Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bios and Visits.

At the agency I am with we are "required" to transport the children we accept as placements to and from their visits with their bios. When I was in training I asked "So we will ONLY be asked to bring them HERE to the AGENCY correct?" and they said yes.

For the most part that was the case. If I was willing to meet them some where else that the social worker approved of then we would do that as well.

So, when we arrived at said visits I would be handing the child off to their parents, not to a social worker and leaving. We had to stay with them until the parents arrived. Sometimes that would mean waiting in the small waiting room with the child and their bio parent for the social worker to come out and get the parents and child. So, if the parents showed up for visits I had A LOT of face time with them.

Over all I am happy that it is this way. I would see the worker almost every week so I could ask them questions. I got to know the bios and...well, all the bios I have had like to talk and I listen because it helps me understand where these kids came from.

Anyway, I love hearing what everyone else experiences, so tell me...

Do you transport? Are you allowed to transport?

Do you get to see these bio parents? Are you ever awkwardly stuck in a waiting room with them talking about goodness knows what that day?

I would love to know...


Alison said...

We have never been asked to transport and it's been pretty clear that they don't want us to- they try to keep us from having contact with the bio parents.

We've asked to mulitple times because we want to know what's going on at these visits and the caseworker always changes the subject. Very frustrating. And it's always been confusing- Do we have any right to transport/be there or are we at the mercy of the caseworker to let us?

Cherub Mamma said...

We have to transport. That's how it works down here for all foster parents. And yes, we all sit in a waiting room together until the social worker comes out to get the family for their visit.

However, it's a larger waiting room and it's usually packed with tons of kids, foster parents and bio parents. There is very little interaction with the families. I used to try and make small talk with Pumpkin's mom. But now I just wait over in a corner.

And I NEVER hear ANYTHING about how the visit went. The supervising worker is just a random worker than knows NOTHING of the case. They don't feel it's necessary to tell the foster parents anything. So, I usually just come and pick Pumpkin up when the visit is over. We say our goodbyes and load Pumpkin up in the car.

As for Dude and Dolly, we made an arrangement with CPS when we took the placement that we would not transport for visits. The kids' bio family lives an hour away. And since they couldn't find any other foster homes, they placed with us with the agreement that CPS would do the transport.

Overall, they have only had a handful of visits since they came in to care. And since it's their CPS worker that is doing the transport and the supervising, I've gotten more feedback about what went on in the visit.

Visits where we are at are run in a horrible way! They all take place at the CPS office. They aren't very frequent at all. And the communication about them is almost non-existent.

Denver Laura said...

We have to transport. And if extended bio family is involved, we sometimes have to transport to them (although we can work out times and where on our own once given the go-ahead).

Yes, we have to wait with the kids for the parents to show up in the smallish waiting room. However, we do get to have an icebreaker moderated by a case aid before meeting the parents the first time.

After visits, the parents are told to wait in the room for 5 minutes. The case aid sometimes tells us how it went. The 5 minutes gives us enough time to go to the parking lot so the bio-family cannot follow us home.

Occasionally the parents are late. If they are habitually late, we get a police escort out to our car just in case the parents accost us in the lot.

We used to get a milegae check but supposedly the rate is now baked in the monthly rate. However, we never saw an increase in the rate so we ended up on the wrong end of that deal.

Anonymous said...

Visits with the bios started out being at the bios home. Social worker would pick up and transport. I always wondered what kind of info the social worker was gathering on the drive. She would testify in court to different things - such as they like living with us, love us, etc. but she never asked those questions during her required home visits. Then the judge ruled that visits could only take place a the agency. Then our foster case moved to guardianship. I asked our social worker if I could go to the visits but she said no - the kids would seek me instead of the bio mom. Guardianship in my state is used when they don't want to send the kids back home, but they don't want to terminate due to lack of felony convictions or time, money, workers, etc. So with guardianship bios technically still have the right to visit. So we have taken over visits with bios. My husband and I have decided that there will never be a visit unsupervised by us both. There are no "secrets" allowed. The bio mom was whispering in the kids ears, which made them feel bad about leaving at the end of the visits. I now document things they say to the kids that are not true - even things they say to us about their lives that might not viewed positively if we ever have to go back to court. Bios now have to meet us at a public place - restaurant, park, etc. We think there should be effort on their part to visit. How convenient it was to have your kids brought to you by the social worker! I just checked online court records and the bios have been ticketed 2xs in the last month for driving with a suspended license. So it will be interesting to see if they drive to the next visit. Bios are interesting but it does help me understand where my kids are coming from. At some point in the future when my little ones (preschoolers) understand what really happened, I don't know how they will feel about visiting bios.

