Monday, May 23, 2011

CPS responded

CPS responded to our concerns about letting Pumpkin travel with us this past weekend. Of course, the supervisor's response came after we secured respite care and actually took the trip. I'm still not happy with their answer either...

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!


Mie said...

Wow that sucks. In turn - I begged for a caseworker to respond to me for 2 weeks (she was new and I had 4 weeks before our trip). I then called the supervisor and low and behold I got a response in 10 minutes. Nice. There was a lot more interesting conversation, but one piece was, about the request to travel - "do you need some sort of formal approval or something". take the kid out of state - well actually yeah but if you're cool with it an email will do.

I had parents once that balked at the idea of a weekend car trip out of state (10 hour drive). So...I purely presented the options - I can take him with me or I can put him in a stranger's house for the weekend. I knew they loved him at our house...they quickly changed their tune.

noisycolorfullively said...

This is absolutely absurd! You should not be homebound and your children should not be left out.

First, the department should have full guardianship rights to the child. That means they do not HAVE to get permission from the parents for ANYTHING. They can and should ask for courtesy, but they certainly override those decisions if it's not best for the child. Now, MAYBE your state is different, but I doubt it. Sounds like a dodge from the department to me.

The judge! Seriously?! Jurisdiction limits. I've never even heard of such a thing! You can make a report on judges who rule unfairly, or conduct themselves inappropriately. Sounds like this judge is on some crazy power trip. There should be a local office to file your complaints/concerns.

Finally, I would contact your counties director (an email would probably still get a response) and find out what the COUNTY'S standards are regarding the chidlren in your home. Then you know how above and beyond your agency has pushed their minimum.

I feel for you. This would infurriate me! Good luck getting answers.