Choosing a Forever Home

March 4, 2009

A big part of our job is to achieve permanency for our kids – which is especially important as I am in a “little kids” unit.  In recent years, there have been laws passed which has mandated that kids have a permanent plan in place within a certain time frame.  So this means that there is a big clock that starts ticking with parents and they need to get there stuff together before the time is up or I have petition for the parents’ rights to be terminated.

I have an 18 month year old whose mom has not been getting her stuff together and while he has been in a very good foster home, they are not willing or able to care for him for the next 16.5 years of his life.  So because I am going to have to have a petition filed to terminate the mom’s rights, I need to get this little guy into a home that can be permanent for him.

About 2 weeks ago, I contacted the placement desk asking for foster-to-adopt homes interested in an 18 month year old boy that may be a good fit.  I was flooded with home studies of lots of great families that are looking for and wanting to have a kid just like him join their family.  So somehow, I read all of the home studies and narrowed it down to my top choices that I thought would be a good fit for him.  I spoke to their social workers and gave them more information (including some scaring off by the amount of legal risk involved with this case).  This, and other reasons, narrowed down the choices to three.  My supervisor and I met with all three of the families so that we got a better sense of them and they got a better sense of this kid.

And now we have to choose a family.  This is ridiculously hard.  All three of the families are fantastic.  They are loving, stable, understand the risks and challenges ahead, and would be wonderful for this child.  And all really would love to have him.  And somehow, I am have to pick one.  There are differences between the families – kids vs no kids, etc – which I think makes them different not better or worse.  I can easily make the argument for why this child would be better off as the only child in the home (at least for awhile) vs. it would be great for him to have a sibling in the home.  Yet, a choice has to be made and I am wanting to make it sooner or later.  I know wherever he goes, he will do great, but that, unfortunately, is not making this process any easier for me.


“Blue” is Back

February 8, 2009

The first case I worked on when starting this job was with Blue.  She is a mom with mental health (personality disorders) issues and three kids.  I was not the social worker for the case, I just started out helping out with visits, etc.  Well, my coworker that had the case transferred and because I knew the case the best, I inherited the case.  The other worker had the oldest child move with his dad out of state and the middle child live with father in town.  So I have stepped in as we have been trying to figure out permanency for the youngest (now 18 months).

We had been trying with great effort to figure out if this little guy could live with relatives.  There were some great logistical issues we were contending with adn just when it seemed that we had figured out a plan, the father backed out and stated that he (and his family) would be unable to take him.

We (me, the CASA, my supervisor, previous workers, and the courts) do not see Blue as a viable option for this little guy, so I am now charged with finding him a home.  At the end of the week and this weekend, I have been reading home studies of families that are interested in fostering, then adopting kids.  A home study is a lengthy document written by a social worker that makes sure that a family is suitable to foster or adopt kids.  I am reading about 20 that have been sent to me in search of one that I think will be a good match.  I am currently narrowing it down and then will ask for some assistance from my coworkers to pick a family.

How crazy is that?!?  I am making huge life-changing decisions for a number of people here.  I am taking comfort in knowing that this kid will probably do well in whatever home he goes to.  But it still is a little strange and I don’t know if it will really sink in until I meet with some families or transition him to his new home.

And then, of course, is Blue.  In court on Tuesday, it will become official that we are changing the permanent plan to adoption.  And I will need to make a referral to my attorney’s office file a petition to terminate her rights (dad is willing to relinquish).  I imagine that she will be very upset and will fight the termination very hard.  I am not looking for a lengthy trial.