The Campbell's Journey said...

Majority of the time the agencies here have transporters. They come pick up the kids, supervise the visit, and then bring them home. Our very first placement I wound up transporting him more than I didn't. His particular agency didn't have enough transporters so his case manager wound up doing it. Well, then on one particular visit she didn't want to drive all the way back to my house, so she kept my 4 month old in her office most of the day (mom was getting 6 hour visits so I thought he was visiting) and had someone who lived close to me bring him home. I hit the roof after that and inconvenienced myself every week by transporting him and then "hanging" around until the visit was over (I lived an hour away from where his visits took place). I don't get a lot of feed back from the transporters but I have been fortunate to have two good case managers currently who fill me in. The only time I come face to face with the bio family is when I show up for a staffing or court hearing. I am always nervous the first time and then after that it isn't too bad.

Missional Family said...

We always had to transport to and from visits, regardless of where the visits were held.

When visits were supervised, they were held at a visitation center, where their workers (most w/ no type of experiences with children welfare issues).

With my (now 6) yr old daughter, she entered care at 11 mos, bio mom flaked after one visit and was not heard from again for 11 months. After showing back up on the scene, there were still several months w/ no visits b/c she never showed up. So our daughter didn't see her bio mom until after she turned 2. Talk about trauma!

There was not a caseworker actually ever see her and bio mom together at a visit until she was about 3.5 years old. Visits were either supervised at the visitation center or home based counselor.

And this is one of the many reasons why this case lasted over 3 1/2 years before adoption!

Cindy said...

We are required to transport to all visits. The visits are usually at a DCFS office and we have to wait in the waiting room with the parents same as you until the worker comes. When we go to pick up the parents usually walk out the same time as we do. It has caused problems in the past because the parents usually follow me to my car and want to put their kids in and then say goodbye again, which is fine with me. The problems is that it sometimes adds an extra half hour onto the visit because they drag it out and sometimes I have to be in a hurry to get somewhere else. I also usually try to make sure I see them drive off first or stop somewhere along the way instead of going straight home to make sure they aren't following me.

With one of our foster boys we had all the visits at his grandparents house supervised by the grandparents. There was never a worker there. I was responsible to setting up 2 visits a week with them and then reporting on how the visits went. This was VERY uncomfortable for me at first!! But over time I got to know the family and the grandparents very well and had a great relationship with them. Even ended up meeting them at a park a few times and taking mom out to lunch once with the kids. They did terminate parental rights in that case and the grandparents fought very hard for us to get to adopt him. However, there were relatives that wanted to adopt and in our state they almost always give the kids to relatives as long as they can pass a background check. They didn't care that he had bonded with us or that the mother and the grandparents were all saying that they wanted us to have him. :(

Carol said...

It is interesting to read everyone's experiences. I almost don't know how to start as our experience has been varied, but has never included a requirement that we meet with bio family and for that we are thankful as we have had some volatile parents. One that was convicted of a violent crime, served her term and got out and had a baby that was conceived in a sex for drugs deal. We had another that ended up not having any visits as her parents were arrested and sentenced to 17 yrs in prison for child abuse to a sibling.

In several cases the parents were to be drug tested on there way to a visit. The case worker is required to monitor that.

We have never been required to transport. Within the last year the state has started requiring 2 visits per week for young children. (surprised that you have not had to go with that at your agency) With that we were asked if we would transport for one of those visits each week.

The one that we have been transporting for once a week is for the mother who was imprisoned for the violent crime and we do have another connection to her. For the safety of our family, we have been meeting the case worker at the employee entrance and the case worker meets us there so there is no chance of the bio seeing us.

Truth is, There are a large portion of foster families where both parents work and kids go to day care. Leaving no one available to transport.

We do have the option of watching visits from an observation room if we would like. We have not done that much.

Carrie said...

In our first placement, I met the sw half way to the office and she took the twins the rest of the way. I never met the bio parents until the 6 month ARU. This time, our agency is transporting to the visit and I pick up. I see bm every week. I was nervous about that at first, but she is very supportive of the girls being happy to see me, etc. We are not required to transport, but they ask if we would be available to help. (They (state not agency) also ask if we would be willing to supervise. That would be a no!)

Mama said...

