CPS (my worker and I) really appreciate that that you are trying to provide Pumpkin with this opportunity of going on a trip but we still have to follow certain requirements that are not specified in Minimum standards. You are correct about the 72 hour trip; however, our Judge requires approval for the child to travel outside of his legal jurisdiction no matter the amount of time. In addition, another requirement is that we allow the parent to consent to trip as the Department only has TMC of the child.
I'm trying to decide exactly how I want to proceed with this. I'm furious!! The Judge in our county makes all sorts of rules above and beyond minimum standards. For example, ALL children have to attend EVERY court hearing. The only excuse he will give is if the hearing is during standardized testing week at school. (Though he did excuse Pumpkin because of her medical concerns.) This whole "staying within the jurisdiction" thing really has me in a bunch. I do not like being made to feel like a prisoner. I haven't done anything wrong!! I'm the one that has taken hours and hours and hours of training. I'm the one that has to answer to CPS, my agency, CASA, lawyers, etc. etc. Can't I be trusted to do anything?!
I'm not even sure if we will go on another trip while Pumpkin is in our care. We don't have that much disposable income lying around. It's not like we're jetting off to a hotel every other weekend. But it's the principle of the matter that really gets to me. Foster parents have to follow so many ridiculous rules. And this is just another layer of the puzzle that complicates things.
I'm going to start with an email to my agency. If they will give me the next person "up" in the chain of command, I will continue to complain. If they basically tell me it's a lost cause, I'm going to drop the matter. Here's what's going off to my agency director and my SSW this morning:
These policies really bother me! I was never told during training that I had to have permission from the judge to leave his jurisdiction. Exactly how far does his jurisdiction stretch?
I don't believe that these rules are necessarily in the best interest of the children in care. And, they add another layer of difficulty for the foster parents. Like I've said before, I fully understand NOTIFYING the State of where we will be if we decide to take a short trip. But getting permission seems over the top as long as we are following all the rules and aren't missing any visits or scheduled appointments. And by giving this kind of power to the parents (the ones that LOST custody) they continue to have the ability to deny their children. It doesn't apply in Pumpkin's case...but imagine a parent who was vindictive to their children and neglected them prior to coming into care. They could continue this pattern of abuse by telling them they aren't allowed to be included in trips with their foster family either.
Is there anyone else I could take my concerns to? I don't want to complicate things for ***the agency*** or myself. But if my concerns are valid, I would like to pursue a change in the rules. Please give me your thoughts on this.
I'm anxious to hear their reply. I'm so frustrated with "The System" it's all I can do to hang on and keep on doing this. It's so difficult when all I want to do is help children and families. I'm tired of being at the bottom of the totem pole. This is crazy!