A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Building Relationships Between Foster Parents and Caseworkers

In order to be a truly successful foster parent, you will need to work closely with your foster child’s caseworker. It is important for the well being of your foster child that you work alongside the caseworker, and help to build an effective partnership and strong working relationship with your child’s caseworker. With this strong relationship, the two of you will have a much better chance of guiding your foster child through the many difficulties and challenges he will face, as well as work together to see that his future is as bright and successful as possible.

It is important that you share all information with the caseworker about your foster child. Be honest with your caseworker about any concerns you might have in regards to your child. If you see signs that your foster child is having trouble adjusting to your home and family, share these concerns with the caseworker. If you are worried about a possible reunification with the biological family, express these worries to the caseworker. If your foster child should become sick, let the caseworker know, even if it should be a day at home from the common cold or flu bug. Caseworkers have the responsibility of documenting everything when it comes to each of the foster children in their caseload. Instead, the more you share with the caseworker, and the more honest you are, the stronger your partnership will become, which only benefits the wellbeing of your child. Make sure the both of you have current telephone numbers and email addresses, for both home and work. Plan ahead, if possible, for home visitations, as well as visitations with the birth parents.

You will most likely have a monthly meeting with your foster child’s caseworker. Before you meet with your caseworker, whether at home or another setting, make sure you are prepared beforehand. Have all proper forms and information gathered together which you might need for the caseworker., including invoices, school information, important phone numbers, etc. Also have with you your foster child’s medical information, such as doctor’s name, address, and phone number, primary health care information, as well as any dates for future medical and dental appointments. Should you should be traveling to meet at a predetermined location, make sure that you arrive on time, and that both you and your foster child are dressed nicely.

Encourage your foster child to open up to the caseworker. After all, your child’s caseworker is probably one of the few consistencies in his life at the moment, a person that he will see on a regular basis and a connection to his birth parents, family, and life before he came to be placed with you. Help your foster child to develop a strong and positive relationship with his caseworker in his own way. When your foster child leaves your home, whether it be through reunification or some other means, he will likely still remain in contact with his caseworker.   

Your foster child’s caseworker has a great deal on her plate. With a little preparation on your behalf, as well as organization and a positive attitude, the working relationship between you and your foster child’s caseworker will be a pleasant and productive one.

Dr. John DeGarmo has been a foster parent for 11 years, and he and his wife have had over 30 children come through their home. He is a speaker and trainer on many topics about the foster care system, and travels around the nation delivering passionate, dynamic, energetic, and informative presentations. Dr. DeGarmo is the author of the highly inspirational and bestselling book Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Story, and the upcoming book The Foster Parenting Manual: A Practical Guide to Creating a Loving, Safe and Stable Home. He writes for a number of publications and newsletters, both here in the United States, and overseas. Dr. DeGarmo can be contacted by email, through his Facebook page, or at his website.

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