causing her a lot of stress. Saturday he got picked up and is back in detention. So now I have to decide if we are going to try this again? Or do we go straight to a place where it is more difficult to run? Guess I will see what the detention judge says tomorrow.

Celest's potential adoptive placement didn't pass licensing. I'm disapointed but after meeting with the homestudy lady, it is the right thing. The homestudy lady, who really is neutral, in just a couple of meetings was really able to point out the specific concerns. I've been focussing on giving her a chance of permanency and stopped seeing all the red flags. I still feel really bad about this. Hopefully it won't feel like a total rejection for Celest. She turns 17 this year and so will be aging out of the system. That feels like a failure, probably because it is.

Little guy is really struggling too. I'm not sure what will happen with him. Court with his parents was wierd. Dad had an outburst and was excused from the court room. Sister got upset and had to leave while dad was having his out burst. Cleared it up with her, but the judge ruled that dad shouldn't have visits with sister or little guy. In writing this I realized that I forgot to follow up on that with the visit supervisor.

Greg is making really bad choices, and I worry he will blow another home.

Had a funny experience with Suzie and supervising her visit. Her parents were really worried about her being sick, but through the whole visit she was clearly trying to "one up" the symptoms of her legitamatly ill brother. I guess thats how she got attention. They wanted to end the visit early so she could go to the doctor. As it would be 7pm before I got her back to the foster home, I knew they wouldn't be taking her tonight. The parents volunteered to take her and after talking to the foster parents we went ahead with that plan. It was pretty funny because they had her tested for all sorts of things.

Tough busy week with lots of crisis all on the same day. I don't know why they can't space themselves out better!

Monday, March 2, 2009

in like a lion

Tonight the winds are howling, and its going to be that way for the next few days according to the weather guru's. I like windy days, when I can be out in it and its not freezing cold. Not a fan of windy freezing nights though.

This morning I did some babysitting at the office. A worker from several states away was here to pick up some kids coming back into custody on an ICPC placement. The kids were placed with dad for a couple of months, but last week he was picked up by INS. The worker shook his head over having to move these kids again, but frankly I was a bit underwhelmed at the cavalier attitude of placeing kids here or there, where ever in order to close the case. Granted I don't know the whole case history, but I've never been afraid to make snap judgements (just ask my mom). I know its wrong to move kids around so much. He indicated he had been working this case for over a year and I was suprised that they would try such a risky placement, granted they didn't know that this state was really cracking down. I know things are different in every state, I feel bad for the families stuck in this situation, but the kids are the ones who suffer the most. These kids were attached to each other, which is good, but they most likely have attachment issues (worker hinted as much) due to the neglect and frequent caregiver changes. 3 and 5 years old and cute as buttons. I know that if they were staying in our state we would be able to place in an adoptive home quick as anything. Wonder if they will wait and try again if the dad makes it back to the US? Wonder if they will try another undocumented family member. Wonder how many homes the kids will go to. Wonder how much longer they will wait until the kids aren't as adoptable (hard but true the younger, cuter ones are easier to place), and have more issues. The worker that picked them up to bring to our office to await the out of state worker said they weren't upset at all at leaving their aunt's home this morning. I don't know that placeing these kids with relatives is as important as finding them permamency now.

I also feel guilty about my kids. Jake and Celia. They've been in a number of homes too. However, I know they will either end up reunifying or being adopted by grandma in a years time. I feel bad about Little Guy and Sister, they don't have permanence. They will be on DSPD when they age out but what kind of life is that for them? Maybe I'm being too discriminatory about adoptive homes. They don't get a lot of hits, but then a failed placement would be worse, right?

The licenser has concerns about Celest's posible adoptive placement. She was suprised that we would place a kid with issues there. I'm suprised too. I'm really not sure what to do about this. Not sure what to do for any of my kids, honestly. But I feel like I've got to try what my training, limited experience, and most of all inspiration/intuition/gut/whatever you call it, guides me to.

Suzie's honeymoon is over and the real fun is begining. That case is giong to be draining! I hope that I have more energy tomorrow to tackle the things I've been putting off and find joy somewhere.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

ice-cream good for your soul

Little guy had an incident at the psych hospital. he was asaulted by another kid there. great. just what he needs. as a sexual abuse victim I'm sure this incident was very helpful. Foster mom was livid, which is good because things like that shouldn't happen. Fortunately the incident wasn't as bad as they made it sound on the phone and foster mom let me know that little guy was ok.

