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Like a fix to an addict...

Information. Information is to a foster parent like a fix is to an addict.  They need it. they crave it. its never enough. You always want more. It makes you do crazy things.

  • Stalk stranger's Facebook, My Space, Instagram, Twitter.
  • You learn the circuit clerk on-line records search, checking it multiple times a month.
  • Comb through stacks of papers hoping something was missed in the sweep for confidentiality.
  • Read the caseworker's notes upside down.
  • Scribble down everything the judge says in court as if you were the court reporter.

At the most recent ACR, I was handed the kids' current case plan. I usually have to beg for these and it's usually several months after the ACR that I receive it. Normally the case plan is redacted and pages of information are missing as it deals with the "family history".  I think that kind of makes it hard to take a team approach and generally creates more issues. Personally, I don't think that everyone should get to hide behind "confidentiality" because really why is it confidential? Certainly nothing in my home.  If it happened to the kids, I should get to know about it even if it was witnessing Mom get beaten up. (See point 2 above. I already know about the charges and case outcome.  My life would be way easier if you just coughed up the details, thank you very much. And certainly, the records belong to the kids.  Shouldn't they have access to their own history?)

Caseworker #3 handed the packets to me with a smile and said "there is more information on here". (CW #3 appreciated my addiction resourcefulness. She understood.) Since the goal is now adoption I got to see more. I also got the benefit of having an office close to our home so I was able to attend my first ACR in person in 5 years.

Early on, the therapists told me we probably won't know all that happened to the kids.  They also said it didn't really matter.  We would treat the symptoms and assist with healing the unspecified trauma and focus on how they were progressing.  As a Mom, that is very, very hard for me.  They are my kids.  I'm supposed to know.  I'm the keeper of their lives.  How can I help them if I don't know what happened to them? How can I absorb the awfulness if I don't know what it is? I'm the adult, I need to carry the heavy stuff for them and let them be kids.

I didn't read the Case Plan until I got home. The information Caseworker #3 was referring to was a new summary of all of the indicated events that brought the kids into care. There wasn't just one. There were more than 4 at different periods of time. I learned the names of different boyfriends that abused her. I learned the last name of one of the other siblings. Failure to protect or prevent harm. Over and over again. I cried.  Just this little piece of information and I couldn't understand why it took so long for them to be protected from harm. Clearly these kids needed help.  It was like reading the newspaper articles about the department when a kid in care dies. 

I'm going to need a stiff drink when we get their subsidy packet back.  I have a feeling there is a lot worse in the files. 


  1. hahaha, I do the same stuff. I know things before they are divulged to us, because I look, and listen. I am amazed at how many gaps the system has when the info is all there.
    I will take you out for that drink sister.


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