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Latest post Sun, Jul 21 2013 6:36 AM by punguta. 11 replies.
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  • Mon, Jan 1 2001 12:00 AM

    • admin
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Nov 19 2008

    2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

    Introduced in the Senate on January 24, 2011

    Click here to view bill details.
  • Tue, Jan 25 2011 4:47 PM In reply to

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

    We have amazing foster parents in Washington that open their hearts and homes to our community’s children. There is a shortage of foster homes. This bill does not cause “foster parents to do a better job” as stated in some research I was quoted. It will cause foster parents to feel a lack of trust, support and appreciation.   

    We have a very small percentage of foster homes that should not be caring for our children. When social workers do their monthly visits they question the children/youth in care in order to assure they are happy, feel safe and know who to call if the don’t. If a social worker has concerns about a caregiver they have the right to show up at that house when ever they feel the need to. To make it a law that ALL foster parents will be randomly “assessed” with a surprise visit is punishing all foster parents. My fear is that many veteran foster parents will feel that this is the final insult and we will lose them for future homes to our children.  

    I am confused by what is hoped to be gained with this bill and afraid for what the unintended consequences will be.

     

  • Wed, Jan 26 2011 1:56 AM In reply to

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

    1

          We do not need a law for something that Social Workers can do already. After all that foster parents have to go through to be licensed, it seems like a punitive action to drop into their homes unannounced with a feeling of threat if they don't allow entry by a social worker.  These are our homes.  Social workers already have the ability to stop by anytime they'd like.  Having an unannounced visit is not going to catch a foster parent doing something wrong.  If that is the intention, then I'd suggest workers get binoculars and dark clothing and tactically hide in bushes outside our homes.  Calling my house and giving me the courtesy of a time of a social worker's arrival will not allow me time to "cover up" something.  It allows me a chance to move my laundry off of my kitchen table that I haven't had time yet to fold.  It allows me a chance to jump in the shower (or finish a shower).  It allows me a chance to let the worker know that we are not home or that we won't be home because we are heading to an appointment.  It allows me a chance to postpone lunch or dinner or the project that we were just about to work on as a family.  

          Coming into my home makes me think that, after all that I have proven to be worthy of a foster care license time and time again, our family is suspect.  It makes the children nervous that there IS a problem.  It makes the children in foster care worried that the social worker is there because they did something wrong, that their parent did something wrong, that they are moving again.  

          The cost associated with this task is great.  Social workers are already taking on more work than ever before due to less staff and higher expectation.  It is already expected that social workers will have face to face visits with the children on their caseload at least every 30 days.  There is no reason for this law.  The end result is expensive, literally and figuratively.  Let's not waste anyone's time whether they are social workers, children in foster care or taxpayers.  A good job does not mean policing.   

     

  • Wed, Jan 26 2011 2:43 PM In reply to

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

     Personally I do not have a problem with unannounced visits to my home.  HOWEVER, I totally can not understand the need for a bill to authorize a social worker to visit my home unannounced - when they are currently able and welcome to do that.  If a social worker has questions about the care a child is receiving in any home, they SHOULD make unannounced visits as they deem appropriate to be sure that the very best care is being given to the children in care.  Passing a law and mandating a certain number of unannounced visits seems like adding more unnecessary workload to the social worker and unnecessary burden on the foster homes that are visited when there is not a concern.  We do not need legislation to care for our foster children.  We simply need the dedicated social workers and foster parents that we already have.

  • Wed, Jan 26 2011 3:30 PM In reply to

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

     Foster Parents are volunteers not employees! This is not a restaurant business that needs surprise visits for public safety. Social Workers can stop by a foster home anytime already. We need to create a system where social workers have the time to develop supportive relationships with foster parents. As it is social workers are buried in more paprework all the time.This 10% idea has been tried in the past as DCFS Policy and was dropped because it wasn't practical. One unintended consequence of this as law could be that citizens would choose to not do foster care on the basis that they would be giving up more and more of their civil rights. If we want to treat foster parents like employees, let's hire them, and give them all the rights and responsibilities of an employee. My house is my home, it is not a place of business. We are not Day Care facilities, those kids go home at night, yet cost 3 times as much as foster care. Let's develop a well trained, connected and supported foster care system. This attempt to make foster parents work harder at no cost to the State is simplistic and misses an opportunity to be genuinely supportive.