I got a new case which will be interesting. I was wasn't too happy about it as it seemed to be more of a JJS case, but with a little more info, I can see how they felt DCFS custody was more apt. Weird family dynamic going on there, but I think the foster family we lined up today for him will work fine for him.... hopefully.

Speaking of wierd family dynamics, I had a team meeting with Suzie and her family and its like the whole family competes to see who can be louder. Suzie and her brother threw out random thoughts that had nothing to do with the meeting. Foster mom was trying not to laugh at the whole wierd circus show. Foster mom is doing awesome with Suzie so far. We've got her starting in a DBT group in my favorite therapy provider, and foster mom will go with her so they can practice the skills in real life.

Did have a good court review with Leo which was refreshing. I'm sure its that way for the judge too. She is a bit of a spaz, but not bad as far as judges go. I assume every worker has their favorite judges and other court personnel. This Judge let us in even though the attorneys weren't there so we could get in and get out (we didn't really need them since its a quick and easy it when my kids are doing good). I know I run late a lot, but thats usually because the previous meeting didn't start on time, and court is the worst for that. However, I don't really know what the excuse is for the attorney's and judges getting to work on time. sheesh, they even set their own work hours! Anyways this Judge is pretty good, except that she goes to trial on everything. I'm not legally trained, but terminating reunification services isn't something that should go to trial as its a DCFS recommendation, not a petition or anything else to set up a full trial for. Also the other courts don't do that. For Leo's case we went through 4 full trials. oh my what a waste of time and resources. Should only be 2, well in this case probably 3 since the mom wasn't playing with a full deck (yes I know not a clinical term, and not even that clever).

I had a couple of home visits tonight. Went quickly because I had met with the one family the night before, and the other one because the kid was still doing really well. I know its such a relief for me when my kids are tanking and throwing away their chance to break the cycle of addiction, DV, poor education, etc. I was thinking how glad I am that I have the weekend coming on. How greatful I am that my job ends, not at 5pm but I do get to go home at the end of the day. Thats why I'm so impressed with the families who help my kids and don't get a day off. Sure my job is taxing and I get annoyed, and a lot of hate is thrown my way, but I do get to go home, and if I need a sick day and don't have appointments that can't be rescheduled I can take it. Thanks all of you who take care of my kids!

I'm in a better mood tonight as I don't have any appointments tomorrow. Also today was icecream Thursday. My team and anyone else from the office try to go out for a few minutes to get icecream. Today was coldstone. yum!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

hurt heart

My heart hurts today. I saw little guy at the psych hospital today. Its one thing to get filled in by email how he is doing, and its another to see him in person. He did want to talk to me which is different, since he refused to see his teacher or tracker- both of whom he has a closer relationship with, since I only see him 1-2 times a month. There isn't anything I can do for him right now, and I feel so bad for him. In the meeting we had before hand I was kind of annoyed at the head guy who ran the meeting. I'm sure he is fine, and great at what he does, but the guy was somewhat arrogant and that just gets to me. Probably because I'm a know it all and can't stand others who act that way.

I went from one meeting (a team), to another (staffing), to another (staff), to court (drug), to a home visit. I probably should've gone back to the office to do some paperwork, but I was hungry so I went home instead. Paperwork will still be there tomorrow, thats for sure.

Jamie's dad did have to go back to jail today. The judge revoked his ankle monitoring thingy, he wasn't supposed to be let out any way. He wanted to stay out, as he had some great things lined up, but he didn't do his UA yesterday (said he didn't know, but thats pretty basic drug court stuff) so the Judge wasn't about to let him stay out.

Yesterday I got some logs updated, went to drug court, and had a team meeting for Celest. That didn't go so well. She was upset and it was like talking to a brick wall. We meet, we talk, she says ok, and things get better for a short time, but then we are right back were we were before. I really don't think this adoptive placement is going to work. I hate to think of Celest having another failed placement, but I don't know what else to do.

I'm feeling pretty down tonight, my heart hurts, and I feel like not much difference is made in these families or their kids' lives.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jail- optional?

After being in this job, I leared that jail is optional. I've had clients not report to jail as ordered. Who knew that you could bargin with a judge as to which day you're supposed to go in, and then choose to blow it off? Its interesting how optional a lot of things that I took for granted is. Maybe the jail figures that not having custody of one's children is punishment enough, but I sware some of these parents are happy their kids are in custody so they can have non-interupted partying (not that it seemed to really stop them before).

