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Tulalip Tulips
Sep 1, 2013

The best apologies are crafted with love.


On the social work side, we really like for foster parents to be realistic about what they can actually handle. You'll have to coordinate with the child's social worker for parent-child visitation, sibling visits if the child has siblings and they aren't placed with you, medical appointments, psych appointments (especially if the parents are doing an evaluation that covers their parenting skills and abilities), and you'll have to let the child's social worker in your home - in my state it's at least once a month. Sometimes the child that's being placed with you will have some extreme behavior issues and it's absolutely okay to acknowledge that and ask for help. I do my absolute best to work with foster parents to keep kids in their home because we need you guys and, more importantly, the kids need a stable loving foster home.

Don't be afraid to reach out for resources either. Your licenser will be able to help with them as well as the social worker for any kid you have placed with you. Look into foster parent/caregiver support groups as well since there are usually a number of veteran foster parents involved in them and they are great at helping you navigate and advocate for yourselves and your foster kids. They are great when you need to vent, figure out how to report any disclosures of child abuse your foster kid may make (you'd be surprised how open kids can get when they feel safe and loved), and they will be there for you when you have kids transition from your care back to their bio parents or relatives. Look into any training or classes you take and be aware that you're getting kids from many, many different kinds of backgrounds. I'd also read up on the Indian Child Welfare Act since you're in OK and you'll likely have Native American kids places with you (they are over represented in foster care in just about every state with a significant Native American population).

There are federal and state mandates that suck but we have to follow and judges/commissioners can make rulings we disagree with but also have to follow. If OK allows it, try and submit a report to court through the child's social worker. You spend the most time over all with them and can best tell judges and lawyers how they have changed, what kind of behavior issues they have and if they regress before/after visitations, etc. Build a support system to help you guys through the hard times because you will have kids moved from your home, sometimes bio-parents will call in an intake on you because they see a scratch or the kid says something concerning, and it can very much be a a rollercoaster.

Most of all I really do want to say thank you. We have a huge lack of foster parents in my state, especially for older children, and it's a tough but rewarding service you are providing. Social worker shortages and general turnover doesn't help either. Good luck! I make it sound more difficult than it is but honestly, a lot of the time it won't be anywhere near that bad.

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Tulalip Tulips
Sep 1, 2013

The best apologies are crafted with love.


Solaron posted:

My wife and I just started taking the classes for foster to adopt in Ohio, so I am excited to follow this thread. We've got 1 spare room and are looking for 1 or 2 kids (if siblings) that are younger than our 2 kids (who are 6 and 11). The woman who led our first class kept telling everyone they needed to go for the maximum kids per room because of how many kids in need there are in our area but we just can't offer that kid of support, I don't think.

Don't take on more than you feel you can handle, emotionally or financially. You have to think about your bio-family needs plus the needs of the foster child(ren) you'd be taking and you can't do that if you're stretched beyond what you can reasonably handle. I do a lot of hard "do you think you can take in all 6 kids?" talks with relatives for the same reason -- your kids, your spouse, and your family plus your foster kids will suffer if you're stressed beyond what you can reasonably cope with. No matter how frustrating it can be looking for foster homes for sibling sets and for kids with high needs at the end of the day, I'd rather have people take 1 child who they can foster well without bringing in extra chaos to foster parent's family because that means that kiddo will be safe and most of all in a stable placement until they can be returned home/adopted/go into guardianship/etc. Going out on a CPS intake for your relative caregiver (intakes on licensed foster parents are handled by a separate division in my state) because they're over whelmed is the worst for all kinds of reasons.

The need for foster parents for older age group kids is just unimaginable. It's been brought up here but people really don't understand just how hard it is to find foster homes for kids who are over the age of about 8, if you add in behavioral issues, substance abuse problems, medical needs, developmental delays, etc it gets even harder. We just had a huge regional issue with having kids spend weeks over night in hotels (and their days in their social worker's office if they weren't in daycare or school) because placements couldn't be located and I just got done with mandatory after hours work because of it. So I can definitely see where you're teacher is coming from; if anyone shows any interest in older kids when I'm doing community outreach I immediately want to jump all over them and I have to remind myself to slow down and not put on the MLM type sales pitch.

