Thursday, March 25, 2010

A tough day

So I had to put my big girl britches on the last few days.

Eight months ago I got a particularly tough case where there was an infant and his seven year old sister placed in care due to the mother's drug use during pregnancy.

Let me first say that I don't think anyone sits down and thinks "Wow, I'd like to be a drug addict".

The mother simply doesn't have coping and good decision making skills.

The foster mother was new. Her first placement. I hope I can support her through the turmoil that is foster care.

On several occasions I asked her R&C worker to go on home visits with me so she would feel supported. (R&C is Recruitment and Certification for those not familiar with foster care lingo).

Foster mom and dad have a daughter of their own who is about five years older than the little girl.

The little girl has way too much knowledge for her age and is very intuitive.

Foster mom and mom clash. Well, to be honest I clash with mom too. Mental health issues can be difficult to navigate.

The tough part is that the little girl keeps telling mom, who tells me that the foster family is saying very degrading things about her mom in front of her, on the internet, to other people etc.

As the SW it's my job to address those issues. Of course, foster mom lied and said the child was making stuff up and manipulating. Okay.. maybe... I'm just letting you know that IF these things are going on, they shouldn't be.

Then I find out that not only is it true... (Shoulda blocked your Facebook), the family's real names, pictures and foster mom's true opinion is all over Facebook.

The child reported to me that she gets punished when her mother reports things to me because the foster mom says that "what happens in the foster home should stay in the foster home".

So, even though I rarely move kids. I hate moving kids, my supervisor says this is enough and I have to move them. And I agree this isn't a workable situation since I've addressed this about five times now.

I feel like I've failed these kids. I'm probably going to need to cry this one out. I did buy a few weeks to make one last ditch attempt to find some relatives. I have a few leads.

I completely understand the foster mom's frustration and feelings! But her feelings don't come before the child's feelings and needs.

It really doesn't matter if you think that the child's mom is crazy. The child loves her and should be free to do that without hearing snide remarks. Now, I have to move a child from the only home he's ever known and the mixture of heartbreak and anger are a disappointing wave we all will have to ride now. Ugg.


GB's Mom said...

Sorry you had such a tough week. The R&C worker is the one who missed the boat. New or not, if she thought at all, he should have known it is not in the kids best interest to trash their mother.

Babs said...

Thank you! I just dread moving them. Hope you all have a great day!! It's going to be raining here. LoL.

Rebekah said...

This is terrible. I have a lot of respect for my mom. Although a different situation, she went through a very messy divorce with my dad, (I was out of the house but had 2 much younger siblings still there) but was always very careful in the way she talked about him. She never wanted her opinions to taint theirs.

You must see so much...I think I would want to crawl in a hole and pretend I hadn't seen any of it! Thank you for making a difference.

Paula, With all my heart said...

Hey Babs, sorry you are going through this right now. Don't beat yourself up over this. You had no way of knowing when you placed these children there that this would happen.

Being a foster parent is one of the toughest things I have ever done. I have a good relationship with Little J's Bio Mom but it didn't come easy. I had to work very hard to get past the feelings I had for her. The anger, frustration, not understanding but through it all I do not EVER want Little J to hear negative things from me about his Bio Mom. I want his knowledge that he has of her to be only good things and I don't want to paint a bad image of her.

Hopefully these foster parents will get it and realize that no matter what these children do have Birth parents that they will always have to deal with and the best thing they can do is make the best of a bad situation and not to add to the childs problems.

Praying for you.

Snarky Mom said...

Oh ugh. I hate hearing things like this. Let me give my perspective as a foster parent first. Were those foster parents paying attention during training? In our training class it was DRILLED into us repeatedly that you don't disparage the bio parents ever. Period. You don't post pictures, information or real names of the children or family members anywhere. Period. What happens in the case is confidential. Period. There is NO gray area. Our licensing workers go over these guidelines with every single new placement and the foster parents sign the form stating they understand and will abide by the rules. Again- no gray area. So I really question the R&C worker, this should be HER issue to resolve.

Now on another note- when/if you do remove these children from that foster home- DO NOT sugar coat the reasons why. Be blunt, almost to the point of blame. Seriously. Otherwise, they WILL do it again in the next case if they remain licensed. Been there, done that as a social worker and it was a big mistake.

