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 :)


Lisa said...

Hoping you feel much better really soon.

Deborah said...

Hello, I found you through your comment on another blog. It's nice to get a social workers perspective on things.

Thelma said...

saw your comments on another blog as well. I was once a foster care counselor...i.e. social worker. The children we work with change us...forever. The one I think of most often is TJ...she was a very troubled young lady that just wanted to be listened to. as her sw I did......but I was told by senior staff I was not her advocate and that TJ was just trouble...most of the SW's in her case just didnt want to deal with her.....but underneath all her bravado was a little girl who wanted to be loved. I wish I knew where TJ was today...... I did enjoy my job.....working with the kids......but the place I worked did NOT do the best for the kids and put kids in homes that were not uh.....shall we say up to par..... and despite me trying to change things.......I finally had to resign.......because no one was listening. After I left a child was killed due to unsafe habits...i.e. letting a child ride unrestrained and there was an accident...the powers that be knew this was going on and would not stop it......still the courts did not sanction anyone. in any case..... I remember all to well the massive case loads, the case plans, the court dates, supervised visits, visits to fp homes etc etc.....and never enough stretch to every need the kids had. but those kids on my case load......I remember every one of them. From TJ to little baby who needed a heart transplant to the only two children that were sucessfully reunified. and to failed adoptive placments...because of poor paper work etc etc .and one succesful adoptive placement. Those children changed me and I still pray for them

rekset said...

Hello, I was a foster child for much of my childhood, and my hatred of Social Workers has been deep and abiding. It always seemed they were searching for a cause, a way to view themselves better, and always believed that foster parents were a better choice than my drunk dad, or my borderline crazy mom. They were wrong, again and again, and it caused much pain. Explaining this to them only led to rationalizations and references to teachings which I intuitively understood to be incorrect. (I was tested with an IQ in the lower 200s at age 13.)

However, that was a long time ago, and your blog helps me see the other side. Although I still think social workers are mostly delusional and interested in their self-image more than practical solutions, I can see hard-working, caring person here. My apologies for my generalized feelings, because you obviously don't deserve it. You're trying to a very hard job, and getting the inevitable lack of gratitude that comes along. As a former foster child, let me say, "thanks". Not because my social workers' made good choices for me, but because I appreciate your sincerity and strength of character. May there be more of you.

If I can be so bold as to offer some advice, first, let me start with a simple psych principle: adult behavior does not change without significant life events. If you want someone to change, "gentle" will NEVER work. Neither will talk of any sort. The decisions, and ideas, have to originate in the client's head, not yours. Something on the order of bootcamp might. (Worked for me!)

Despite what you may have learned, bad love is much better than no love. Don't take kids from their parents unless their actual, practical, safety is the reason. Neglect above the age of 10 or so is not a safety issue, again opposing what your education tells you. If you must take kids from parents, see that they're returned as soon as behavior improves! Remember, these people, by their very natures, have weak acceptable delays for gratification. Slow positive reinforcement is NO positive reinforcement.

Finally, accept this: Everything you learned in the social sciences is suspect. Every, single thing - because your teachers were mostly people with weak natural empathy, who "created" their own artificial and intellectualized "empathy". Start conducting your own experiments on what works; compare your training to your experience. Guess which one I think you should trust?

Please. Save some children the pain that social workers caused me.