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amethystbliss
Jan 17, 2006



Thanks! We're very happy and relieved that it's all finalized.

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RabbitMage
Nov 20, 2008


Congrats on the expanded family, Amethyst!

So, again, I want to keep details vague. The baby in question is not yet born but will be making his appearance any time now. The parents want to keep the baby. However there are current legal issues and drug abuse issues, and extended family is fairly concerned for the baby. Of everyone on the father's side of the family, we're in the best position to take in a baby. I don't know a thing about the mother or her family beyond third-hand stories that paint a pretty ugly picture.

So there's a lot of "what ifs" in there, but we know if anything DOES happen and the baby can't stay with his parents, things could move quickly and we want to be prepared.

I don't know what to be prepared for, though. Legal guardianship is the thing that was mentioned to us, but I don't know what, if anything, is going to happen.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


If you're concerned that baby is in danger at any point, call cps. Just do it. The only infant deaths I've had to cope with were newborns who's drugged out parents rolled over on them - preventable almost every time if a relative or friend had clued us in that they were using.

After that, cps will handle the legal arrangements. There are no involuntary guardianships without at least brief cps involvement in this situation. Make sure if that baby goes to foster care that you are active and available when they need you.

Also, the parents would have the opportunity to have at least six months to get clean and straighten out and get their child back. That means visitation and family drama.

Guardianships are also not preferred for infants, they would want you to adopt.

Is anyone helping the parents? Are they able to use support properly? The path of least resistance is to babysit the baby so much that eventually you go and file for a probate guardianship because you don't know where the parents are.

amethystbliss
Jan 17, 2006



In our case, we had temporary guardianship but the birth mother consented to the arrangement and never fought us so I'm afraid I don't have a lot of first-hand advice to give. If the parents want to keep the baby, and do not want to give up custody to you, I'm not sure how that all works. I'm a postpartum nurse at a hospital that sees a lot of these sorts of issues, and my understanding is that family placement doesn't always happen first over foster placement. I could be totally wrong on this, maybe MockingBird has more experience here. I just know anecdotal stories of family members who say they were willing and ready to become guardians, but courts said no and placed with external foster care instead. A CPS report is definitely the best way to get the ball rolling.

RabbitMage
Nov 20, 2008


I guess that's the other part of this. I really don't think it's going to play out the way our extended family thinks it will.

So, complicating factors: we're nowhere near this baby. The parents live in a state that borders ours, but are still about 12 hours away. But currently they're in a state halfway across the country to have their baby delivered by a midwife in the family, because they're afraid of what could happen if they went to a hospital, seeing as both parents have been using and dad has a warrant out for his arrest (which is a different E/N saga involving the girlfriend's mom). Mom HAS been clean for at least a few weeks now, and at least in pictures looks to be healthy. Family told us she was "maybe" smoking meth, but I know what habitual meth users look like, and granted, she's young, but she doesn't look like someone that's been smoking regularly.

The family midwife is housing them both. When/if they return to their home state, I'm not sure of the quality of the support network they have. I have heard that the girlfriend's mother wants to take the baby and not allow any contact, which is part of the reason they're not having the baby there.

It's...all a mess. I'm worried about this kiddo in the long term. But my MIL's "be ready to be handed a baby" is not really how this works.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


He will likely be an immediate detainee for CPS/DCFS and then placed in foster care. If there isn't immediate bio family that can take him, then he will end up with a foster family and he will likely stay with them until a suitable bio family member is found. There is no rush, and if you don't want to immediately be involved then you have some time to get your stuff together while the baby is safe with a foster family until you decide to get involved.

We are ~8 months in to our current placement, and the bio great grand mother is still holding out hope her home will be cleared for placement. Our termination of parental rights hearing is January, so she has 4 months to get it together. But if she hasn't gotten it together by now then, well...

EDIT: If she has been using during her pregnancy, there is a possibility the child will have physical and/or mental issues. We have lucked out, our two meth-positive foster kids have been very healthy so far. But we know issues could arise for them in the future. You need to mentally prepare yourself for a child that has physical and/or emotional needs beyond whatever family drama you would be dealing with. Do some research into meth-exposed children and steel yourself, if this is something you for sure want to be involved with.

VorpalBunny fucked around with this message at 06:20 on Sep 5, 2017

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Friend of ours is going through an emergency guardianship placement right now but it was weirdly hosed up. The sister called CPS on them who came out, said everything was fine nothing of note but then the courts took the kids out anyway and now it's turning into a court hearing with attorney's and it's just a nasty situation for everyone involved. I don't agree with how it was done at all and I don't believe the kids best interest were at heart on that one. Long story, but yeah call CPS if you suspect anything just to have it checked out.

After fostering a child, if we do this again we're going for a gay teen or trans-gendered kid to give them love and support so they have a chance at life. We have a massive population of kids 12-16 displaced because of "their lifestyle choices" per their family or loved one's and no other valid reason.

Our case worker and her supervisor/state are all on board with us keeping our foster child, but obviously the court has the final decision. As long as we get to take the kid to Disney World with us like we planned to then it'll all be worth it

Edited to not sound so heinous.

Kodilynn fucked around with this message at 19:30 on Sep 5, 2017

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


Our situation is still up in the air here. We have 3 boys now, a sibling group - 2.5 years old, almost 2 and then a 3 month old who was born almost 2 months early. It's been a year and there has been 0 progress from the bio parents - as mentioned before, they have more to do now than they did when the boys were first taken. We've had the older boys for almost 7 months now and the baby since he came out of the NICU. The boys were removed from a previous foster home for neglect. Our 2 bio children (12 and 7) are amazingly helpful and loving towards the boys, which has made this entire process so much easier.