I guess I'm upset today because Jamie's dad was ordered 60 days for drug court non-compliance and got out only a week later on an ankle monitor due to crowding. This guy has learned there aren't any real consequences for continued criminal behavior. I'd rather one of my other drug court clients get out of early because they are more likely to seek out treatment. Well, in all actuality this is going to play against him because he will most likely continue to use. The parents have already waisted 3 months so they don't have much time to turn it around. I actually think the mom is more likely to turn it around as she is the "black sheep" of the family, whereas his behavior is not that atypical for his family. Still though, I'm irked.

I'm also irked because Greg just got kicked out of mainstream school. He full on hit a kid in the face after that kid refused to fight him. He'll still try to make this someone else' fault, but his foster mom won't even go there with him which is good.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

almost through the week

Didn't get quite as much done so far this week as I'd hoped, but I'm over the last of the week, whoohoo! Got some more CFA's completed, a couple of home visits, a couple of crisis dealt with, but still way behind on my logs.

I had a good team meeting today for one of my teens, 16 year old. He is such a great kid! He is one that I want to keep even when he is ready to transition to the independent living team. It took a long time to get the appeal from TPR and everything cleared so that he could be adopted, and by that time he changed his mind. One of the other foster teens told him he could get a lot more $$ and stuff by staying in foster care. This, of course is true, but I think he also has rethought the finality of cutting off his mom, even though she is soo mentally ill. He is such a good kid and feels a lot of responsibility for his mom. Its sad, but the fact that he cares is also what makes him so endearing.

I also had a home visit with Greg, and while he is improving, I really worry that the criminal thinking and victim mentality will end up dictating the rest of his life. Greg's mom was picked up for paraphenelia and I'm trying to decide how much to tell Freeda's adoptive parents as they have an open adoption with the mom.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

letting the little things get to me

It was great to not have work yesterday. I like presidents day because I don't have any expectations or traditions for the day... a nice easy holiday. I actually did have to go in to work for a bit yesterday. Little guy had gone back to the hospital in the morning for observation before returning to the psych hospital for a seizure. They said that I had to sign him back in. Ummm Little Guy has a seizure disorder, so is this going to happen everytime he has a seizure? They also wanted me to come in person to sign him in (next county over) but just last week I was able to fax in the papers. Its a pain that I have to deal with someone different everytime I call there. I don't know how they run a place like that. It also seems that they don't know what to do with foster kids, and I'm pretty sure Little Guy isn't the first foster kid to visit. Anyways I signed the exact same papers the exact same way and faxed them over. I did put a note in the fax asking them to keep his case open the next time he seizes (usually about once a week or so) so that if the next one happens when I'm not available he can go back in without having to hang out in the regular hospital all day....

Today had court for Suzie and her family and it went fine. Afterwards they told me that some of dad's pills are missing, and they think Suzie did it. They got a new perscription filled, dad had 2 and now about half are missing. They think this coincides with Suzie moving to her new foster home which is the town next to theirs. Yep somehow she got into the house and took the pills (not all of them, just half of them), all while living a town away and on constant supervision (she is in a structured foster home). Hmmmm looks like maybe her perception of being the scapegoat isn't that far off. They did say that maybe she had one of her friends break in and do it. It is a posibility but seems a little far-fetched. Something not quite right in that family?

Got some more paperwork caught up today, sort of. Also had a team meeting. One of the people on my team got docked by CPR (one of the review processes they use here to make sure caseworkers are doing what they are supposed to do) for saying she completed the month home visits by visiting the child AT the home instead of IN the home. The reviewers said that unless she said, IN, then she might not have actually gone inside the home. I'm pretty sure that if I mark that a home visit was completed, that I went into the home, and not just stood outside to talk for 60 minutes or so, but whatever! Its one thing when review process are put in to try and help workers, give another perspective, etc. But its so stupid, and a waste of everyone's time, energy, and plain just makes me mad when its stuff like this. No way does this help a worker, or help get better outcomes for our kids. I'll know in March if I get pulled for the ickier review, QCR.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

violent workers

Yesterday I went to a training on "worker violence" I was excited because I thought we would be learning how to do it appropriately. However, it was on violence against workers which is a much less pleasant topic. One of my favorite quotes for the day was "if you continue working in this field, you will have a gun pulled on you." With budgets tight maybe the powers that be were thinking this helpful topic could make it so they don't actually need to fire anyone. I don't know about the other workers, but getting shot/stabbed/threatened is one of the least of my worries, what with the pile of documentation on my desk that threatens to smother me every single day.

Thats pretty much all I did today and yesterday.....catch up on paperwork. Funny thing that it doesn't seem like I get any closer to actually catching up. I finished up some service plans, and some CFA's including team meeting notes today. I'm only have a supervised visit scheduled tomorrow, but should probably see about scheduling this month's home visits as by Monday we are more then half way through February.

