Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Special Visitors

Today I am expecting visitors at home. Coming this afternoon will be the caseworker who licenses and supports foster parents with higher-than-typical-need foster children (my supervisor), her supervisor, and an out-of-state person who will interview me about the state children's services agency and the local county and circuit. Our state agency is undergoing an accreditation process, and our county and circuit is one of the last to be assessed in this process.

I haven't understood the exact reason our state agency wants/needs to be accredited, but I imagine it involves money, somehow -- possibly access to funds from the federal level. Whatever the reason, better practices never hurt any agency. One of the things we've noticed recently is a reduction in cases per worker. Fewer cases should mean better service to the children. My strengths don't lie in statistics, or legislative or fiscal matters, but I'm happiest right here in the trenches, with the kids in our home and family. However, in recent years, I have become a little more involved, because I see what a difference it makes to advocate on behalf of our children and others in foster care.

I don't really know what to expect from this visit. Maybe questions like: "How long have you been a foster parent, and how many kids have you cared for?" "How often do the workers visit you, and how often do they visit the children?" "How is your relationship with the agency workers?" "What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of this agency?" "What are your training requirements?" They may also ask to see a foster child's bedroom, but I really don't expect this meeting to be a "house inspection." Nevertheless -- I have sorted and put away some paper-work piles, and the clutter that so quickly accumulates. There's no reason not to try to make a good impression!

Because we've been foster parents for so many years (29), had such a wide variety of kiddos, and I work with the local foster parent support group and train prospective foster parents -- we have a fairly broad perspective. As I've said before, "I may not always be right, but I always have opinions!" ;-)

We'll see what the afternoon brings . . . .

I'll be back to let you know how it went.

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