Since it's been a year, we just had the annual review. The judge was very blunt with the parents, but they swear that THIS time they are going to get it together and make it work. They have moved (for the 9th time in the last year) to stay with an older family friend who is able to give them rides sometimes, but they're still very resistant to some of their case plan (primarily the requirements around mental health). So, they've been given a 6-month extension with the understanding that if significant, immediate progress isn't made by the parents, the county will be filing to terminate their parental rights next month.

It's such a strange situation to be in. I want to advocate for the parents and be there to support them, but they've consistently shown that they don't have good priorities, don't seem to care about getting this stuff done or about learning what to do to be able to be good parents long-term. The second child has fairly significant medical needs that require multiple weekly medical appointments, feeding tubes, etc and we've seen some really incredible progress in the last 6+ months. We're afraid of that all going away if the parents manage to half-rear end this case plan and get the boys back somehow.

So whether or not we're going to keep the boys, we'll at least have them through the holidays - which may be bittersweet, but we're trying not to think of that.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Solaron posted:

Since it's been a year, we just had the annual review. The judge was very blunt with the parents, but they swear that THIS time they are going to get it together and make it work. They have moved (for the 9th time in the last year) to stay with an older family friend who is able to give them rides sometimes, but they're still very resistant to some of their case plan (primarily the requirements around mental health). So, they've been given a 6-month extension with the understanding that if significant, immediate progress isn't made by the parents, the county will be filing to terminate their parental rights next month.

Our fosters case has been open for 2 years. The only reason rights haven't been terminated yet is because the foster children want to be with their mother. However at the last hearing the judge did make it clear that reunification wasn't going to happen but that guardianship via kinship was still open so that rights wouldn't be terminated. The courts do some weird stuff sometimes.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Solaron posted:

So whether or not we're going to keep the boys, we'll at least have them through the holidays - which may be bittersweet, but we're trying not to think of that.

This actually brings up an interesting issue we've had to deal with for the past few years. Before we adopted my youngest son, we had him for 2 holiday seasons. We included him in every family photo, gave him a stocking like everyone else, essentially treated him like a permanent part of the family even though we knew he could leave at any time. We had some friends who were fostering at the same time, and they took the opposite approach. They didn't include their foster kid in photos and didn't do the same traditions as their bio kid. Their argument was they weren't sure how long the kid would be there, it would be too painful to look back on photos for a kid they no longer had, etc. It's just one of those little issues you don't think about too much while you are in training. We actually have photos of those friends' old foster child hanging on our fridge, while I assume they have purged all documentation of him from their lives. They recently gave up their foster license, which is probably the best for everyone.

We now have our latest foster placement for the holidays, and her parental rights termination hearing is 3 days before her first birthday in January. This is going to be an interesting next few months!

And her bio mom cancelled her visit this morning ONCE AGAIN, at the last minute, so I emailed all the social workers involved to revise her visitation to one day a week. She hasn't seen her daughter in weeks, I could be doing so much more with this time I am wasting preparing for (and often driving to) these cancelled visits. After this mom decided to skip court last week (her one big chance to advocate for her daughter), I have given up responding to her random text messages and playing these erratic games and am going to stick to communicating strictly through the social workers. I don't give a poo poo if you think we should be dressing her in princess clothes, actually make an effort to visit with her and then we can talk.

Anne Whateley
Feb 11, 2007
i like nice words


Kodilynn posted:

After fostering a child, if we do this again we're going for a gay teen or trans-gendered kid to give them love and support so they have a chance at life. We have a massive population of kids 12-16 displaced because of their lifestyle choices and no other reason.
If you really want to help a gay kid, it's important not to think being gay is a "lifestyle choice."

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

This may have been said many times before, but I cannot stress it enough: People who think that adoption is 'too expensive' for them really need to look into the process. I'm a big advocate for fost-adoption, because it both encourages stability and permanence for kids whose bio families may never be in a position to reliably care for them, and provides adoptive parents with far more support than they'd get via private or international adoption.

I'm not knocking the alternatives, because everyone is going to have their own legitimate reasons for choosing what avenue of foster care or adoption they want to partake in, but if cost is an issue they should really look into fost-adoption. I feel like it is the best of both worlds; there is plenty of capacity toward maintaining a relationship with bio family, you can network with other fost-adopt families for play dates and share experiences, and you have the financial support to ensure your child gets the best possible opportunities in life.

I've heard some people mention they don't want to fost-adopt because they don't want to jump through all the hoops to get licensed (First Aid certification, Home Study, Background Check, etc) and this is too bad. In a lot of counties, by the time fost adopt parents are licensed they are much closer to being prepared for children than a bio family is, who doesn't have any oversight, bimonthly social worker visits, or legal matters to deal with. I've heard some families flat out say stuff like "Its not the county's business what we do with our lives, we want a child with less judgement/scrutiny" and I wanna scream that poo poo like that is why these kids are in foster care in the first place

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


EDIT: OOps, responding to Anne Whately / KodiLynn here!

^^^^ Definitely - I'm assuming just not translating their thoughts clearly, but that really isn't the way to think of or talk about LGBT (and oftentimes is the kind of language that has contributed to their situation).