Celest stopped by my office yesterday. She is starting EMDR every Tuesday and I'm very hopeful that it will help her stay on track a bit longer. Although she was upbeat and talkative, she also looked tired. Thats not good. I know I'm not my best self when I get tired, hungry, etc but it seems these kids react way worse to those circumstances. I hope its not a warning of things to come.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why does everyday feel like Monday?

This blog is pretty boring, but since its mostly for me too bad for anyone else! Nothing too exciting today. 4 and a half straight hours of trying to catch up on logs and I finally got all my home visits from last month entered in. My wrists were very achy by the time I finished up. Before that I played phone tag, answered emails, faxed paperwork, wrote court reports, etc.

Oh and I spent like 2.5 hours at drug court. Jamie's parents showed (I was wondering if they would), and looked like they must have had a big pre drug court party last night (those parties can't be that great if everyone looks like they do afterwards, guess Heroin isn't a pretty drug). They got 60 days jail time with authorization for prior release should slots come available at the residential treatment center, after they finish the treatment course offered in jail. Problem is the treatment facility will not let them be in at the same time so whichever one does better in the jail program will get the first slot available while the other has to wait an additional 30 days or until their jail sentance is finished, whichever comes first. They really need to get their butts in gear because they've already waisted 3 months of reunification services, the next 2 months could be in jail, and then they are only left with 3 more months to make significant progress in changing their lives completely around.

One of my emails today was to Celest as she is supposed to be reporting to me on Fridays and I hadn't heard from her. She responded and sent me a good report, so the cynical part of me is thinking, what is she buttering us (her team) up for this time. She reports she is in a happy place right now and she is making good choices. For Celest she makes choices based on how she is feeling. This seems a bit backwards as for myself when I make good choices I feel better about myself, not the otherway around. This leads to some pretty serious issues for Celest as she cycles pretty frequently between feeling great and tanking.

Another issue that caused me stress today was figuring out where one of my boys, Mike, was on respite. He was supposed to have family therapy today and if he didn't go there would be H E double toothpicks to pay (excuse my language). Foster mom has been having problems getting Mike to appointments, such as his therapy appointments. I had left her a message regarding today's appointment as bio mom refuses to speak directly to foster mom. (huge bad feelings between the two moms, mostly because Mike doesn't want to go home...and for good reason-long story here). Didn't know she had gone out of state and the kids were in respite. PANIC. This case is going to probably end up in some sort of trial as the GAL is filing a petition in behalf of her client (Mike) for permananet custody and guardianship. We have tried to mediate a petition twice now with no success. Mike is even more upset at his mom because he wants this to be all over with. What he really wants is to be adopted by foster mom but there isn't enough there to support TPR (again really long story). Anyways it was really important that Mike be at family therapy today. Fortunately it was all worked out and Mike made it. Don't think family therapy went all that well because bio-mom didn't have the visit afterwards. I won't know for sure because the family therapist doesn't like to communicate with me. I haven't had this problem before and it is extreemly annoying. When asked to give me an update for court, he usually ignores it. Once when threatened with a supeona he gave me a 4 sentance update. wow thats helpful.

Monday, February 9, 2009


One of my little guys was admitted to the psych hospital today. I'm hoping its just a matter of getting his meds back on track. The kid couldn't sleep because his head was so wired while the rest of him was exhausted. Little guy has been moved around a bunch, but is finally in a good home. He is 10, but the size of a 6 year old which is a huge improvement over when he came back into care last fall (from a failed kinship permant custody/guardianship) and was the size of a 4 year old. Even though he is small he is on tons of meds for seizures and behaviors. I'd sure like to see him off some of the meds and on the right combination. Now that he is in a really good home, they've charted his cycles and really helped his behaviors so they started to decrease some of his meds.

Little guy has been diagnosed autistic, not sure thats completely accurate, but either way its difficult for him to let us know whats going on inside and how he is feeling. I feel sad about this kid. He's actually realy good natured and we can see him really struggling and trying to be good. I got permission from his Judge to put him on the adoption exchange to try and find him an adoptive home, even though TPR hasn't occured. The policy here is to not terminate parental rights unless an adoptive home is located. As reunification services aren't offered to the bio family, it kind of leaves little guy in a catch 22, but I'm glad his Judge agreed that we need to explore every option for little guy. Problem is that he has been moved so much in his life, and is in such a good home that I'm going to be really reluctant to move him, even to an adoptive home. This is probably the wrong perspective, but I'm a worry wart. Any homestudies forwarded to me have been from out of state and, not really set up to deal with a child with Little Guy's special needs and behavioral issues. I worry about not meeting the family, or being able to do a good transition etc. for the out of state families. I don't want to deny Little guy a forever family, but I definately don't want to set him up for a failed adoption either.

