After adopting 3 children, Dean and I decided we had enough time and room to do foster care, through the years we had several children come and go. We helped with reunification plans, we helped with adoption placements and we provided respite care for other foster parents, until we adopted number 4 and then had to hang up our foster parenting hat. Lucky me though there was a position open in foster care/adoption unit and I qualified. I spent the next 5 plus years working for the county (yet again) in Child Welfare. At first it was wonderful..i had a great supervisor that allowed me to use my experience and education , I developed support groups, taught classes through the local Junior Colleges and got to provide information at Match meetings about both the children and the waiting adoptive parents. As budgets were cut and people were moved around, the new Director became focused totally on Family Reunification..at all costs. The Foster Care Unit and Adoption Unit went from 20 Social Workers to 10. Presently there are 3 Social Workers in Foster Care and the Adoption Unit has been cleared and contracted out to a private agency. There are over 200 waiting families to adopt and the Social Workers working with the children do not know any of them. My position got moved over to Parent Partner Unit. I was the sole advocate for adoptive and foster families working under a supervisor who did not know the foster care program or the adoption program in our county. Her performance was rated on the success of her parent mentors, or how many families were reunited. It was becoming more and more difficult to provide the services I was hired to. Support for foster parents was non an option anymore and In addition to this we were transferred to our local CAPC (Child Abuse Prevention Council) for administration of our contract, When I went to the Director of this organization for support, to talk about how we could keep some focus on the children and their needs and not 100 percent on reunifying families at any cost, I was reminded by this person that “adoption is never the best option for a child” …..I knew I was in trouble. Besides personally hitting me below the belt ( a mom to 4 children through adoption) I didn’t feel like I could continue to work with an organization that didn’t look at the needs of each individual…that did assessments on each particular situation….THAT WOULD PLACE CHILDREN BACK IN A HOME WHEN THAT MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST OPTION BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT TO CONSIDER ADOPTION. Luckily my husband and now business partner supported me 100 percent in leaving this position and I started facilitating private adoptions on my own. So let me say..I too feel that family preservation is priority. I think that when a family comes to the attention of Child Welfare that an assessment needs to be done, services need to be provided. One of these services is offering options. Not all women want to or can parent and need to be given a guilt free alternative rather than waiting until they cannot succeed then taking away their rights in court. You then end up with a closed adoption and a woman who 6 out of 10 times will get pregnant again to replace the loss the county provided. I think that if a child cannot live with the biological parent then family needs to be considered. BUT if you have a family that is generational to the system…what advantage is this?
A little homework for you: Call your County CFS dept today and ask how many children are currently in their foster care system. How many of these children have been there for 3 or more years? How many children are in their ILSP (Independant Living Skills Program) program? How many of these girls are pregnant? And why aren’t we offering information about Private adoption?