VorpalBunny posted:

This actually brings up an interesting issue we've had to deal with for the past few years. Before we adopted my youngest son, we had him for 2 holiday seasons. We included him in every family photo, gave him a stocking like everyone else, essentially treated him like a permanent part of the family even though we knew he could leave at any time. We had some friends who were fostering at the same time, and they took the opposite approach. They didn't include their foster kid in photos and didn't do the same traditions as their bio kid. Their argument was they weren't sure how long the kid would be there, it would be too painful to look back on photos for a kid they no longer had, etc. It's just one of those little issues you don't think about too much while you are in training. We actually have photos of those friends' old foster child hanging on our fridge, while I assume they have purged all documentation of him from their lives. They recently gave up their foster license, which is probably the best for everyone.

We now have our latest foster placement for the holidays, and her parental rights termination hearing is 3 days before her first birthday in January. This is going to be an interesting next few months!

And her bio mom cancelled her visit this morning ONCE AGAIN, at the last minute, so I emailed all the social workers involved to revise her visitation to one day a week. She hasn't seen her daughter in weeks, I could be doing so much more with this time I am wasting preparing for (and often driving to) these cancelled visits. After this mom decided to skip court last week (her one big chance to advocate for her daughter), I have given up responding to her random text messages and playing these erratic games and am going to stick to communicating strictly through the social workers. I don't give a poo poo if you think we should be dressing her in princess clothes, actually make an effort to visit with her and then we can talk.

Yeah, we have the boys in our family photos and include them in anything and everything we can. If we do lose them, it will be sad and I'm sure it will be painful, but I would rather look back and have those memories.

As far as visitation goes, after the parents missed a few in a row, we talked to the agency and they implemented a new rule that the bioparents have to call 1 hour in advance before each visitation and confirm with the agency that they are going to be there. If they don't call, we don't take the boys - and they've neglected to call a few times and shown up anyway, only to be turned away. It's helped us with the pointless trips (and loading up / taking a 30 minute car ride with 3 boys under 3 is not an easy task by itself).

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Anne Whateley posted:

If you really want to help a gay kid, it's important not to think being gay is a "lifestyle choice."

Not quite what I meant. That's how their parents see it. I just want them to feel loved and welcomed. Wrong choice of words on my part for sure, meaning more that they were displaced by family for being described that way. I apologize for the way that sounded, I can see where that was a really bad in phrasing on my part. They'd be completely welcomed by our family and extended family.

Kodilynn fucked around with this message at 19:14 on Sep 5, 2017

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


After last week's visitation debacle, and a reminder from our Social Worker that Bio mom and Bio dad aren't allowed to visit together based on a court order from previous domestic violence problems (even though they live together in a motel right now)...I got a text from Bio mom saying this week's visit would be her last for a while as she is checking into lockdown rehab. It took me a few hours to realize why she is going into rehab now, when she supposedly started a new job and is in her third trimester - she doesn't want her baby to test positive when he's born. She wants to keep him.

Yesterday bio dad confirmed visitation for 11am, bio mom confirmed for 12pm and today at 12:30pm I drove away from the visitation center after they stood us up completely. As I was driving home, they texted me to say they were "8 mins away, sorry about that" but I was already halfway home and the social worker told me not to worry about it. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, once again, and they proved to me that chaos rules in their lives.

I continue to be grateful that our foster daughter is too young at 8months to understand what is happening, and I continue to monitor the resentment I feel that these assholes are passing up every chance they get to see this amazing little girl. They don't seem to understand it's not me they are keeping waiting for hours on end, it's the little girl they claim to love so much. And the excuses are always so flimsy and odd, I have to chalk it up to drugs and chaos in their life.

Now I get word that Bio mom is delaying her rehab so she can have one last visit with her daughter next week, and all I can think is how she'll sabotage that as well and then use it as an excuse to put off rehab once more. I don't think these people understand the gravity of the situation, she is about to give birth to another kid who will likely test positive for drugs and be taken away again. That's two kids under 1 in the foster care system, and she's maybe 20.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


VorpalBunny posted:

After last week's visitation debacle, and a reminder from our Social Worker that Bio mom and Bio dad aren't allowed to visit together based on a court order from previous domestic violence problems (even though they live together in a motel right now)...I got a text from Bio mom saying this week's visit would be her last for a while as she is checking into lockdown rehab. It took me a few hours to realize why she is going into rehab now, when she supposedly started a new job and is in her third trimester - she doesn't want her baby to test positive when he's born. She wants to keep him.

Yesterday bio dad confirmed visitation for 11am, bio mom confirmed for 12pm and today at 12:30pm I drove away from the visitation center after they stood us up completely. As I was driving home, they texted me to say they were "8 mins away, sorry about that" but I was already halfway home and the social worker told me not to worry about it. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, once again, and they proved to me that chaos rules in their lives.

I continue to be grateful that our foster daughter is too young at 8months to understand what is happening, and I continue to monitor the resentment I feel that these assholes are passing up every chance they get to see this amazing little girl. They don't seem to understand it's not me they are keeping waiting for hours on end, it's the little girl they claim to love so much. And the excuses are always so flimsy and odd, I have to chalk it up to drugs and chaos in their life.

Now I get word that Bio mom is delaying her rehab so she can have one last visit with her daughter next week, and all I can think is how she'll sabotage that as well and then use it as an excuse to put off rehab once more. I don't think these people understand the gravity of the situation, she is about to give birth to another kid who will likely test positive for drugs and be taken away again. That's two kids under 1 in the foster care system, and she's maybe 20.

