I stopped off at DSS this week to drop off some paperwork. I sat and talked with Little Man's social worker. We talked a few minutes about Little Man's case (not much to say since not much is going on). Then she closed the door and we proceed to talk.
I mentioned a while back that locally we had a foster parent who was planning on adopting her foster child only to be shocked when she went to court to find that someone else had brought their own lawyer with the intent of adopting their child. The baby had been with the foster family since birth. This social worker was the one who had to go to that home and take the child away from the only home that he had known. She was powerless to do anything. She felt it was so wrong. The DSS lawyer did a very unethical thing and it was one of her friends who adopted the baby.
This social worker is still dealing with the pain of removing that baby. She is frustrated that she was powerless to do anything. As she sat there talking I wondered if they ever have therapists come in and talk with the social workers. We see so much pain as foster parents but as a social worker they see so much more.
I am not going to talk about whether social workers are good or bad. Social workers are human. They make judgments every day, some better than others. They make these judgments based on their own life history and experiences. Every day they are lied to by numerous parties. I would imagine that they would get cynical after years of working in the field.
I have seen their pain. A few years ago DSS, GAL and foster parent asked that a specific child not go home. The judge sent him home. He was dead within a few months. Terrible. Ask any social worker involved in that case and they talk abut how powerless they were to prevent that child's death. The judge made a judgment call and the child paid the price. I am not sure why he went against DSS and the GAL recommendations. I wonder if he will do that again. When the social workers talk about that case, you hear their pain.
When we had Emma and Michelle placed with us they came from a disrupted adoptive placement. The previous adoptive home had never fostered, they were not prepared. They looked good on paper but had no clue what they were getting themselves into. The kids paid the price for that, another move. The social worker who placed them in that home also placed them in our home. She gave us every bit of information about the girls. She wanted to make sure that they did not move again. One day she talked to me, she told me of her regret about placing the girls in the other home. She said that she couldn't see placing kids in a home without foster or adoption experience. When she talked with me she was coming from a painful place.
I have developed relationships with a lot of social workers over the years. I have been the listening ear to many frustrations and painful experiences. Every day they see pain and loss. I can't say if social workers are good or bad, I can tell you that they are hurting too. Before you judge, stop and think, what has my social worker been dealing with this week. Am I helping or hurting her efforts?
Next, the foster parent responsibilities.