Friday, September 9, 2011

Minimum standards stink

I love my agency worker. I love the fact that I can be completely honest with her and she doesn't even flinch.

She half-heartedly said that she should probably double check how I store our cleaning supplies today. I smiled and said that I'm breaking one rule. I can't bring myself to store the dishwasher detergent anywhere but under the sink. Putting it out of reach in our laundry closet wasn't practical and keeping it on a shelf in my kitchen cupboard above the sink ended up being too messy as the box would leak.

She said she needed to see where I do our laundry to I took her to the laundry closet. The laundry soap is on a small shelf above the washer and drier where my own mother has a hard time reaching. I showed her the lock boxes that I purchased for things such as toilet bowl cleaner and the like.

Our worker then informed me that the laundry soap is supposed to be locked up too. Not just out of reach. But completely locked up. She couldn't confirm if this is a State standard or something our agency is doing that is "above and beyond".

I looked her in the face and said I understand -- but I'm not going to do it.

We then went into the bathroom where she told me I'm supposed to have paper towels for the children to dry their hands on. I said I'm too environmentally conscious to allow that in my home. She seemed to think that if I had a separate towel for each kid that I would be under minimum standards. I smiled and did not indicate I would be changing my single hand towel out for any other system.

Thankfully she agreed that our home would not be shut down for the "violations" if we were to be inspected. Then she went on to say that she's had to shut down two of her homes recently. She said that you just "know" when a home isn't right. Then she apologized for always having such short visits when she comes here. But she knows that we're OK and not doing anything wrong. I'm glad she trusts us.

We both agreed that these silly rules don't prevent abuse or neglect of children. They are just a pain in the neck for all parties involved!!


Carrie said...

I can't believe all of the hoops that they make you jump through. It is so sad to me that they would run off the good homes, because really, who can deal with all of that long term? We foster through the state and not an agency and at first I wondered if we should have gone the other route. I have since decided that whatever the perks of going through an agency, the restriction isn't worth it! In the 15 months that we had our twins (they just left), one time the sw looked in their room. Other than that she would come maybe every other month, sit on the floor and play with them and chat, and never look at or ask about anything else. We don't have to lock up anything. For probably six months after we had the babies, we didn't have spindles on the bottom of our stairway, let alone handrails, and no one said a thing. I really feel bad for you. The day to day emotional toll fostering takes is hard enough...

CherubMamma said...

I'm pretty sure (though not positive) that you have to be licensed through an agency in the state of Texas. To the best of my knowledge, all of these standards are State standards too. So no matter what, this is what is required of a foster home here.

The hoops down here are nuts though! We were licensed in Iowa before and it was a totally different experience. Also, just a few months ago we thought we might be moving to Minnesota and I researched fostering there. Again, no crazy hoops. Nothing to lock up (except guns). No crazy paperwork. It seemed like it would be much easier.

I wouldn't be able to foster with these kind of restrictions for too long. Already I'm tiring of all the mess. You're right Carrie, the emotional toll of fostering is difficult enough. It stinks having all the extra garbage to deal with!

Sunday said...

On one had I get the minimum standards on the other, if you can’t trust someone to know how to keep their laundry detergent safe - why would you trust them with the lives of children?

CherubMamma said...

@Sunday - EXACTLY!!

I totally get that there have to be minimum standards. I get it. But somehow we have to realize that I am running a household with a family. This is not a business. This is not a day care. I totally feel like the State doesn't trust me at all. It's quite unsettling at times.