Let me give you a little family history before I begin. I’m 19 years old and I’m adopted, I live with my foster mother, my birth bother, who is 20, and my foster brother, who is 13. My mother has been fostering for over 20 years now, My brother was her first. She began it in New Jersey, where it was called DYFS, or the Division of Youth and Family Services, which is what it is called in the northern states. While there, she had fostered around 40 children over the course of 16 years, adopting, in all 3 kids(Me, My Birth Brother, and my other brother). The children ranged from newborns to about 15 years old. By the end of our tenure in NJ, we began to take on more special needs children, ones who usually had some type of disability.
While fostering in NJ, we rarely had problems with DYFS, spare for a few difficult families or disgruntled worker. They did home inspections every now and then and we never once had any complaints against us. My mother was friendly with all of her case workers, and she even belonged to CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates. The range of when we would keep the children was for periods from several weeks to several years, and even sometimes in and out of our home. Alas, when we decided to move to Texas, we had to give up out run with DYFS.
When we arrived in TX, my mother was not sure about fostering again, but soon went at it. Within several months of situating here, she began the paper work to foster again, with the agency here called CPS, or Child Protective Services. While I was not around for the first time she decided to become a foster parent, she had let us know that the second time around was much different. It involved everything short of a rectal exam, having to make us go to several police stations to get finger printed and have our criminal backgrounds checked(Me and my brother were 15 and 16 at the time, but they still made us get checked).
Like up north, they had to inspect our home, make sure that everything was right and proper, after several months of getting everything filled out, we were cleared, but it still doesn’t explain why they could not have just taken our records from DYFS made it easier for us. It’s a wonder there are less and less foster parents every year, isn’t it?
Soon after getting certified, the trouble began. They forced their standards, as opposed to making it easy for the parents. They would not simply take a CPR certification from the YMCA, no they had to have you go all the way down there their facility and sit though their class, even though it was the same red cross certification you can get anywhere. The facilities they had these at were also very far away, and at inconvenient times of the day or night. The safety courses they requires were also pointless, other then to get you sit in a room for five hours and tell you not to hit your child.
Then it began with the territory wars. Like with up in NJ, we took kids with disabilities who needed special attention. Some needed physical therapy, some needed special equipment, others needed special food or diet. As soon as we would call a case worker up, they would basically tell us it’s not their jurisdiction, or that we would have to contact the lead case worker for so-and-so county. If a child needed to go get a check up, or see a doctor, the health insurance provided by CPS would only have three doctors, all of whom were about 50 miles away.
The case workers themselves also showed little compassion for the children, or for the families caring for them. Most days we would get a call for the worker to pick the child up at 10, and they would not show up until 12 citing some generic reason, while never even calling us to let us know he/she would be late. The time when we chose to foster could not have been worse, it was when there were a slue of bad foster parents who did stuff like leave their children in the car, so the pressure for CPS to improve meant less personal care.
For the past two years though we really haven’t had any troubles, as we had gotten to know a lot of the people and how to work the system. About a month ago though we received a letter stating that we were randomly selected to get another home inspection by a total stranger. The home inspections we normally got were by the same women, who we knew and was acquainted with, but now we have to have a complete stranger come into our home and literally inspect everything?!? Ok, so maybe we’ll let this slide, but we read later that at any random time they could be back, a totally new set of people to inspect the house.
I know that CPS has to take accountability, but this is like guilty until proven innocent. Then when we say no, they turn like THAT!!! My mother calls the worker to try and work out an agreement for the children we have in our placement, but instead is met with hostility. Just tonight, at 9Pm we get a call saying that the following morning one of the children, at 9AM, would be removed from our care. The other child’s fate is unknown, but these are children who need proper care, and shouldn’t have to bounced from home to home while waiting for an adoptive home. Instead they could let us care for the children just a little longer until an adoptive home is found, but they would rather seem right and just place the children in another foster home again and again.
Now we are forced to give up fostering again, and probably for good because CPS can’t look at rationality and see that we are a good family, with not a single black mark against us, hell a family that has gone out of our way to help the children, no matter what the cost.
Is anyone else with me? Or do you feel that we are in the wrong? Leave comments and let me know.