Caseworkers- some need more help than the kids

Tonight I was sitting here thinking of all the different people that have been in my life due to being a foster parent. That led me to recall some very “interesting” caseworkers / therapists. In foster care a child has a ton of different people assigned to their case. Sometimes a therapist is also one of their caseworkers depending on how the agency the foster parent works for is set up. They also have a caseworker through the department of social services(dss), a case manager and a youth specialist (YS). The YS person takes the child out in public to teach them social skills etc…. Most of the time they also see a psychiatrist or psychologist on top of all these other people. In addition, there’s a ton of supervisors. This is why there’s often miscommunication. No one can keep it all straight when passing information from person to person. It often leads to a lot of turnover as well, so the kids are always meeting someone new that they are supposed to open up to,confide in and trust to do the right thing for them. So now back to my original thought behind this blog…. the “interesting” ones.  I’ll start with the trainer for my  certification 19 years ago, Keith. He was funny, easy going and made the 7 week course go by pretty quickly. He shared a lot about his childhood and why he chose this career path. His father was an abusive alcoholic, he was bullied in school because of the way he had to dress and was an awkward kid. As an adult,besides working at the foster care agency he also took in short term (90 day) foster teens at his home with his wife. He alluded to having his own addictions, but assured the group of us in this class that it was all in his past. Uuuhh… maybe not. I kept saying to myself that he looked and acted higher than a kite! I made it through the training and got certified. I got my first child and my first caseworker. Stacy was in her 30’s, very pretty and VERY tiny. We became quite close and she began to confide in me. She told me she had struggled with anorexia, but was currently ok. I soon realized this was not the case. She avoided food like the plague, but couldn’t stop talking about every little thing she put in her mouth. I realized she was struggling and felt bad for her. Then one day while sitting at my dining room table, she informs me that she’s been having an affair with Keith! He was still married and living with his wife but assured her he was going to leave her.  This went on for several weeks when everything blew up. They had taken a foster care company car to a cabin for the weekend and Keith left his pot in the glove compartment when they turned the car back in. They got caught, Keith got fired, wifey found out about the affair but stayed with him and Stacy flew to California for a stint in rehab for her eating disorder . Oh yea, she also got pregnant by Keith and lost the baby according to her. She came back from California and returned to work. I was still very concerned for her though she said she was doing well. One day I was talking to her on the phone and her teenage daughter came yelling in the room that she had found a suicide letter on the computer. The call ended and Stacy called me back saying it was a misunderstanding and that she was writing up stuff for her will and it upset her child. From what I could tell the agency didn’t know the details of the affair (but I sure did) and Keith took the blame for the weed. Stacy stayed at the agency for awhile longer, but was eventually let go. I bought her story about the will but in hindsight probably should not have. I did discreetly discuss my concern for her with a supervisor and also kept in touch with her for bout a year  after she was let go. She seemed to be doing much better in that year. Good lord, I almost left out one more outrageous story from her ! She told me that about 10 years prior her therapist convinced her she had repressed memories of being molested by her father and she believed him. The man, of course, was devastated. Years later she realized the therapist was crazy and the abuse never happened. She apologized to dad, sued the therapist and won a lot of money. Who knows if any of this is true. As I’m rereading this story I am finding it ridiculous! These two people, Keith and Stacy, were taking care of and responsible for helping the children most in need! Even after I gave the agency a heads up it continued for a bit. After this debacle, nothing phased me when it came to the actions of some of the employees of the foster care system. Like for instance,a YS was in my home one day talking with me and my foster daughter. I can’t remember what was so exciting to this woman but she proceeded to stand up and smack her ass repeatedly and dance in a circle! I just said “wow” while my daughter just sat there with her mouth open. I guess that seemed mild compared Stacy and Keith…

The last person that comes to mind is a supervisor at my agency. Tammy was very controlling and was right dead down mean to the kids she didn’t like. She had her favorite kids, foster parents and office employees. If she didn’t like you or couldn’t control you and couldn’t get you to cover for her “policy adjustments” then she worked extra hard to get rid of you. She regularly did not act ethically and was eventually found out and she “resigned”. Right after that, a caseworker told me to google her. Apparently at a different agency she had an affair with a BIOLOGICAL father of a foster child! She got in to some kind of ethics trouble for it, thank goodness! Gee, maybe all the crap this woman pulled at this agency could have been avoided if a more thorough background check had been done!

Well folks, these are just a few of my “interesting” experiences with the employees of the foster care world. Believe me, there are a ton of excellent workers who are emotionally stable, kind and truly care about the kids. On the other hand, we have a long way to go to help these kids be safer while in care and sadly, sometimes the people responsible for this are the most messed up! We can do better!





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