Yeesh. I've had a few instances where we've arranged a visit and we're en route and the bio has cancelled as we're driving there or we get there waiting and she cancels after we've already been there 20 minutes. Hurts the kid moreso than anything and it's not like the court is going to ignore that. I feel your pain there but I'm glad the state had your side of not having to worry about it.

We had a meeting with the Assistant DA and Lawyer for the kids yesterday. They interviewed our foster child solo just to go over what she really wants. They talked to us afterwards and said that she was consistent in her statements of wanting to be reunited. They asked us if we were interested in adoption and we of course said yes. We've been reminded that since this is a tribal sibling case that they will try everything to place them together which takes us out of it largely, but don't completely lose hope. The other thing they're pursuing is the grandmother has chimed in saying she wants permanent guardianship of both kids so they're having a family conference to check if that's financially possible among other issues with it. She and bio live in the same apartment complex so that'd make visitations for the family easy at least. I'll be curious to see how that goes however, they made it clear she'd have to have a home study, proof of financials, etc. to even qualify.

On a more positive note we got all the paperwork in to take foster child with us to Disney World and it got approved so we're all excited

Kodilynn fucked around with this message at 12:57 on Sep 15, 2017

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


We're having a rough time right now. The middle boy in our 3-sibling-group has some medical issues (cerebral palsy, epilepsy, feeding tube), is in multiple therapies every week and was recently placed on a ketogenic diet, requiring multiple daily blood glucose and blood ketone tests, special formula we have to weigh and mix and a lot of pills we have to measure and grind. The county agency says that they don't deal with 'therapeutic' cases and for a child like this one, they don't have any support structure really. We're losing sleep and going a little crazy monitoring him and taking care of all of his needs - and getting respite is about impossible because of the specialized training required that scares most people away.

Don't really have any questions, just venting right now.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Solaron posted:

We're having a rough time right now. The middle boy in our 3-sibling-group has some medical issues (cerebral palsy, epilepsy, feeding tube), is in multiple therapies every week and was recently placed on a ketogenic diet, requiring multiple daily blood glucose and blood ketone tests, special formula we have to weigh and mix and a lot of pills we have to measure and grind. The county agency says that they don't deal with 'therapeutic' cases and for a child like this one, they don't have any support structure really. We're losing sleep and going a little crazy monitoring him and taking care of all of his needs - and getting respite is about impossible because of the specialized training required that scares most people away.

Don't really have any questions, just venting right now.

Does the child have an attorney? Is there a foster care advocate or ombudsman?

They should be paying you a special rate to the degree that you can afford to pay a CNA to watch him for respite or be able to check him into a low acuity residential Childrens hospital temporarily. What's the structure in your state for gravely disabled children? Are you connected to those resources?

For comparison San Francisco county pays $5k a month for foster parents of medically fragile children.

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


Mocking Bird posted:

Does the child have an attorney? Is there a foster care advocate or ombudsman?

They should be paying you a special rate to the degree that you can afford to pay a CNA to watch him for respite or be able to check him into a low acuity residential Childrens hospital temporarily. What's the structure in your state for gravely disabled children? Are you connected to those resources?

For comparison San Francisco county pays $5k a month for foster parents of medically fragile children.

We were told that some agencies in the area that handle medically fragile or 'therapeutic' children have those kinds of setups, but that our county agency doesn't handle any children with those kinds of needs. So when a child does have those kinds of needs, as part of a sibling group, they simply have no processes to deal with it. We get the same rate for him as we do for his brother who is ~10 months older and has 0 issues.

We have a CASA worker for him but that's the extent of it. The kids are over their 1 year mark, and the county *might* file for PC as soon as October... or as late as next February. A CNA occasionally or something would be simply amazing.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Can I ask the state? Or county? Or you could PM me, I can see if I can dredge up some guidance for you.

Have you considered becoming certified with those local agencies that care for the medically fragile kiddos?

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


Mocking Bird posted:

Can I ask the state? Or county? Or you could PM me, I can see if I can dredge up some guidance for you.

Have you considered becoming certified with those local agencies that care for the medically fragile kiddos?

After your comment yesterday I dug in and did some more Googling and talked to our case worker and a couple other families in our area. I'm still new to fostering (we got our placement the day after we were licensed, these 3 are our first) so I may be incorrect on my understanding of some of these.

It seems like Ohio is fairly unique - each county and agency set their own rates. So the county next to me has a smaller stipend but separately fully covers childcare, diapers, some respite, etc. Our county has a higher rate but only offers $125/wk for childcare regardless of age/needs of the child. The county has also decided that they don't have a category for therapeutic needs children - so while they acknowledge that they exist, they say they aren't equipped to deal with them and normally send them to other private agencies. In this case, since it's part of a sibling group and initially, 12 months ago, they were expected to be an easy reunification, they just kept them both in the system (before their baby brother was born).

My wife and I plan on talking to the county again. We don't want to mess anything up as far as timelines go by trying to move to a different agency and we really like the caseworker the boys have, but we also know that the way Ohio handles adoption subsidies is tied directly to the amount that the child gets today - so if we get $20 / day, that is the max adoption subsidy you could ever get (and odds are it would be half of that or so). So we really just mostly want to know that if we adopt, we will be able to have the support we need for him.