Either way I'm feeling sad about his case, as well as his older sisters. She has been in her foster home for over 4 years and so I'm not in a hurry to move her to a home for the same reasons. She also has special needs, and behaviors which are harder to work with then Little Guys'. I'll continue to look for adoptive families for both. Little Guy doesn't really get family and what it means, but is doing better at this. Sister has a connection with her bio family and would like that to continue (with her limitations she doesn't really understand adoption and sort of flipped out when we last talked about it 3 months ago and I really don't want to jepordize her current placement). Both kids have made good progress, but I always have a sense of saddness that they don't have real permanency.

Jack and Celia's mom did go to jail today. She almost didn't make it to court and when she did arrive she looked terrible. She told the Judge she had a change of heart this weekend that she didn't want to live this way. I hope she did have the change of heart, but she then admitted to using Heroine and Cocaine yesterday. Hmmm hope the change of heart came after she used! Now I'm left to decide what to tell the kids. Mom doesn't want them to know she is in jail. I don't want to lie to the kids. I'll staff with my supervisor tomorrow.

My supervisor is really great. She tends to be right when we disagree (which is annoying), but that doesn't happen very often. One would think I would catch on that she at times has more perspective since she doesn't get as wrapped up in the case as I sometimes do. I'm really glad that she is a hand's off supervisor. She really lets me just do my job and doesn't hassle me. I wouldn't be a happy camper if I felt that someone was always looking over my shoulder. I know of one supervisor that requires her workers to follow the 9-5 schedule, but that doesn't work so well for our job! She is also good at providing the extra support when I'm struggling with a case.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Yesterday met with Suzie's new foster parents and gave them the low down. They sent me a quick email today that all is fine so far. Crossing my fingers that it continues that way! Its nice when I get positive updates because it seems that usually I just hear when everything is falling apart. I have a bit of PTSD from cell phone rings probably because of this (my family gets annoyed when they can't get ahold of me, but unfortunately any cell phone ring gives me the same reaction so somehow my cell phones tend to be on silence and get lost often :)

Supervised visit for Jamie went fine, although there was something about p. grandfather that gave me what I call a bit of the "wierds" or "creepies". I'm used to pure hatred focused in my way, or other not exactly happy vibes, but something was "off" about this guy. I'm sure other people get those occasionally too, I've learned to trust that feeling and fortunately I won't have much to do with that guy!

Unfortunately found out that Jamie's mom checked herself out of detox last night. She would've been released this afternoon so thats not looking good.

Supervised visit for Jack and Celia was interesting. It was like the kids traded places. Jack was real upset and crying when he couldn't stay with his mom, while Celia was super excited and happy about going to the kinship placement. For the visit Jack was happy (not bouncing of the wall like Celia was the other day) and Celia was withdrawn. Foster mom indicated Celia was fine right until they left for the visit. The visit itself went fine. Hope I saw mom softening a bit in her attitude and motivation to change her life..... I sure hope so because her kids love her and really want to be with her and their dad.

On to today. Today isn't a normal working day, but its not like my schedule is normal! Went for a sort of IEP (it was a meeting to decide if they needed an IEP) in another county and somehow they hadn't invited the foster/kinship. What the what? It was a little frustrated because they were wanting to put the kid back a grade level and I was asking that they do some evals first (they were a little suprised at this request). These children were horribly, horribly, sadistically, abused and neglected for the last year. He had only attended school a couple of months since he came into care. For him its not an IQ thing, but a sheer lack of exposure (went from not reading to reading in a week or so). The progress on these children is simply amazing, not just accademically, but socially, emotionally, in therapy, etc. He and his sister have come sooooo far since I first saw them in that hospital room (that night I had to call my mom to get a little home lovin' and know the world is still ok). I've seen some bad things in this job, but nothing like that, ever.

I kind of caught on that they really didn't know the background (shocking that no one read the paperwork, I know!). This was a fairly high profile case, and I figured with the info on the kids it wouldn't be too hard to put two and two together but apparently the school hadn't. So, I put it together for them, and explained this kid was hours away from death. I actually got a little emotional about it (I try and stay professional at all times). The cool thing was the way the whole room changed in their attitude towards this child! Now instead of thinking this is a problem kid, they were energized into how they could support him! Whoohoo! Both kids are going to have a whole school looking out for them. It was probably ok that the placement wasn't there because I could probably be a little more candid about the situation. The teacher is going to make this child a priority and work with the family, and I have every confidence that by next school year he will be at grade level!

