Sunday, February 27, 2011

Foster Parent Friday - How do they know if you follow the rules?

Today's question is closely related to these close cousins:
  • Do you really have to follow the rules? Who would know anyway?
  • Don't you have to have a ton of people in your home all the time?
  • How often do they check on the kiddos? 
And of course it's a follow-up to last week's question.

This is all pretty timely in our home in that in the span of the last 2 weeks we've had 3 home visits and I expect at least 2 more in the next week.  And that's with only 1 case - remember for the last 8 months we've managed 2 cases (which worked out to be 2 kiddos).  Typically though, this schedule is not quite as busy, though if I said there weren't a lot of in-home appointment I'd be lying. 

Remember that in any given case there are a series of "regular players" as follows that would visit your home at some point:
  • Child's Caseworker - typically would visit in home 1x per month (though I've never had this happen that frequently).
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) - depending on the county, this visit should happen
    1-2x per month.  Not all cases have a CASA, but I will say that in the ones we've had a CASA they have been good at coming 1x month for the most part.
  • Ad Litem (Child's Attorney) - Usually I've only had the ad-litem visit at the time of placement (within the 1st week) and the week before a court date (maybe every 2-3 months?).
  • ECI/Therapy - Generally, ECI will do an in-home assessment within the first 30 days or so that the child is with you.  This is usually about a 2 hour visit where they do a series of assessments and determine if a child is eligible for therapy (speech, developmental, physical, etc.).  Then (and I'm not sure whether this is agency specific) a visit is expected at least 1x per month, but this doesn't have to be at home it can be at daycare or, in some cases over the phone.
The above visits are child specific.  They are meant to check on the well-being of the child in the current placement.  There are also a set of visits considered to be for the licensed home.  These visits are highly dependent on the agency you are licensed through - you can be licensed through a private agency or in Texas you can be licensed straight through the state.  I'll get into the differences in another Foster Parent Friday.  We happen to be in a state-licensed home and with that typically comes less scrutiny (or at least less visits) than a private agency would bring:
  • FAD Worker - I believe the acronym stands for foster and adoptive development, but I don't know for sure.  State-licensed homes are assigned a social worker hired by the state to work with them to make sure the home is safe and the parents are doing what they need to do.  FAD workers visit 1x per quarter and spend about 45 minutes in the home. 
  • Random State Inspections - Oh my goodness - we just got our card pulled for one of these - it's an inspection by the regional child care licensing staff.  If your card gets pulled they send you a letter saying you might get a call - then if you get a call they schedule your appointment by the end of that month.  Yes, you might say that's not exactly random or surprise, which does mean you have time to prepare, but it also helps to make sure you are there with your kiddos when they visit.  We were lucky enough to have one of these special visits early this month and had two violations - a bottle of mouthwash in our guest bathroom and a bag of potatoes on the floor.  What are you going to do...
  • County Health Inspection - We've had 3 of these in the past year, but that's unusual.  Typically you have 1 when you are initially licensed and that lasts for 2 years.  We moved 2 months after we were licensed and with a new house comes a new inspection.  For reasons I won't get into we had to have our FAD worker do our first one, but that only lasted for 6 months.  We had to get the county inspector to come out - we finally had the pleasure of having her over in January.  So, that should make us good for 2 years.  Phew!
  • Fire Inspector - This works the same way the County Health Inspection works so we've had them out 2x, once at each house.  We didn't have the same issue with the Fire Inspector that we had with the health inspector that caused the extra visit.  So we should be good for another 18 months.
I think that's it!  I'm tired just writing it all out.  Actually it's not that bad, though it becomes exponentially more difficult when you have multiple cases.  Multiple kids from the same case don't have the same challenge, just multiple cases.  With 2 open spots it certainly makes you consider taking 2 more cases, though we'd take 2 more kiddos in a heartbeat.

Which leads to the next question - How long does it take to get kiddos once you have a spot open?

1 comment:

Penelope said...

This is a great post on what to expect for visits! I can't imagine an ad litem attorney visiting. LOVE your website!!!