If we don't adopt these three, we've been talking about changing agencies. Until you mentioned it, I wasn't aware that there was more certification we could do to work with medically fragile kids, but you're right - there's a whole separate thing we could do to be qualified to work with more kids like him. That is definitely something we will look into.

Depending what the county says I may PM you for advice! Thank you!

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Good luck!!! Always fight for what your children need, most places need good foster parents so badly they will have to listen

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


I just had to share this:

Bio mom to our almost-9-month old girl is pregnant. I have never gotten a due date from anyone, though I keep asking as I know we will be the first call if the kid is detained in the hospital. My guess is mom must have gotten pregnant the first chance she got, so the baby is due likely due next month if she goes to term. I'm trying to accept the fact we cannot bring that new baby into our home, which is really hard since those kids are so close in age. I'm struggling a bit with this.

Anyway, we had visitation yesterday and bio-mom had all these gift bags with her. It turns out...she had a baby shower for her unborn child and was sharing the gifts with our foster daughter. It was all kind of surreal, I was trying to understand throwing a party for a child you likely won't keep and sharing the gifts with the child you are on track to lose. The level of denial is kind of amazing, I can't even imagine how to live life like that.

We also got a report through the social worker that bio-grandmother (who has a restraining order against bio-mom) is still living in the same house as bio-mom and bio-dad, who also have restraining orders against each other. She reported that bio-mom and bio-dad get into screaming matches all the time, the cops are often called but don't bother showing up, and that bio-mom is smoking weed while bio-dad is actively using meth. So the chances are pretty high her child will test positive for at least marijuana at birth, which is what makes the baby shower and impending birth all so surreal to me. There are also 4 other minor children living in that house, I can't even imagine it.

Chaos, denial, rage, restraining orders...they keep saying they are headed to rehab, but bio-grandmother says they have no plans for it. How do these people think they are going to be able to keep and raise a baby?

I just had to share. I got that glimpse into chaos and was grateful to return to my relatively boring life.

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


I wish that situation was more unusual

Also, I took a new position at my job and am now the "placement and concurrent planning social worker" which means I make sure all our kiddos have good places to live and people to love them and I do the family finding/outreach/licensing.

It's nice, I see more good thing and less chaos now

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Mocking Bird posted:

I wish that situation was more unusual

Also, I took a new position at my job and am now the "placement and concurrent planning social worker" which means I make sure all our kiddos have good places to live and people to love them and I do the family finding/outreach/licensing.

It's nice, I see more good thing and less chaos now

Congrats! That's awesome!!

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


It's looking more and more likely that our 3 foster boys will be available for adoption. The county files the paperwork tomorrow for permanent custody - there will be a hearing scheduled sometime in the next few months to decide and then the adoption process would start. It's conceivable that the parents could start to make progress now, but it's been 14 months and they've not done a single thing from their case plan so I doubt it.

Since one of the boys has significant medical/special needs and the baby was born 2 months premature, we know there will be extra expenses and things as the kids grow. If we did adopt, for instance, we would need to remodel our home to make it more workable for a child in a wheelchair who has very little control of his own body (at this point at least).

It seems as though there are some tax benefits and credits that can help with this. My understanding is that the boys, being part of a sibling group and with 1 of them having these special needs, would all be considered special needs by the state for purposes of this tax stuff, but I don't fully understand it. Is this something I could go to an H&R block type place for or how do I find someone who is trustworthy and specializes in this type of work?


Mocking Bird posted:

I wish that situation was more unusual

Also, I took a new position at my job and am now the "placement and concurrent planning social worker" which means I make sure all our kiddos have good places to live and people to love them and I do the family finding/outreach/licensing.

It's nice, I see more good thing and less chaos now

Congrats on that! I bet that feels a lot better than the chaos and negative stuff.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Solaron posted:

It's looking more and more likely that our 3 foster boys will be available for adoption. The county files the paperwork tomorrow for permanent custody - there will be a hearing scheduled sometime in the next few months to decide and then the adoption process would start. It's conceivable that the parents could start to make progress now, but it's been 14 months and they've not done a single thing from their case plan so I doubt it.

Since one of the boys has significant medical/special needs and the baby was born 2 months premature, we know there will be extra expenses and things as the kids grow. If we did adopt, for instance, we would need to remodel our home to make it more workable for a child in a wheelchair who has very little control of his own body (at this point at least).

It seems as though there are some tax benefits and credits that can help with this. My understanding is that the boys, being part of a sibling group and with 1 of them having these special needs, would all be considered special needs by the state for purposes of this tax stuff, but I don't fully understand it. Is this something I could go to an H&R block type place for or how do I find someone who is trustworthy and specializes in this type of work?


Congrats on that! I bet that feels a lot better than the chaos and negative stuff.

Adoption assistance and Medicare should help with these expenses. I don't know how it is in other states, but people that fost-adopt special needs kids in CA continue to receive funding and support for these children. The social worker(s) may be able to help provide info about tax stuff, along with a tax preparer as well.


Mocking Bird posted:

I wish that situation was more unusual

Also, I took a new position at my job and am now the "placement and concurrent planning social worker" which means I make sure all our kiddos have good places to live and people to love them and I do the family finding/outreach/licensing.