Its amazing the resiliancy from these kids, and its because before the last 1.5-2 yrs their needs were met. It makes me feel bad for my neglected kids whose abuse wasn't as sadistic, but will suffer from the effects of the neglect their whole lives. Its these two's younger sister that I worry about because she didn't have as good of foundation even though she was not the focus of the abuse.

When I got back to my office, just the one other worker who is usually there on Friday's and late was there. Poor CPS worker! She got a red tag on a infant with all sorts of bruises. Just on the face. Still makes me sick to think of those pictures. She had had a red tag on another child with a pretty nasty bruise on his face earlier that also appears non-accidental. In both cases the parents claim falls. Hmmm only bruises on the face? I don't know what your experience is, but generally in a fall there is other injuries. For the baby they claim that she fell off the couch 2 times. That doesn't explain the bruises on like 5 different planes of his face. I think my number is up for a new case so I wonder if I will get the baby's case (don't know if the older child will go to a case).

Sure glad I don't work tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

oh thats what that smell was

I think I got a home for Suzie, yay! They are spending some time together tonight and then I will do a pre-placement meeting with the foster parents tomorrow morning to see if they want to go forward with placement. YAY again! Going to a structured placement will be a bit of an adjustment for her, but I think they will be able to deal a bit better with her behaviors which aren't that a-typical. Hope all goes well. Also my coworker Lilly was able to take Suzie to school and back so I didn't have to get up as early. Whooohooo! One of my least favorite things is to get up early!!! probably good thing I don't have kids of my own :)

Did a supervised visit with Jamie and her dad. Mom got a detox bed yesterday so she couldn't be there. She called during the visit saying she didn't think she will stay (at detox). Sure hope she does because I'm afraid she will overdose again, and this time not survive. Also its probably easier to detox there, then at jail. I think dad was on something (if he wasn't on something, he wouldn't probably be functioning-hard to go cold turkey on a 10 balloon habbit). Unfortunately he is probably going to jail Monday after drug court so he'll get to detox there. I actually feel realy bad for him and his wife because detoxing from heroin is a horrible, horrible thing.

Speaking of that the one thing that makes me sadder and madder then anything else is babies born addicted. BABIES SHOULD NEVER, NEVER, NEVER have to go through that. Here in my state we have a huge probem with perscription drugs, so even "normal" looking people have babies that are addicted. They don't screen babies unless they start to show signs of withdrawal. Many babies on opiates, don't even start showing signs until 48 hours after birth and by that time they are discharged. So they get to withdraw without any medical intervention. Lucky them. If the mom continues to use and breastfeed then they don't withdraw as bad, but if she uses and doesn't nurse, then she is high and can't take care of the baby while he/she withdraws. Thus setting up the awful cycle of neglect.

CPS talked to me about a baby today thats pretty bad off in the hospital with a bunch of different drugs in his system. Although this is a sad situation, he is going to receive medical care, and he will be placed in a home that can nurture him and meet his needs giving him a chance. I know this won't chance some of the effects of the substances he has been exposed to, but in a good home he can receive the interventions that will help him do the best he can with any limitations.

On a lighter note (probably only funny for those of us who deal in this sort of area), on the last visit with Jamie and her parents, they found a pipe in the diaper bag. They were whispering to each other about it and thought I hadn't noticed (I was typing notes). Hello! I'm there to supervise I'm going to be watching and listening to what you are doing even if I look busy at other things! Anyways they decided to put it back. After the visit I talked to foster mom who had no idea what I was talking about, and said she had been through the diaper bag. So I had to explain what a pipe looks like. Pipes are usually ordinary objects that have been altered a bit. In this case it was a pen tube (ie the top and bottom screwed off and the ink thingy removed) that was singed/burned on one end. It was pretty funny because she had wondered why there were so many of these broken pens around when they cleaned out the bedroom (this is a kinship foster mom).

Our local drug task force offers good trainings on what to look for if you are worried about drug use and I would highly recommend everyone, especially people with teens, take similar trainings. In one of them they even lit some pot so people would know what it smells like (don't worry, it was old stuff and they did it so that you couldn't get high!). After that, I finally understood what it was some of my highschool aquaintances were doing during lunch :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

placement shmacement

So finding a home for Suzie was more difficult then I had hoped. I had two posibilities going into today, but neither of them returned my phone calls. ( I had called them on Thursday, spoke to one on Friday, and then called again today) hmmm that should've been a clue for me that perhaps they aren't interested? The foster family coordinator let me know that one for sure was out later this evening.