I feel for the kids. The little girl for having lived in an environment where she didn't feel like she could love her mom and the baby for having to leave the only home he's ever known. It's a lose/lose situation all around.

J. said...

that sucks, it is not fair that the foster mom is not more with it. I wish I lived in your state, I would take them! I hope it is not to hard and that you find a good placement for them.

Tara - SanitySrchr said...

I had to read this twice. Once before I left for work this morning, and again once I got here. I'm trying to keep our most recent revelations in mind, and not allow them to influence my opinions.

I have to agree with SnarkyMom. Everything in all of our MAPP classes, etc. it was POUNDED into our thick little skulls that you NEVER, EVER do any this. They even send you a certified letter, return receipt so they know you "get it".

I will say, in our perdiciment (my my husband's two kids), it's HARD, HARD, HARD to NOT bash the bio mom, especially given we've clashed since I was 11 y-o. I hide under the anonymity of my blog with changed names and subjective readers.

Never, ever in front of the kids. They do enough bashing of her on their own, but we've always tried to reinforce that regardless they must respect her.

We've learned over the last five years, that co-parenting is MUCH easier if you at least TRY to get along and put your big-girls panties on. That doesn't mean you agree, you just disagree respectfully and move forward in the best interest of the CHILD.

p.s. The kids don't even have a clue the blog exists. Now keep in mind that we weren't selected to be foster parents. Had we had placements, I would do everything within my power to protect their anonymity, story, and feelings.

jodilee0123 said...

I almost became a social worker. . . The major used to be combined with sociology in college and I had to choose which one when they split. I had no clue what the difference was. You have a really really difficult job. Thank-you for doing it. This really breaks my heart--for you having to deal with this and for the children having to endure more crap. The foster parents should know better. . . shame on them. You have a good cry. . . I know I would be a crying mess ALL THE TIME if I had your job. Can't help but love the children!

jodilee0123 said...

I would also like to say that I have never had foster parent training and would know that it is not okay to post photos, comments, use real names, verbally say things to put down anyone involved with the family to anyone--especially in front of the children. They should lose their license. I know it's difficult to find foster families--and good ones at that--but this is just plain awful and it is nobody's fault but the foster parents and their lack of judgment and professionalism. Babs. . .I'll be thinking of you! said...

In my state the foster parent training doesn't cover much except for state guidelines. We have to take other classes for things like that. I rant and rave and say snarky things in my blog but it's anonymous. My public life is private and I need the free therapy. On my facebook my foster parent life is private and everything else is public.
I think that if you have a person with such poor boundaries (trained or not) they are probably not the best personality to be a foster parent. Unfortunately good people can be bad foster parents and you usually don't know until after the child is placed.

Maggie said...

uggghhh. I was a caseworker prior to fostering, and let me just say I feel for you. I HATED moving kids from foster homes. What I hated even more were foster parents that did stupid stuff, or disrupted for dumb reasons or due to being ignorant.
If we were in the same state, I'd totally take these kids for you. Ugh.

Von said...

Interesting comments and I note many are saying 'poor you what a bad week'not much about the situation of children who are having a rotten life, being let down by all the adults in it and put through more trauma which I've no doubt will continue.
You at least have the grace to cry and presumably the empathy to do your best.Foster parents receive so little worthwhile training or support that this is inevitable.You are working in a field that does not put in enough to do the job properly, is frustrating and often does damage.Shame the priorities can't be got right, we've had long enough.

Snarky Mom said...

Hmmm. Von, I have to disagree. At least for my state anyway. Our training was in depth, informative and covered realistic issues. I know not all states have a high level of training but a lot do. And the basic issue of confidentiality should be addressed in every training program. I was certified to teach the foster care training program in our state so I know the material inside and out. No foster parent coming out of our state could possibly ever say that they didn't understand the confidentiality rules. Period.

SocialWrkr24/7 said...

Moving kids is the absolute worst. I had to help a caseworker do it a couple weeks ago and I was reminded about just how awful it really is. Hang in there and be honest with everyone involved. They all need to understand why this happened!