It's nice, I see more good thing and less chaos now
Congrats! Concurrent Planning is probably less stressful than Family Maintenance/Family Reunification or Emergency Response, both of which can reveal the particularly ugly sides of CPS. But don't be shocked when you deal with lovely Foster Parents that make you scratch your head and think "How the hell did you guys ever get licensed?". You probably know the types, the ones that get super passive-agressive when they realize did emergency foster care or fostered a newborn that doesn't necessarily mean they'll the at the top of the list for adoption if they aren't already licensed for it as well.

Tulalip Tulips
Sep 1, 2013

The best apologies are crafted with love.


Mocking Bird posted:

I wish that situation was more unusual

Also, I took a new position at my job and am now the "placement and concurrent planning social worker" which means I make sure all our kiddos have good places to live and people to love them and I do the family finding/outreach/licensing.

It's nice, I see more good thing and less chaos now

Super late but congrats! In my state we have an entirely separate branch specifically for foster care licensing, out reach, investigating complaints against licensed foster homes/group homes/facilities and everyone I've worked with who has transferred there loves it for the same reason.

Tulalip Tulips fucked around with this message at 16:09 on Oct 20, 2017

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


Tulalip Tulips posted:

Super late but congrats! In my state we have an entirely separate branch specifically for foster care licensing, out reach, investigating complaints against licensed foster homes/group homes/facilities and everyone I've worked with who has transferred there loves it for the same reason.

Thanks girl! Itís a separate operation here too (though still sharing a program director) and Iím actually in the in-between space because technically they canít supervise me in case they try to pressure me to favor our foster or adoptive parents over relatives - more than 50% of my work is relative outreach and screening.

Panfilo posted:

Adoption assistance and Medicare should help with these expenses. I don't know how it is in other states, but people that fost-adopt special needs kids in CA continue to receive funding and support for these children. The social worker(s) may be able to help provide info about tax stuff, along with a tax preparer as well.

Congrats! Concurrent Planning is probably less stressful than Family Maintenance/Family Reunification or Emergency Response, both of which can reveal the particularly ugly sides of CPS. But don't be shocked when you deal with lovely Foster Parents that make you scratch your head and think "How the hell did you guys ever get licensed?". You probably know the types, the ones that get super passive-agressive when they realize did emergency foster care or fostered a newborn that doesn't necessarily mean they'll the at the top of the list for adoption if they aren't already licensed for it as well.

Iíve been a social worker for five ish years so Iím definitely not shocked by that. I work in a very small county now so we only have about forty foster families total - less places for terrible foster parents to hide! We have a pretty good group, and Iím working more directly with them now which has been wonderful.

Fostering to adopt is so emotionally hard I canít even bring myself to be upset at a parent that wants to keep a child, we can all be selfish when it comes to our children.

Solaron posted:

It's looking more and more likely that our 3 foster boys will be available for adoption. The county files the paperwork tomorrow for permanent custody - there will be a hearing scheduled sometime in the next few months to decide and then the adoption process would start. It's conceivable that the parents could start to make progress now, but it's been 14 months and they've not done a single thing from their case plan so I doubt it.

Since one of the boys has significant medical/special needs and the baby was born 2 months premature, we know there will be extra expenses and things as the kids grow. If we did adopt, for instance, we would need to remodel our home to make it more workable for a child in a wheelchair who has very little control of his own body (at this point at least).

It seems as though there are some tax benefits and credits that can help with this. My understanding is that the boys, being part of a sibling group and with 1 of them having these special needs, would all be considered special needs by the state for purposes of this tax stuff, but I don't fully understand it. Is this something I could go to an H&R block type place for or how do I find someone who is trustworthy and specializes in this type of work?


Congrats on that! I bet that feels a lot better than the chaos and negative stuff.

Your child welfare agency should absolutely be helping and guiding you through this process - if your social worker doesnít know whatís up, someone at their office must! Politely ask to speak to whoever handles adoptions and post adoption cases. You can also call the state social services agency and ask for information on adopting medically fragile children.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Trip to Disney World with our foster was incredible Everyone had a blast, pretty sure my wife and I had more fun than the kids. I'm so glad our foster child got to come with us!

In other news, family that wanted kinship was uh... denied. No beds available, unlivable conditions, no food, not enough income, among other issues. SO that is out the window. Next being tribal I guess they're going to ask anyone in the blood line if they want to try before putting them up for adoption in which case HERE WE COME! We still have court in November but I'm not sure what will actually happen since family options are running dry. The state already said reunification has failed and won't happen, but didn't terminate rights at the children's request.

Kodilynn fucked around with this message at 17:19 on Oct 23, 2017

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


Kodilynn posted:

Trip to Disney World with our foster was incredible Everyone had a blast, pretty sure my wife and I had more fun than the kids. I'm so glad our foster child got to come with us!

In other news, family that wanted kinship was uh... denied. No beds available, unlivable conditions, no food, not enough income, among other issues. SO that is out the window. Next being tribal I guess they're going to ask anyone in the blood line if they want to try before putting them up for adoption in which case HERE WE COME! We still have court in November but I'm not sure what will actually happen since family options are running dry. The state already said reunification has failed and won't happen, but didn't terminate rights at the children's request.

Tribal adoptions sound so complicated - seems like it's looking more and more likely for you guys though, good luck.

Yay for Disney! I've taken my kids there a couple times and they loved it. We want to take a Disney trip with our foster boys one day - it can get expensive but it will be worth it. The county filed for permanent custody on the 17th so we're just waiting for the hearings now. Theoretically the parents can still do something to make progress but that hasn't happened for 14 months now so who knows.