So then I had the current foster family take Suzie to the short term shelter, but when she got there they called me (9pm) to say they didn't have room. I had called about 5:30 to let them know she was coming and they said they did have room, but apparently the message didn't get to the intake people. Fortunately they said they would keep her even though they were over as I had called earlier (gald I did that!). I'm also glad the foster dad stuck to his guns and said they couldn't take her back as they tried to pressure him to do so.

The placement has really not worked out, and the communication between me and the home has been all kinds of mixed up. They told me they didn't feel they could care for her, but said it wasn't an emergency. This evening they called their foster coordinator and my supervisor to tell them I wasn't doing my job to get Suzie to a new placement. However when I called them to let them know they were to take Suzie to the shelter (as we had talked about last week if she was too much to handle) they were again reluctant to do so. This left me very confused! I had hoped to have a placement for Suzie today, but as they know she isn't an easy child, and so its not suprising that its hard to find a home. Also though, if things were really as dire as they told my supervisor and their coordinator why didn't they take her to the shelter earlier? They tell me things are hard, but their ok to continue, and they tell others that theings are horrible and don't understand why I haven't moved her. Ok, enough venting. She is at the shelter tonight and hopefully everything will be taken care of tomorrow!

On the bright side I did get one CFA updated today. One down 15 more to go.

Monday, February 2, 2009

sort-of removal (ie take 2)

Yep, still being evil and stealing children! Today I did a sort-of removal where the kids (call them Jake and Celia) were with mom in a trial home placement at a treatment facility, but she got kicked out. Too bad dad is in jail so he can't care for them either (said a little sarcastically, I'll admit). In this case, it was fairly inivitable but I still had hoped that the parents would get it together! Too bad they just feel like everyone is out to get them and they are the best parents in the world.... yep thats my job to persecute the best parents in the world, FYI!

Total denial of how drugs have got them to this point in their lives. Total denial of how the neglect while they are high has effected their children. I'm not sure these guys are going to get it because you can't hit much more bottom then your kids getting removed, but here it is again. Just so frustrating! These kids want to be with their parents, I want them to be with their parents, and so does the family, but the parents are too focused on being the victims and continuing in their drug lifestyle. In this state they only get 12 months to turn it all around, and here we are 5 months into the program! NO MORE EXCUSES, NO MORE MESS UPS, NO MORE ATTITUDE! its like dealing with my teens :)

Speaking of teens, one of my RADteens is doing good this week (Celest). YAY! After reading some of the RADblogs, I'm going to see about getting her into EMDR, as we have a provider that we contract with that does it now. Their waiting list is getting huge because everyone is hearing about the awesome results they are having. Anyways Celest has really done awesome when I think of all she has been through. I sure wish she had had someone committ to her way back when. Talk about a depressing! I did her timeline about a year ago. Here is a kid whose story reads just like all the classic problems with foster care kids (languishing while waiting for parents to get it together, failed homes, no adoption goal, abused in a foster home, etc). There is actually a young woman (Sophie) interested in adopting her (I can say that as she is a couple of years younger then me), but Sophie has just been so flaky that it has almost made things worse. GRRRRR! (canceling visits, not setting up home rules and boundaries, etc). I don't know about you all but when I get a new case with a diagnosis, or something that I'm not completely familiar with I do my homework! Here is someone who says she is interested in adopting, but has yet to even understand what Celest has been through and how its affected her. When you cancel plans, or even percieved plans OF COURSE it effects my gal. DUH!

anyways I'm so glad things have changed in my state from when Celest first came into care (almost 14 years ago as she is almost 17). One of my kids, Freeda, just got adopted a couple of months ago at age. Freeda would probably be headed for the same life as Celest if things were done the same way, but fortunately for Freeda, she has a chance for something more now. I had a team meeting with Freeda's older brother Greg today and something is up with bio-mom. Sure enough I got a message tonight from the drug court team that she got arrested this weekend. Funny how that didn't come up in the team meeting :) Couldn't have been anything too major as she was released the next day, but I'll need to follow up on that. Oh joy. Well visitation isn't going to go unsupervised anytime soon!

