Suggestions for Parents with Children In State Care
Things to do.
Get a notebook/journal and start writing down when things happen in your case.
If you go to court/team meetings, visitation, etc. write down the date, time and location etc., and the name of any person that says something you think is essential. You can also use the notebook to have the case workers help you document your efforts. For example, if you drop off some money/clothes for your child, you may ask the worker to initial your notebook.
Be Nice to everyone involved in the process. This includes the Guardian Ad Litem, the caseworker, the Juvenile Officer, the Parent aide, and the Foster family/placement. Please understand that all of these people are working hard to benefit your children. You may not agree with this statement or the process you are going through, but please respect that their job is 1) to keep your children safe and 2) to help reunite you with your children. If you are getting frustrated with the process/progress of the case, contact me. Having a good attitude will do more for you than you know.
Be early to your visits. If you can’t make a visit, call as soon as you know that you won’t be able to make the visit. This shows respect for the workers’ placement time as well as helps them to prepare your children for the news that you won’t make the visit and it won’t be a surprise for them when you are a no-show.
Call in weekly to update your case worker.*
If you do not reach them, leave a voicemail/message and write down in your journal the date/time/person you called. Even if you leave a message, please:
1) Always leave your Name/Telephone Number/Current Address
2) Always ask after your child(ren)/Ask how they are doing
3) Always ask if there is anything you can do to help with your case plan.
It may seem repetitive, but just doing these three things consistently speaks volumes to the people involved in your case.
*If you don’t receive a call back within 48 hours, call again and if you still get voicemail, ask to speak to your case worker’s supervisor.
Support your children.
Provide Snacks – (Nutritious, not candy or soda/pop)(i.e., Crackers, Fruit Snacks, Granola Bars, Juice)
Provide money, diapers, formula, clothing, shoes, coats, bottles, sippy cups, etc.
Try not to bring food/drink that create a mess; if you are unsure what to bring, call your caseworker.
Read the pamphlet from Children’s Division, “Parent’s in Alternative Care.”
Keep in touch with your attorney and your caseworker.
Keep address and contact information current.
If you move, let them know!
Things not to do:
Do not post to Facebook or other social media.
Until you get your children back, don’t do it! Get off Facebook or other social media.
Do not make promises to your child(ren) that you may not be able to keep.
Children need to know they can count on you. Don’t promise to make the visitation if you know there is a good chance of missing it because of work/transportation. If you will miss a visit, call ahead of time and help minimize the impact on your child(ren).
Please be sure to dress well for court and meetings. Do not show up to either of these high or drunk. Remember, they are very likely to send you for a drug test that same day.