Also, we were just notified that my wife and I won an award through the county Board of Developmental Disabilities for Foster Parents of the Year because of our work with our foster son with CP! We're excited - free food and a night out, yay!

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Solaron posted:

Tribal adoptions sound so complicated - seems like it's looking more and more likely for you guys though, good luck.

Yay for Disney! I've taken my kids there a couple times and they loved it. We want to take a Disney trip with our foster boys one day - it can get expensive but it will be worth it. The county filed for permanent custody on the 17th so we're just waiting for the hearings now. Theoretically the parents can still do something to make progress but that hasn't happened for 14 months now so who knows.

Also, we were just notified that my wife and I won an award through the county Board of Developmental Disabilities for Foster Parents of the Year because of our work with our foster son with CP! We're excited - free food and a night out, yay!

That is amazing! Congratulations!!

Disney was amazing and we were actually planning and saving for 3-4 years before we even started fostering. We took the gamble around March of buying plane tickets hoping they'd still be with us and it worked out perfectly. It was expensive, but my parents had gifted us a condo for the week so lodging was completely covered. As much as I hate timeshares, I'm kinda glad they have one suddenly as it worked out in our favor.

Tribal adoptions/fosters are certainly a different beast. Not only is there a state rep, the kids have tribal lawyers as well so there's an added layer of bureaucracy. They will do everything possible to keep the child in a tribal family before allowing adoption. They're still up against the state but they'll ask the 4th cousin twice removed if they're native to try and take guardianship first.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

Tribal adoption can be complicated, though consider the alternative it it wasn't a thing- I had heard back in the day it was really common for low income white families that lived near reservations (particularly common in the Dakotas) to foster as many of these kids as possible and just use it as a paycheck for themselves. Since their motivation was an income stream, not caring for a child the native kids were often neglected and seldom if ever got a chance to maintain their birth tribes traditions.

This would be a double whammy for the tribe- not only would their own culture slowly get erased, the people that would foster or adopt the kids were seldom much better than the parents that lost custody in the first place.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Panfilo posted:

Tribal adoption can be complicated, though consider the alternative it it wasn't a thing- I had heard back in the day it was really common for low income white families that lived near reservations (particularly common in the Dakotas) to foster as many of these kids as possible and just use it as a paycheck for themselves. Since their motivation was an income stream, not caring for a child the native kids were often neglected and seldom if ever got a chance to maintain their birth tribes traditions.

This would be a double whammy for the tribe- not only would their own culture slowly get erased, the people that would foster or adopt the kids were seldom much better than the parents that lost custody in the first place.

Yeah the alternatives are awful and people using them for a paycheck still happens nationwide which is infuriating. The Facebook "support" groups and the complaining and whining about the money makes me rage a bit. It's not about the money, it's about the drat kids but it seems to often be forgotten.

Since my wife and daughter are tribal themselves, we do make a habit to keep culture alive and discuss it so she understands where she came from. We were already doing that with my adopted daughter so it was easy to add our foster child to the conversation.

Kodilynn
Sep 29, 2006


Well, looks like our foster child's grandmother is going to be approved for kinship by the end of the month. We've been given the heads up she'll be headed home for a test placement with her in early December. My heart is broken but happy that she'll be back with family. If it works out and she stays there, I think we're going to take an extended break from fostering.

Her sibling on the other hand, who lives elsewhere due to behavior, decided to apparently pull a knife on their foster family (3rd placement in 2 months got kicked out of the first two), then get in a knife fight (literally) with police when they arrived on scene. Probably won't see them for awhile on visits. These kids need more help than what the state is able to provide and between budget cuts and shortfalls, I fear for people who have kids in this state of mind.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


I totally understand your break, sounds like you've been put through the ringer.

Our 10-month old's biomom had her second child a few weeks ago (the math doesn't even really add up, but whatever) and we're struggling with the idea of potentially taking him in. We already have 4 in the home, our oldest turns 7 next week, and a newborn on top of that would be rough. My husband and I agreed that if the baby is detained further down the road we can potentially take him in, but it would be too much with a toddler and a newborn on top of everything else.

But we were also informed that since mom is currently in rehab and clean and "doing well", even though our social worker hasn't really had direct contact with her rehab or whatever social worker might have been assigned to the case, she may be on track to reunify with our foster placement. So we currently could either sever parental rights at her next court case on Jan 9th, we may get a call any day about the newborn, or we could lose our placement if mom keeps on the right path. All are equally possible, all are possibilities we need to prepare for.

The roller coaster continues!

Solaron
Sep 6, 2007

Whatever the reason you're on Mars, I'm glad you're there, and I wish I was with you.


VorpalBunny posted:

I totally understand your break, sounds like you've been put through the ringer.

Our 10-month old's biomom had her second child a few weeks ago (the math doesn't even really add up, but whatever) and we're struggling with the idea of potentially taking him in. We already have 4 in the home, our oldest turns 7 next week, and a newborn on top of that would be rough. My husband and I agreed that if the baby is detained further down the road we can potentially take him in, but it would be too much with a toddler and a newborn on top of everything else.

But we were also informed that since mom is currently in rehab and clean and "doing well", even though our social worker hasn't really had direct contact with her rehab or whatever social worker might have been assigned to the case, she may be on track to reunify with our foster placement. So we currently could either sever parental rights at her next court case on Jan 9th, we may get a call any day about the newborn, or we could lose our placement if mom keeps on the right path. All are equally possible, all are possibilities we need to prepare for.

