Have you or your foster parents ever tried to contact your CW? What do you get when you call? Voice mail...right? Do they return the call in 24, 48, 72 hours? Never! It's weeks later, maybe.
Number one thing for me would be - How DFS and CPS is funded and managed.
CPS is a government run agency. Like most any govt agency, they have to show they have a requirement to support the funding and that they are managing the "expected" numbers efficiently. This creates an unofficial "quota" of children in care within the county. After all, there is a limited number of foster homes any state can fund, a limited number of CPS agents and social workers. These numbers have to be managed. All government agencies run like this.
When they have too many kids on the system, upper mgmt will push cases quicker then expected to close the case in order to reduce volume and make the department appear like they are functioning efficiently. This meaning, they risk reuniting a child with an abusive parent or relative before the parents "plan" is completed (or even started), or place the child with a relative before a homestudy is complete (hoping for the best), or fast-track the TPR process so the foster parents have the option to adopt (or not). They need to reduce the numbers.
When there are too few kids in the system, in order to secure and justify enough funding for the next year (and keep their jobs), CPS agents are instructed to become more aggressive in investigations and include things that would normally be dismissed. Such as, a disorderly home or surroundings, and less cooperative parents. We're all heard and read about CPS agents removing children and making a ruling based on very silly things - like calling a home with dirty dishes in the sink, an unfit habitat for children. When you read outrageous reports of CPS aggression against a family, my guess is that 9 times out of 10, it's because they need to increase the numbers.
End result: CPS isn't "all about protecting the best interests of the kids and families". That's just what they want people to think. It's about using kids as an excuse to maintain acceptable statistics. If you do a little digging on google, you'll find dozens and dozens of EX-social workers that support this claim. It's the number one reason why social workers quit!
CPS / DFS also needs to be more diligent, and investigate a private agencies motivations when presented with 3rd party reports. A somewhat new practice that is emerging is private (for profit) agencies are becoming underhanded in securing adoptable babies through foster care.
Licensed adoption agencies can request a list of adoptable placements. If that agencies is licensed by the state, this is legal and typical, and the names of the foster parents are often included with this list. (i have verified this with a couple of now ex-foster parents) With this information, an agency can legally hire a private investigator to try to dig up dirt on the foster parents themselves, beyond that of the original homestudy or background check. They present their findings (justified or not) as "mandated reporters" to DFS.
Heres the catch. They only seem to do this to foster parents that have "newly adoptable infants" (most likely white infants), and they always seem to have a parent "ready and willing" to take the child if DFS decides to remove the child from the current home, pending further investigation. After all, they know that any claims against a foster parent by law must be investigated. End result, the agency get's PAID, and has a happy client, DFS is protected by "following proceedures", and the original foster parent - no matter how good they may be - are left to twist in the wind, broken hearted, and with ZERO legal protection or representation. The ONLY agencies that should be able to adopt children through foster care should be NON-PROFIT agencies. If you remove profit from the equation, you remove the primary reason for corruption.
Number two on my list would be that funding be made available for foster youth to join athletic programs and youth programs beyond those that are offered in public schools. Such as competitive swimming teams, gymnastics, soccer leagues, etc. The cost of these programs is typically beyond the reach of many foster parents, and is excluded from any stipend or allowable reimbursements.
I can go on and on and on. But those would be my highest priorities.
@Andersen: Aftercare ETV's, scholarships and grants ARE available to foster youth! The problem is they don't tell anyone they exist. The child needs to find them, and apply for them themselves. (which I can tell you is a major PITA every semester!!) They aren't "offered" and often hidden from view. I attend a University. My tuition, books, and even my room/board costs are 100?overed. I don't have any student loans.
Answered By: Wildgrl - 2/12/2011