  • Wed, Jan 26 2011 6:00 PM In reply to

    • marymac
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 26 2009

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

     I worry when we as a society find it compelling to legislate for unnecessary things.  Foster Parents are already subject to unanounced visits by social workers - why waste taxpayers dollers in a seriously tight budget year to mandate sonething that is already possible? 

    I think the youth that suggested it were in care at a time that 30 day visits were not being done as they are now.  It may have been that in their instance there were things that were not happening as should have been.  While I understand their concern and do not want any child to be living in fear, I do not believe this legislation will stop that.

    We will not have a fear free good funtioning foster system until all parts of the foster system can work together as a team with good communication and trust. This bill will not help create trust or good communication.  I believe it does just the opposite.

    I ask you to stop it now without further meetings and taxpayer expense.  Thank you.

  • Thu, Jan 27 2011 2:30 AM In reply to

    • BrMoore
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Jan 27 2011

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

    As a foster parent of some of our most behavior challeged teen boys I get an unannounced visit by DLR every time a kid has a gripe. I've had 6 unannounced visits and several unannounced visits by case workers in the last year. These are not always favorable. My home is open to the social workers of my kids anytime, which is anytime the kid is around so they get to mark it as seeing their kid.

    Not too long ago I got an unannounced visit while I was sleeping. Having a kid going bonkers all night several nights in a row, I was taking advantage of kids being at school by catching up on sleep. I was shocked awake and answered the door in my jammies (braless t and short shorts, which I'd NEVER wear outside my bedroom). I was half asleep and VERY uncomfortable. I sat down and answered their questions and visited (so much for sleep). I was greatly appreciated for the time by a phone call a few days later regarding my 'inappropriate' attire for a single female parenting teen boys by my licensor.

    God forbid I was in the tub and answered the door in a towel!

    I can't tell you how humiated and exhausted I was. A simple phone call 10 mins in advance would have prevented two very humiliating situations. One being seen by professionals I work with in little clothing & at my worst. Two, having to have a VERY awkward conversation with my licensor (male) about my 'inappropriate' attire.

    When people from the state you don't know come unannounced into your home it equates to a police officer showing up. You feel 'detained' in your own home and have to drop everything to accomodate. When you do know them, you feel like your mother & mother in law just dropped in, you KNOW that dirty hand print a kid left on the wall will be noticed!

  • Thu, Jan 27 2011 11:58 AM In reply to

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

     As a 19 year foster parent of some of the most difficult foster children in the system, and as a former foster child with multiple placements I was initially supportive of this bill, seduced by its appearance to support a culture of safety within foster care.  After much debate, research and consideration, I DO NOT SUPPORT this bill at this time.  I completely support appropriate oversight by the agency of authority responsible for the health and safety of children placed into foster homes.  I do believe that regular, random, unannounced visits to foster homes by TRAINED, SKILLED, SENSITIVE social workers could be a healthy condition for foster care in general, and all the social workers and licensors I have ever worked with know our door is always open.  HOWEVER, there are some very important factors I emplore you to seriously consider at this time.  Although our particular journey as a foster/adopt family has been filled with workers who have, for the most part, been respectful, professional and child-centered - this condition for foster families is all too often NOT the normal.  Far too often, decisions, LIFE-CHANGING decisions for foster families and the children they love and care for are too often made arbitrarily, subjectively and for reasons that would never be acceptable in any other arena, where invasive, complex authority and oversight are the law.  Unfortunately, some of the conditions that exist in foster care culture right now could be compared to a DOT officer stopping large trucks - and GUESSING how much they weigh, rather than having an accurate scale; or a health and safety inspector making inspections in a restaurant and GUESSING the temperature of foods being inspected.  The past and currrent climate at DCFS is littered with circumstances like these, where really good families, -and the children they have really made a difference to, - have suffered incredible losses because of the lack of specific perimeters and accountability in workers judgements about foster homes.  Until ALL workers have the appopriate training, and more importantly, the Department has set forth very specific guidelines and standards for workers to be held accountable to as they make decisions about transitioning foster children, or placing a foster home under suspect of any kind - until that time - the conditions are akin, again, to DOT officers arbitrarily GUESSING which trucks meet certain requirements, with very little or no accountability for their decisions and authority.  This condition would allow for far too much subjectivity to be fair to the transportation industry.  In this condition there would be an outcry, and possibly even a strike.  This is the condition that foster parents currently live under every day of their lives.  This law, going into effect at this time, would increase this NEGATIVE condition for foster families EXPONENTIALLY.

