Friday, January 9, 2015

Health Department Inspection

Rainbow asked me yesterday if we had updated our Home Health Inspection yet. I had completely spaced off taking care of that so I called the County right away. I left a message on the voice mail of our inspector. I was waiting for him to call me back.

However, at about 9:45 this morning, my doorbell rang. The inspector had decided to just show up. I was surprised, but not worried. I've got nothing to hide. (Though I did have to tell him that I knew I wasn't in compliance with one of the inspection items as I was going to take care of it before he showed up and he surprised me.)

I mentioned this inspection on my Facebook page this morning and it's generated a little bit of conversation. It seems that this particular inspection varies greatly depending on where you live. This blog post is simply to clarify what the inspection means in my part of Texas.

As far as inspections go we have several we have to go through to obtain, and maintain, our foster home license. They include: a health department inspection, a fire inspection and an inspection done by our licensing agency. Today, the health department showed up. Their inspection is probably the most simple of all. They looked at the following items.
  1. Is the outdoor play area free of hazards to children?
  2. Is the kitchen kept clean?
  3. Is perishable food refrigerated or safely stored in other ways?
  4. Are animals which can get rabies vaccinated against rabies every year?
  5. Are plumbing facilities in good working condition?
  6. Is there an adequate sewerage system? (septic tank or municipal system)
  7. Is your drinking water supply from a public system or from a private well approved by the local health department?
  8. Are cleaning supplies, bug sprays, medicines and poisons stores do children cannot get to them?
  9. Is garbage kept in metal or plastic containers with tight fitting lids?
  10. Is garbage removed at least once each week?
  11. Do glass doors have markings at child's eye-level to prevent accidents?
  12. Are insects (flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, ants), mice and rats under control?
Other than the markings on the glass door, we were good. And the inspector trusted that I will put up window clings immediately so he marked our inspection as being in full compliance.

Our fire inspection is still good as it only has to be done every two years or so I believe and my agency still has our old one on file. And Rainbow will be filling out mountains of paperwork for all of her inspection items as her list is by far and away the longest. Our agency is the one that makes sure all of our medications are double locked, that guns are in a locked safe with ammunition locked in a separate location, that we have an official first aid kit, that we have mattress covers on all the beds, etc. etc. They make sure we meet or exceed every single minimum standard that the State has in place for foster homes (and that list in Texas is extensive!).

We're very close to having our foster care license. Rainbow is coming to our home tomorrow to fill out ALL her paperwork and go over the official trainings that we technically have to take again. (I'm pretty sure she's just going to have us sign for the trainings though as they really are just a formality.) Our agency is anxious to get us ready for placements. It seems there's a baby girl that might need to be moved within the next few days and they want us open and ready to take her.


G said...

This is so fascinating. I love seeing how different it is from state-to-state.

In my state, the agency is the only one that does any kind of come-out-to-the-house inspection. (They ask about a lot of the things on your list here.) County caseworkers told me that my agency was one of the few that actually complied with everything they were supposed to verify.

Every year, my agency had "auditors" come out and spot-check their homes. We were told every year that the auditors were coming and that we'd be notified if our home was picked. We got picked once. The auditor called me and scheduled an appointment to come out several days later. I thought that was extremely silly -- surely someone should just drop in on me sometime? Never happened. Not once, in 3-plus years of fostering, did I have an "unannounced inspection."

chicks3 said...

That will be one lucky baby girl if everything works out.

Annie said...

In Michigan the licensing agent does everything, but they have a whole list of "health" regs, that (like everything else) sometimes defy common sense. One of the regs requires that the hot water heater be very very un-hot. All so as not to burn a baby, which makes sense, I guess....but when everyone in the home is older than 10 and that group includes four teen boys - we couldn't begin to get everyone showered with that little hot water. So that was the one thing I'd always have to run and "adjust" when they were coming, because they would brook no common sense.