Greg was pissed off the whole meeting because he can't find his i-pod. I told him to call his last placement and that didn't make him feel happy at all. Placement was a kinship/child specific placement that knew Greg from school and liked him and wanted to help. Yet again well-meaning people who didn't do their homework, felt that I was naieve (they didn't like his group home which granted wasn't perfect, but Greg was doing better then he had done previously), and were easily traingulated/manipulated by Greg. Because this was something that Greg was working for, and I felt one of the few chances for permanecy/normalcy for Greg, I pulled tons of strings for Greg to get to go there and step down from the group home by Christmas. They blew off every suggestion I made about the level of structure and supervision Greg needed. I realy tried to make this work, but it was almost a relief when Greg blew it, as it was going to disrupt eventually once they saw the not so charming side of Greg. They told him that one of their rules was no substance abuse. Pretty sure I told them that Greg liked to huff. Pretty sure I specifically warned about aresole items, inluding body spray as that is one of his favs. Guess what they found him doing? Guess they decided evil social worker didn't really know what she was talking about. Not that I'm still upset about that or anything.....

Anyways Greg is doing well in his new home. I'm pretty impressed with the rules they've laid out and the structure/supervision they've got. Not sure I'm real impressed with the therapist yet, but we will see. I sure hope he doesn't blow this one because the next time he is going JJS (ie out of foster care and into the criminal system) and I can't do much for him then. Yet again why I'm happy Freeda has an opportunity for a life seperate from this bio families dysfunction and destruction (4 generations of it). They are doing an open adoption with visits, etc all according to Freeda's needs. YAY!

Tomorrow I need to figure out which home to place Suzie with. oh joy. This is an icky case. 16 year old, DV family- more emotional/mental/psycological then physical but thats worse on the kids and harder to prove. Suzie has problems with being truthful so that doesn't help figure out whats going on in the family since she says one thing, they say another, etc. Truth usually ends up somewhere in the middle. Glad I've got an on the ball RFC (foster family coordinator) for this one!

My super supervisor sent me a list of all I need to do for the upcoming QCR's. I swear if they pull my name I will seriously consider quiting. I was dead set on doing that if they pulled me last year, and they didn't so I'm more optomistic this year. My supervisor really is the best, but I'm so far behind on documentation that if I take the time to catch up I won't do any actual casework for weeks/months!

I was going to type up my notes from CFTMs (team meetings) tonight (I think I'm current till October?), put in my home visits for last month and put off the rest tonight, but I decided to just come home, eat, blog, and go to bed instead (ie put it all off!). Don't worry there will be more to document tomorrow so my to do list will just get longer :)

Saturday, January 31, 2009


I'm creating this blog as an outlet for myself. Who knows where it will lead, but I'm just needing a place to vent; perhaps mostly sorrow and anger, but maybe joy that I can't share elsewhere.

I sometimes feel I lead a double life. I think I'm a fairly nice person, but I found myself, through God's direction, in the role of the "evil social worker" (hence the name of the blog :). I do admit sometimes I find it really funny when people ask what I do for work and when I reply they get this look on their face. Funny how when that happens the subject changes pretty fast! Every once and awhile when people ask what I do for a living I reply "steal children." Probably not a good idea, but it makes me laugh inside to see their faces. Several clients have told me thats what I do so I guess its not totally inaccurate. I'm actually not a CPS worker so I don't do that many removals, thank God! But I'm intimately connected to the process so I think its an ok answer when I need a laugh.

Speaking of that when people ask where I work I often reply with the location of my office which I know is not what they are asking but is easier then saying it. In my state I'm referred to as a permanency worker which means both in home and out of home cases. Mostly right now I have out of home (ie foster care). I actually prefer those to in-home but can comment on that someother time. I've been hired on for a little over 3 years which is practically forever in my field. Its sad but I've been on just about the longest in my group. I'm worried too because this past couple of months or so I've been feeling the effects of burnout (actually if I'm honest since about October 08). Everyone goes through that, and I've felt it before but I usually get out of it after a couple of weeks or months. I always told myself that if I got to the point where I wasn't effective I would find a new job. I feel very strongly about doing this job "right" which to me means caring enough to do the hard things. I'm stuggling right now to find the energy to do that and the caring is dulling. Just typing that is allowing me to cry a bit right now. I'm not much of a cryer, so perhaps this blog will help get me out of my pitty party. Thats part of the problem because I feel soooo stupid pitying myself when those I work with have it sooooo much worse. My life is a blessing and I forget and feel bad for myself. Stupid, stupid, stupid, I know.

I'm going to be really careful so as not to give info that could comprimise my anonimity, the confidentiality of the families I work with, etc. However, those who know me can probably recognize my "voice" and I'm not sure I'm clever enough, nor have enough energy to do it different. So if you think you know me please please still try and keep things on the "down low"

ps. I'm a horrible speller and don't have the patience for spell check so if anyone reads this just know that its one of my MANY shortcomings but not one that I'm particularly worried about :)