Tag Archives: children

Night and Day.

This is basically a continuation of yesterday’s blog.

So, yesterday my co-worker and I had to drive a bit of a distance to pick up three children in order to place them in a foster home.  We arrived at the designated meeting point about 3 minutes early.  The DHHR worker was at least 15 minutes late.  Go figure.

I can’t tell you how much my heart breaks for these three little ones.  Sometimes placements aren’t that difficult.  And I guess this placement wasn’t as difficult as just seeing the state of these kiddos.  First thing I noticed was the black eye of the 3 year old.  Then I noticed the big bumps and huge gash on the 2 year old’s head.  The little girl looked okay, but who knows.  The next thing I noticed was their stench.  These children smelled so terrible.  They were filty from head to toe and everywhere in between.  Snot and dried tears were caked on their little cheeks.  Their clothes were covered in dirt and who knows what else.  The doctor had said that they had bedbug bites, but to me the marks looked like a rash.

So, my coworker and I arrived back to the office around 730pm.  The foster mom and her mother were there already.  Foster dad was too good to come get the kids, I guess.

Side note: foster parents can be just as infuriating as birth parents.

We get the kids unloaded from our vehicle and the foster mom is like “we don’t have the car seats in yet.”  I go inside with the children to change their diapers.  All three were soaked and one had a poopy diaper.  Their clothes just — **shudder**.  So gross.  The foster mom FINALLY decided to start getting the car seats situated.  My coworker and I had to help her.  And of course rain started pouring down.  By the time everything was all said and done, my coworker and I were soaked, felt dirty, were dirty, and were exhausted.

I got home around 9pm.  I took a hot shower.  I’d like to say I went straight to bed (because that is what I really wanted to do).  After I got PJs on, my roommate and her boyfriend arrived home.  My roommate told me that a man came to the house asking about one of our vehicles.  He said that he’s been “checking it out” and that he’s been “looking around” the place.  CREEPED OUT!  So, I immediately call my boyfriend and tell him.  The guy left his number, but I couldn’t make out the last 4 digits.  I’m tempted to tell the police about the situation…  I locked the doors last night…

Today I got to work, brought my other coworker up to speed on the new children’s case because she will be their social worker.  I then went to do a home visit.  I swung by my house (which really is not at all “on the way”) before heading back to the office.  I got lost because I had never been that way home before and then I got stuck waiting for a train and I had to pee so bad because I had drank an extra large coffee from Sheetz and and and… Oh my goodness.  I just wanted to stay home and sleep!

Instead, I came back to the office and then went Wal-Mart shopping for the office.  Then me and three of my coworkers sat around talking about various families and their ability or lack thereof to be good parents…  I’ve been in the office for a total of 3 hours today at most.  I did manage to finish writing a home study (yay).

I’m going home now.  I may make myself an adult beverage.  Or I may just call it a night and go to bed…

Good day.

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Referrals.

As you know by now, I am a Foster Care Social Worker.  Today I was hoping to leave work around 10 minutes ago (4PM).  Instead, we received a referral and now I have to play phone tag and the waiting game.

Part of my duties and responsibilities at my agency include teaching a class that prepares people to become foster and adoptive parents.  During this class we discuss many things such as teamwork, attachment, discipline, loss and grief, family relationships, planning for change, and a multitude of other necessary components of foster care and adoption.  When I discuss the referral process I state something like this:

The DHHR calls us with a referral.  We ask many questions about the child or sibling group in order to know as much as possible about the situation before contacting our families about the referral.  We ask questions regarding behaviors, education, medical needs, abuse and neglect history, placement history, and reunification plans.  If the child has been in the system for a long time or if the DHHR has been involved with family in order to prevent a foster care placement, chances are that we will know a good bit about the child or sibling group.  However, there are many times when we receive very limited information about the situation.  Sometimes we only know the age and race of the children.  So, when we call you with a referral, we will pass on whatever details we have gathered.  If I state “that is all I know,” that means that I have no further information about the children.

So, today I called a family and said something like, “we have a 21 month old Caucasian boy, [name], who is developmentally delayed.  I’m not sure what ‘developmentally delayed’ means in this situation because the worker didn’t know what kind of delays the child has.  Also, mom is incarcerated, but the worker didn’t know what for.  Dad is MIA.  The boyfriend is very violent towards the mother and baby.  This is all I know.”  Thankfully this family has been through the process enough times to know not to ask, “what developmental delays does the child have? Does he have any behaviors we should know about? What is mom incarcerated for? Where’s the biological father?” etc.

I remember making a referral where I literally knew that there was a boy and a girl and one of them was 1 and the other 2, but I didn’t know which was which (the person who gave me the referral was not the case worker for the children).  That was ALL I knew.  That parent asked me a thousand questions.  I just kept saying, “I don’t have any more information.”

Also, during the classes I teach I stress that we never know all of the information.  We may be told that the child has been neglected, but we may not find out that the child was also sexually abused until 6 months down the road.  Why?  Because a child needs to be know that he/she is in a safe home before confiding such a terrible secret.  We stress the importance of nurturing and loving children.  We stress that positive attention is needed in these children’s lives because the majority of the children in foster care or in need of adoption have a history of abuse and/or neglect.  We have one foster father who really irritates me because I always feel that he is focusing on all the “bad” the child is doing.  I am sure to praise the child for small achievements like a C on a test or a day of no fighting.  Children crave and need praise for the little things so that they know they can do better things.  If they know that they aren’t always bad and that they can do well, then (generally) they act better.

I love the kids I work with.

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