‘Tis The Season…

…for kids to come into care, apparently.  My unit, which gets kids once they are removed from their parents and the courts are involved, has been flooded with cases transferring to us.  Last week, I got 4 new kids and I am a little overwhelmed with the new cases.  There is a lot to learn and get caught up on, all while trying to do everything else on my other cases.

The four kids are on two different cases – both cases came from Voluntary Services and the parents have substance abuse issues.  Cases essentially go to Voluntary Services when there are concerns about the family but there is a belief that it may be possible to avoid the court process.  Families work with Voluntary Services workers and address the concerns within a short amount of time.  If the parents are not able to make progress, then the court gets involved.  In both of my cases, the mothers agreed to engage in intensive substance abuse treatment.  And both failed to comply with the agreements they made and did not follow through with treatment.  Thus, the court was involved and they come to me.

I wonder why there has been such a spike in cases.  Is it because it is the holidays?  Is something up with the other units?  Another theory is that kids have been in school for awhile and schools start becoming concerned about kids after they have been there for awhile.  I wonder if there is data somewhere that shows when and if there are consistent trends.


6 Responses to ‘Tis The Season…

  1. Yondalla says:

    Do other workers say it is a yearly phenomenon? My first guess is that it is the result of the economy. People either have or are afraid of losing jobs and homes. It causes stress.

  2. Nichole says:

    It might also have something to do with our economy right now. This year there are so many families falling even further behind when it comes to basic needs.

  3. Reas says:

    Agreed on the economy. But it may just be that there are certain times of the year when things are busier. Tends to be the spring for me for some reason…

  4. Fostermom00 says:

    We always saw a spike in kids coming into care around the holiday’s- both as a social worker and as a foster mom. December was the worst month for overtime in my unit, the last year I was there we took a record number of kids into custody in December.

    As a foster mom, they kept us hopping all through December. Many times they ran out of placements and had to petition the court for an overflow allowance.

  5. oregonamy1972 says:

    Although I don’t work in child welfare, we are seeing a huge census at our hospital. I don’t know if it is because family members are coming from out of town and 1)bringing germs and making their elderly loved ones ill or 2)suddenly discovering how much their elderly (or not so elderly) loved one has deteriorated since the last time they saw them. Right now, our hospital is essentially full, we are on divert and every single one of our cases is extremely complex with huge family dynamics…very busy days for us.

  6. susan says:

    In our county more kids come into care between the middle of December and the middle of January than any other time of the year. It is so bad right now that a placement specialist told me last night that it is now considered an acceptable alternative to “place” kids in the children’s center. This has always been just a holding place for kids in an emergency, but there are so many kids this year and not enough homes.

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