Thursday, January 27, 2011

Family Group Conference

Our Family Group Conference meeting was this afternoon. Basically, this is a meeting where EVERYONE shows up.
  • Bio parents
  • Other family members
  • Lawyers or their representatives
  • The guardian ad litem
  • Foster parent(s)
  • Investigative social worker that opened the case
  • Current social worker managing the case
  • CPS supervisor(s)

You get together around a huge table to go over the basic details of the "story".
  • Hopes/dreams for Pumpkin
  • Family strengths
  • Concerns
  • Why CPS got involved
  • Parent's responsibility concerning education
  • Other needs the child may have
  • Legal timeline
  • ...and some other stuff - but this is where Pumpkin and I were excused

Obviously I got to spend some more time with Pumpkin's mom. I also got to meet her grandmother. The meeting itself was something of a snoozer. Mainly because 90% of the meeting was conducted in Spanish. I believe if I had not been there, they wouldn't have translated anything. As it was, the translation was kept to a minimum. Anyone that spoke in English had to have their answers translated for the grandmother though.

My compassion for mom waned a bit this evening. It was difficult to see her in a positive light when so many things from her past were brought up. Pumpkin has never been in foster care before. But this isn't the first time CPS was involved with the family. Mom also has a criminal background. And, due to the charges being brought up this time around, she will likely face jail time (she's being charged with felony abandonment and medical neglect).

Mom also felt the need to give Pumpkin THREE apple juice boxes during the two hours we were there. That, and a few pieces of chocolate. The candy doesn't bother me! Every kid deserves a little chocolate every now and then. But three boxes of juice?! Not good for her teeth and not good for her digestion. Needless to say I cleaned up the most disgusting diaper blowout of my lifetime. (And I've changed a bunch of diapers over my 39 years of life on this planet.)

Nothing like a bunch of poop to put me in my place.

I didn't handle it well. I got angry at Pumpkin.

And it's not her fault. It really isn't. It's not her fault she's where she's at developmentally. It's not her fault she wears a diaper. It's not her fault she can't communicate.

I'm going to have to remind myself of that a lot. Pumpkin is the victim here. I need to always, always, always show her compassion, understanding and love.

Even when I'm covered in poop.


noisycolorfullively said...

Good reminder. Amen.

Cheryl said...

You're doing great, poop and all. Hang in there!

jendoop said...

Sorry about the poop. You're a trooper. It's hard not to get frustrated at the child in that situation. You're doing the right thing by reminding yourself where the real blame lies.

Maybe you can take a huge hunk of cheese to the next team meeting to balance out her system? ;)