Generally speaking, when it comes to working parents and single foster parents how hard it is to get licensed can depend on a ton of factors. Private agencies are going to have different criteria for who they license compared to state agencies and that can be a good thing since private agencies tend go a lot faster. On the other hand a lot of private agencies are religious, some a lot more than others, and in my area they can get incredibly traditional when it comes to what families they'll license. Bethany Christian Services is one of the more wide spread private agencies and they have a preference for Christian heterosexual couples but they usually don't require that one parent stays home with the kids. On the other hand state agencies can take a lot longer to license because of policies and state laws but in my state we do license a lot of same sex couples, working couples, and working singles. There is a bias towards working single women compared to working single men when it comes to fostering/adoption for a lot of bullshit cultural reasons (you're going to get a lot less sexual abuse allegations with single women than single men, basically). State laws here basically mean that if you can pass background, fingerprints, homestudies, and licensing requirements then our state agency has to license you

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

Tulalip Tulips
Sep 1, 2013

The best apologies are crafted with love.


Definitely do your homework and find a good agency for you. Especially if you're looking at international adoption since there are definitely really shady agencies that operate outside. As in the kids they put up for adoption and say are orphans may not actually be orphans. There are a lot of religious/religiously oriented or affiliated private agencies as well so be aware that they might have different or more subjective licensing/home study requirements. Depending on your state there may be more involvement than you'd expect - after a really awful child fatality involving an international adoptee, my state now has stricter home study and home visit requirements for private adoption but that may not be the case for you (and tbh the new rules are more of a PR thing in my opinion).

Tulalip Tulips
Sep 1, 2013

The best apologies are crafted with love.


Pretty much what everyone here said. Lock up any alcohol, drugs, medinces, make sure your smoke detectors are working, enough space (in WA kids of the same gender can share a room), a first aid kit is also good.

Also going to second the CASA volunteering. There'a a big shortage in my county and I doubt that's uncommon. I have been working with a case where one is desperately needed and the backlog is to the point where a lot of kids aren't getting a CASA until termination petitions are filed.

As a personal thing I stepped back to backend support rather than field work or supervision because of serious burnout, partially due to a lack of administrative support. It'a a tough job and I love it but I definitely have needed the relative break.

Tulalip Tulips
Sep 1, 2013

The best apologies are crafted with love.


Yeah all schools in Washington are closed for 6 weeks and we're on emergency planning for my county. Everything except for shelter care/removal hearings and dependecy or termination trials are now supposed to be over the phone. All incoming intakes are now noting if the family has or is suspected of having covid too. I am not eligble for telework since I don't case carry anymore so I suspect I'll spend a lot of time with older kids who are in office and need some supervision. Time to brush up on my Donkey Kong skills since our Super Nintendo is way more popular than the Xbox.

Tulalip Tulips
Sep 1, 2013

The best apologies are crafted with love.


Paratan posted:

How does that work that there may be children or teens who need supervision in an office, I don't remember learning about this but Ive seen news clips or documentaries or something where this happens?
Is that something someone like a foster parent can volunteer to do? That seems so crazy to me that people (social workers?) who already have work to do will also have to do this

It can depend. In my part of Washington there's a volunteer program that partners with DCYF where we can request folks to come in and watch kids. Since it's volunteers it can be hit or miss if someone is available and not all kids will be a good fit. Our office also has praticum social work students and a few interns who can help out if they're not doing anything else and are in the office. The covid outbreak will probably effect our volunteer program but we won't really know until next week. As far as we've been told it won't really effect our praticum students or interns since their classes can go online and they haven't been told to stop going to their field sites.

It's just a lot of guessing and anxiety at this point. Covid won't prevent child abuse and kids who are already in foster care still need case workers so we're just trying to batten down the hatches and support each other.

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Tulalip Tulips
Sep 1, 2013

The best apologies are crafted with love.


Paratan posted:

https://www.crisisprevention.com/Blog/FASD
What is this, is this for cops? Is there a foster parent version of this page because the short paragraphs are really good and I'm about to copypaste it to some pastors, etc. who will be interacting with my teen when i move away and he's still in the area with his family ;__;

I'm mad I just learned about fetal alcohol spectrum disoreders like 6 months ago when I was listening to podcasts to make me feel better abouty my teen's behaviors because "at least he's not THAT bad" lmao

and then i asked someone who knew biomom for confirmation of prenatal alcholo exposure hahaha everything's falling into place...

edit:
ALSO i had already been practicing dealing w/brain trauma due to dementia!!!!!!! i found good results when i interacted with him like one of my dementia friends while thinking "but... but he's not an old person!" so if that website would just tell me everything without my "organization name" i'd really appreciate it.

It might not be exactly what you're looking for for FAS/FAES information and tips but the University of Washington's FAS clinic has a page. Check it out here. They're the primary diagnostic clinic for WA and have a lot of info.

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