The roller coaster continues!

Seconding the break - I totally get it. If the 3 boys we have now go back, we're going to take a little break as well. It's been a whirlwind.

When we accepted the boys, it was just the 2 of them, both 2 years old, (separated by 9 months and 11 days, so I know what you mean with the math... they didn't waste any time!) and then we got the newborn when he was born in May. 5 kids in the house, with 3 under 3 and still in diapers, was a gigantic undertaking and has definitely required some sacrifices in other parts of our life, so I definitely understand the hesitance. If my wife wasn't able to work from home and have a very flexible schedule, it would simply not be doable.

We've definitely had back and forth regarding the parents. There seems to be a cycle where they start doing well and getting their act together and then they backslide for a month and then it starts again.

We have the hearing for severing parental rights for the boys in February, with pre-trial hearing scheduled for January. The bioparents have split up again and are have missed the last few visitations. When they were informed the new case plan is focused on adoption, they didn't seem to care. They asked my wife and I in the elevator afterwards if we would be the ones adopting the boys, and if so if we'd let them see the boys sometimes. We said yes, of course - especially for the oldest boy, not letting them see him would be traumatic. Since then they just seem to have given up. It's sad and such a change from when they were placed with us 9 months ago and we were told by the case worker to expect them gone within 3 - 6 months.

porkswordonboard
Aug 27, 2007
You should get that looked at



I think this thread is really interesting, and I've lurked it from the beginning. I've always been cautiously interested in fostering/adopting, although I'm 27, unmarried (long-term relationship) and neither of us are ready for kids yet.

A question, those of you with biological kids: how do you work with that? I imagine there's the possibility of friction, either from biokid feeling resentful for the time/energy/attention given to the foster, or the foster feeling inadequate or jealous because they'll never be genetically related. How do you try to negate these feelings? What are the best and worse case scenarios? How did you talk to your partner before fostering/adopting to ensure your children would all feel equally loved? Did you have a biokid first, then adopt, or vice versa?

Thanks in advance - I'm really impressed by everyone's huge hearts, strength, and tenacity!

Mocking Bird
Aug 17, 2011


My favorite foster parents pay close attention to the relationship building between all the children and spend a lot of time creating a welcoming and stable environment before fostering. If you've got a jealous angry preteen, sometimes it's best to wait. If you've just got a confused former only child, you emphasize empathy and that sharing a family to make someone who is scared and alone feel safe and loved is better than anything Santa does.

I have a foster mom who does a welcome to the family party and everyone has to ask each other questions and learn about each other's family, starting with "everyone in our house are brothers and sisters when we're happy and also when we're mad"

In a more practical sense kids accept children younger than them most easily, just like there might be growing pains when Mom has a new baby. My daughter and I are going through the adoption process and she's very threatened by other teens (especially ones of my race) but is enthusiastic about me fostering babies.

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VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


porkswordonboard posted:

A question, those of you with biological kids: how do you work with that?

The main thing I try to emphasize is that as foster parents, they have a family already that loves them very much (even if they don't) and we are only taking care of these children until their family feels better and can take care of them again. And if we end up keeping them forever, we still potentially get to have the other family in our lives.

I don't explain it clinically or anything, and this stuff always comes out in dribs and drabs, but we do things like call our foster kids "friends" instead of "brother" or "sister", as those labels promise a bond we can't legally ensure. It's much worse for a little kid to call another kid "my brother" only to have that kid removed at a moment's notice. It starts to make them question their bonds with other people in the family. I watched one only child who cycled through a few of the whole little "sister" or "brother" scenarios, and she started getting paranoid that she was going to be taken away someday. I tell my kids about visitations with the bio family, and if they have questions about the case or whatever I try to be as honest and soft as possible. I remind them that every day with their foster friend is a gift, there are no guarantees, but they are a part of the family for the time we have them in our care. We include them in everything, like family portraits and vacations, and we try to spread our attention out equally across all our kids. Which is easier said than done, but we try.

We have only ever fostered/adopted kids younger than our bio kids. We have 2 bio kids, 1 foster/adopted kid and a current foster placement. Her future with us is tenuous at best (long story, we mis-timed our adoptive home placement certification so the termination of parental rights hearing next month will likely be delayed. Great.) but we included her in our traditional family holiday photos, and are planning a 1st birthday party for her and everything. We're even trying to get her a passport to bring her along to an overseas trip next fall, but I guess we'll see how court goes before pursuing that.

Before we fostered, I wanted to have a few bio kids first to make sure I was even good at parenting before I put myself under the microscope of foster care. Literally, everything about fostering is scrutinized so I wanted to make sure I was comfortable in defending my skills and prepared for as many bumps in the road as I could. My husband and I agreed we need to make sure each kid felt valued and loved, and the more kids we had the harder that would be. We were initially prepared for a sibling set to raise alongside our bio siblings, but life never works out like you planned.

It's going to be different for every family. Not one scenario is exactly the same, but the main advice I can give is to be prepared and confident in your family and your parenting skills. Even if you aren't sure or anything, that's what all the training and classes and certification steps are for. Because when you have that kid in your home and DCFS is scheduling in-home visits and bio family is texting you at all hours or accusing you of stuff and the paperwork gets to be overwhelming, you need to be able to keep your head on straight, feet on the ground and maintain the positive focus and loving atmosphere that child deserves.

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