    As other commentors have suggested, I too believe we will lose many good foster parents if this law is passed.  The reason is because, normal family conditions, normal parenting moments, a normal day in the life of a foster parents, is already too often mis-judged and subjectively and unfairly viewed in a negative light.  Far too often, new workers, tired and burned out workers, workers who have had a bad day, workers suffering from secondary ptsd, inexperienced workers (many of whom have never experienced parenting first hand) - workers who possibly have a negative bias toward the family they are working with - these workers, who don't have specific enough perimeters to be held accountable for their judgements (scales and thermometers) - could be making life-changing decisions based on unfair, subjective impressions that are taken completely out of context.  When a visit is scheduled and planned - foster parents have the opportunity to present themselves to social workers confidently and appropriately, which does balance the "imbalanced scales" at least some:  the conditions any normal adult in any other situation would expect. 

    It is my goal to continue fostering a culture of safety and child-centeredness in the foster care community - which I am thankful to say is the current standard.  It is also my goal to continue to sensitize the excellent workers and supervisors that are also committed to child welfare to pitfalls in the existing system that are unfortunate for everyone involved.  If this law goes into effect, in the existing conditions of foster care, I believe it would be a chronic pit-fall for all parties involved - most especially the children we are all committed to, as it would most likely further de-stablize and traumatize them - within the current conditions. 

    One more note, if you will, the timing of this bill is completely inappropriate.  Workers are currently stretched to max capacity of time and stress, due to budget constraints and cutbacks.  Adding this to their already over-loaded schedules substantially increases worker stress - which will add to the pitfalls of this bill already described.  Also, I belive the timing of this bill is inappropriate due to fiscal responsiblity.  It is NOT the time to add expensive, controversial costs to foster care.  INSTEAD: support foster families and children financially in real, meaningful, down to earth ways that promote stability, safety and respect in the culture of foster care.  Thank you.

    Connie Kerbs, Foster/Adopt Parent; Recruitment & Retentiontion Specialist; FPAWS Board of Directors, Tender Pines Ranch;

  • Mon, Jan 31 2011 9:12 PM In reply to

    • future
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Tue, Feb 1 2011

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

     To All i have been a foster parent for 8 years and enjoy the children we bring into our home

     when it comes to unannounced visits from our s.w.s i feel it is just over the line as they do

     come out monthly now. Feel they could spend more time in the office getting all the other cases

     cought up as is now. All of the foster parents in the state of washington volunteer our time and homes

     adding yet another factor is overwelming for all, families kiddos and the social workers. Besides what if we are not home

     due to medical appts, school ect. that is more time wasted on mileage, lact of time in the department ect. Lets all support

     foster families and give each of us the respect all deserve.               THANKYOU

  • Sat, Sep 22 2012 4:41 PM In reply to

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

    Have the state law changed for movers ? Whats the current law and how do I find it ?
  • Tue, Jul 16 2013 6:52 AM In reply to

    • punguta
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Nov 5 2012

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

    If you will take a look at the Cincinnati real estate listings, you will see there some great prices for different real estates, offers that can be applied also to families with foster children. Some real estate companies have these kind of offers, because they want to facilitate a house purchase for these families because all children deserve to be raised in a decent house.
  • Sun, Jul 21 2013 6:36 AM In reply to

    • punguta
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Nov 5 2012

    Re: 2011 Senate Bill 5393 (Providing for unannounced visits to homes with dependent children)

    I am glad for all those families who receive orphan children in their care.
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