Group Amplifies Complaints by Foster-Care Parents, Kids -

Remember when I said I didn’t want to become one of ‘those’ angry, fighting foster parents?  That I just wanted to focus on a kid or two and do arts and crafts (and in case you missed it, Andrew from fosterwee chimed in with the same sentiment)? Well, Melissa A. Wade @honeybee22274 your tweet with this link isn’t helping!  ;)

A few comments I can’t resist:

1. I don’t think there’s a “Christian Guardian” foster agency but there is a “Catholic Guardian” one.

2.  There’s a way to file a complaint with ACS!?  Why didn’t I know this?? 

3.  I did actually file a complaint by calling 311 (because they seriously get shit done) for ACS failing to explore identified kinship for Snap’s brother (aka Meghan) and ridiculously I was called by ACS and asked “What are you expecting?” I responded “For someone to look into it” and she said she wouldn’t have access.  I asked if there was a better way for me to voice my concern and she said “chain of command”.  I asked her if she’s ever seen that work and she remained silent.  Supervisors cover their underlings assess, that’s their job.  And seriously, chain of command would be like 20, 30 people?  And then what?  How does the city bounce a complaint about ACS back to ACS?

4.  And what is this one!?!? "According to the 2014 Mayor’s Management Report on city agencies, the agency responded in two weeks to nearly all of the emails and letters they received—a significant improvement over 2011, when ACS responded in two weeks’ time to 46 percent of emails and 45 percent of letters."  First, the year is unclear.  Do they mean 2012? 2014?  Either way, I’ve got emails and letters from every single year with absolutely no response- but I’ll accept one now.  Better late than never!  ;)

5. Adding to #4- does this mean one of you got a response from the city when you wrote about Clementine’s original placement disaster?  I know about 100 people emailed but I didn’t hear of any response.  Would LOVE to know…

1st visit with Clementine’s siblings and family at foster agency since Runfostermama got them

Mom, dad and grandpa were sooooooo happy the kids were out of diapers.  They followed Runfostermama’s potty reward system she sent and at the end of the visit dad kept repeating again and again “You guys are doing a great job with the kids, thanks so much, great job”. 

I appreciate it so much because it’s so unusual.

I’m hoping we’re able to get visits in the community asap.  Something like putting the kids all in Saturday afternoon YMCA swim classes and then mom, dad, grandpa, whoever can come, cheer the kids on, have lunch in the lounge with us and make a day of it.

how could snap’s mom have done it differently?

i mean, besides being addicted to drugs… how could she have planned better for her new son?  private adoption was out because she wanted to see if the city would let her try to parent.  but she was clear on her back-up plan.  and her back-up to the back-up plan. 

could she have gotten an attorney before Snap’s brother was born and somehow have had control over where he was placed, even if it were to be a foster care placement?

i mean, it’s enough to make me think about getting something in writing, god forbid, if I go nuts and have my kids taken from me… maybe everyone needs one? like a living will guardianship thingy-a-document?

court and who’s who and who sits where

I’ve seen ACS attorneys function in 2 really different ways. The most common being the role of telling the foster agency what to do.  Following-up on judge’s orders, etc. In this capacity the foster agency staff see ACS as the big boss who makes or breaks their agency and job.

Then, there’s the ACS attorney whose view is “representing whatever my client, the foster agency, wants”.  Although, can a foster agency fire their ACS attorney?  I’m pretty sure it goes the other way around.

It’s a tandem relationship, no doubt, but these two perspectives have quite different outcomes.

When seated in court the birth family and birth parent attorneys are on one side and ACS and the foster agency are on the other.  Depending on the court they try to stick the attorney for the child in a neutral position which sometimes ends up being an awkward corner.  I NEVER KNOW WHICH SIDE TO SIT ON.  It’s like a wedding where you’re just there as the DJ’s date. 

Which side do you choose? I’ve sat on both sides, always as an unprepared deer in headlights, and whatever I choose I end up sitting as close to the aisle as possible to appear neutral.  Depending on the case, the ACS attorney may grab me and take me around the partition to sit at the table with them.  I cringe because it’s such a middle finger to the birth family.  I also slide my chair back away from the table a little, not that it helps.

Last time in court the judge actually said “Just the attorneys next week, the litigants don’t need to come”.  The mom and I looked at each other- are WE the litigants?  As in, this court thing is about US?  We were the only people in the room not attorneys.

Going to court as a foster parent is so complicated.

Omg, you blogged about the north face camping, already signed up like two weeks ago before kids even got here.
6am text from Runfostermama

Up ruminating again about Snap’s brother and Meghan

I’m back to my "Why do i care post" about where Snap’s brother ends up.  Having his foster agency actively fight against the community-based kinship relationships I have built a la parent-to-parent model [to keep a family together and prevent the kids from being bounced to a bunch of different foster homes] means that so much of my past 5 years as a foster parent have been wasted.

All of the extra time and energy I’ve spent visiting Snap’s mom at Rikers Island, this psych hospital, that psych hospital, this mommy-and-me rehab, family days at this treatment program, middle of the night calls and taking Snap home on weekends even a year after he was returned to his mom- it’s all a waste if her babies continue to be placed with random strangers unnecessarily. 

It’s a slap in the face and it really, really hurts.  Not to mention it makes me look stupid.

If in foster parent training they would have told us to be polite but distant with birth parents while focusing on caring for the kids, I would have been all “that’s cool, no doubt this was decided by a lot of smart people and smart research”.  But no, that’s not what we were taught.

What percentage of child welfare workers in NYC have even ever seen the foster parent curriculum?

Runfostermama had to do another ER visit tonight. Sadly, as a former ACS worker she knows she has to get every minor rash responded to and documented— especially in these first few weeks of trust building with the foster agency.

But that’s really just the preface to explain why the kids were out past their bedtime so that I can share this text:

"Yep will text as soon as I carry three sleeping kids from car. Carrying all simultaneous. Got this down."

She’s so freaking amazing.

I love it when foster agencies tweet and support me!  Especially in times like this with Snap’s brother’s ridiculousness.

I love it when foster agencies tweet and support me! Especially in times like this with Snap’s brother’s ridiculousness.

Re: Snap’s brother’s foster agency

They haven’t returned any of the law guardian’s [attorney for the child] calls either so I’m trying to encourage Meghan to not take it personally.

Sandy must have taken this today on my phone but I don’t even remember her having it.  I better watch out, her photos aren’t only of her thumb anymore.  That’s Clemmie’s foot in my hand.

Sandy must have taken this today on my phone but I don’t even remember her having it. I better watch out, her photos aren’t only of her thumb anymore. That’s Clemmie’s foot in my hand.

All 3 of Clementine’s siblings have been out of diapers since Friday without accident. There’s been a lot of congratulatory calls from grandpa and now I’m buying up all of the toddler and little girl underwear in downtown Brooklyn.

Do you know how tempting it is to prank call Runfostermama today?

Everywhere I go on errands I can ask people to call her and say “What is your address? Why didn’t you give the foster agency your address?!” I could get people at work to do it, the grocery store, the bus…. But I won’t. It’s fun enough just imagining her response.

When a young, new case worker gets poisoned-

- and starts saying bold things to foster parents after their first weeks of court like “the judge can’t make us clear you”. it’s one of the most telling reveals of just how deep and dark an institution’s dysfunction is.

I want to tell them “Run, get out fast while you can! This isn’t you, I’m sure you’re a good person. Any chance you have of growing an actual career is about to go down the tubes. Never mind the erosion of your soul. Run.”