I just got my patches that prove I passed my background checks and that I'm safe to be around kids. I can now attend what are considered "child events" - things where B.A.C.A. kids are present.
As it turns out, there are two events in Central Texas this weekend. And since Russell doesn't have any appointments on the weekends, and the rest of the family's schedule is clear, we decided that we would all go up together. (Herman will be staying behind. He's not joining B.A.C.A. just yet as he doesn't ride a motorcycle...yet. And he doesn't want to go through the screening process to become a member until he can ride independently.) Mr. Amazing will ride his bike and the younger kids and I will follow behind in the "cage".
All that's left to do is get permission for Russell to travel with us.
I bet y'all know where this post is going...
The first thing I did was send a text message to Russell's CPS worker:
I know that minimum standards in Texas allow for me to travel with Russell for overnights less than 72 hours long in the state. Would I need extra permissions from you to take Russell anywhere on the weekends - for example, San Antonio, for a Saturday night?She replied:
Yes ma'am. Just have your agency send me an email stating where you'll be going and staying. Dates and phone numbers. Purpose of trip.I did that last night. This email went to our worker at our licensing agency:
We are going to go to San Antonio to a B.A.C.A. (Bikers Against Child Abuse) event this Saturday, April 25. We will be staying the night with B.A.C.A. members and children at the San Antonio Aquarium as part of an event called Sleeping with the Sharks. Every adult present will have gone through FBI fingerprinting (a requirement to be a B.A.C.A. member or prospect). We will return Sunday afternoon. Russell will not be missing any visits with his family or any other scheduled appointments. His CPS worker said all she needs from you is an email stating where I’m going, dates, phone numbers and the purpose of the trip.I didn't hear anything from my agency worker so I called at about 11:15am. I was told she was in a meeting. I told the secretary I had sent an email this morning and that I needed an answer soon so I could confirm with the event coordinator. The secretary put me on hold briefly and then said that my agency worker was waiting to hear back from CPS.
Foster Family: Mr. Amazing & Cherub Mamma
Date: Saturday, April 25 to Sunday, April 26, 2015
Location: 6320 Bandera Road, San Antonio, TX 78238
Phone Numbers: xxx-xxx-xxx
Purpose: family time at the aquarium and Sleeping with the Sharks B.A.C.A. event
Please let me know if you need anything else.
< sigh >
So I sent a text message to the CPS worker:
Did you get the email from my agency this morning? I'd like to go to San Antonio this weekend for one night. I need to give the event coordinator a head count though. Is there a problem with Russell traveling with our family?She responded:
I did let your agency know that we need at least 10 days notice because I have to get approval from Russell's attorney and then file it with the court to have the judge sign and approve. I'm going to do the advisement either way. I won't know until Friday if it got approved.My response:
For a single night trip in the State?CPS response:
Yes ma'am. Any time a child leaves the county the court needs to be notified. With the exception of (one county over). If you go to (two local attractions) just notify me. No court approval is needed.My response:
I don't mean to be difficult. But that is much more restrictive than the State minimum standards. We are supposed to treat our foster children like members of our family and trips lasting less than 72 hours within the State do not require anyone's approval but yours.CPS response:
At least that's what the standards say.
Do you think you'll know by Friday?
Let me ask my supervisor.Me:
I didn't get a lot of notice for this event. I'm sorry if this is causing extra hassle for you!!CPS:
Not a problem ma'am. Let me talk to my supervisor.So...like always...this worker adheres to a set of rules that I can't find written down anywhere. These rules aren't fair to the foster parents or the foster children. If I had respite available I could easily dump Russell on them for Saturday night and no one would say a single thing. They would expect it.
But I want to include him?! That almost requires intervention from God, Himself.
I really wish I could have a sit-down with the judge on this topic. I have run into problems with travel entirely too many times. Trips have been cancelled and foster kids of mine have gone into unnecessary respite more times that I want to remember!! Why, oh why, oh why, do they have to make it even more difficult than the already in-place Minimum Standards?!
I don't always have 10 days notice for things. Sometimes the weather is right and the schedule is clear and we just want to go somewhere.
No...I would never leave overnight without getting permission. With my luck something would happen and I'd get caught.
So Russell and I won't go if I don't get permission to travel. Mr. Amazing will go to the events with TT and Bart alone. And yeah, I'll probably enjoy having the house to myself for a weekend. But dagnabit...I really want to go!
Hopefully I'll hear something soon.