The visitation agency does the transporting and supervising of visits for our foster son although because bio mom lives out of state they transport her to the town we live in for the visit so we meet at a nuetral location to do the handoff because they do not want her to know where we live. We then meet them back at the neutral location when the visit is over. Usually bio dad and bio mom's visits are back to back so the visitation worker also transports him between the two visits.

Diane said...

As a single working mom, CPS knows they are transporting for visits for my placements. However, I will often try to transport one direction initially to meet the parent(s). Visits are first coordinated and supervised by a case aide. When the case transfers from investigations to ongoing, usually approximately 30-45 days, a parent aide is assigned to handle visits and "train" the parent in parenting skills. The parent aide also reports what happens at the visits and how the parents are progressing. If a case moves toward reunification, I usually insist on transporting at least one direction prior to unsupervised visits to try to develop more rapport with the parent. This also give the child the appearance that I support these visits, whether true or not.

Unknown said...

We transport. I didn't have to when I was just a shelter parent with the Christmas Box House, but now with State foster care, I transport. I take the kids in and wait with the kids and either the case worker or bio parents. They case worker waits with me, because if they are 20 mins. late, no visit. I wait for the case worker so the parent doesn't run off with them. I have had placements that the kids are close to going back to biomom when she is in rehab and I have had to do 2-4 visits a week. I hate that. It is horrible. No case workers, just a drop off and it is more than an hour drive time.

Missional Family said...

I also wanted to mention that there was absolutely no security at the visitation centers where we had visits. We had one instance where the mom was asking suspicious questions about 'taking' the child from the visit. They let the CW and I know, but when I asked what they were going to do about it, they said nothing. If she wanted to take him, they couldn't stop her. All they would do is call the police and give them the description of the vehicle they had on file (whether or not that was the vehicle they left in..how logical is that).

In the end, nothing ever happen, but we were very frustrated that there was never any sense of security. They could have walked in the building with a gun and shot every person there if they wanted.

Mie said...

I am not required to transport because we both work full time. That being said, I do try to transport whenever possible because I too enjoy the opportunity. Well I don't always enjoy it but I appreciate it most of the time. I've built up good working relationships with most bio parents that way and it's been very helpful for me, the kids, and the parents in many cases.

You're right - sometimes that means you end up talking about crazy stuff with them. Usually it revolves around the kids, their extended family or ours, and some of the details of the case. I try to ask them questions about the kids history or maybe about family history that impacts the kids - that way we don't end up talking about some of the more crazy things they bring up.

Andrea said...

We transport by choice. I've met 3 out of 3 bios. The first mom ditched town so I didn't meet her, but I met grandparents. I've grown very close to M's bios. Since we are doing our own visitation and not through DSS it's been really nice to get to know them more and see where they live etc (they don't know where I live)

Teresa said...

Our county contracts with a private transportation company who will pick up our kids and bring them to visits. When we get a new placement, we usually have to drive to the first visit because it takes a week or so to set up the transportation. I've tried to transport as much as possible, and it seems our agency doesn't have a preference as to who gets the kid there as long they get there.

Unknown said...

We are supposed to transport. We get paid mileage. We can request that the social worker transport, but it's not very usual.

Missional Family said...

We never got a cent for mileage! When bio mom was in between apartments (happened often), they would cater to wherever she wanted visits...so I'd have to drive all over the large city, different place nearly ever week to do visits.

Our oldest kids never had visits and while that was hard for them, in the long run, it was one of the best things that ever happened to us! We later had visits with their bio mom when we had their half brother and I'm sure she would have done everything in her power to make it a miserable experience for everyone! (she was the one who hinted to kidnapping her son)

learning to foster said...

We are not required to transport. We have a worker who picks up our little guy and then supervises his visits with bio parents. We have been very fortunate to have had the same transportation worker for the last 9 months and so we have a good relationship with her and we talk freely about how the visits are going. We do pick up our little man from his visit on Wednesdays because the bio parents home is right on our way to going to church. So I do have contact with bio parents every week. I wouldn't say we have a close relationship but it is amiable.

sheldonanddenise said...

Hi! With our big boy, the bio's lived over an hour away so a parent aid would meet us mostly half way and take him to the bio's home 2x per week because the parents weren't married and no longer living together. That was a total of at least 4 hours a week sitting in a car. Neither parent worked or drove, so they would hang out at home waiting for their short visit and then my son would have to get back in the car and drive and drive! We let the workers know this was not in HIS best interest to miss pre-school & naps while the parents had no investment at all. When the parents were required to come to visit him and make the hour+ drive they each only showed up for 1 visit and decided it was too much driving (the parent aid drove ~ they just had to sit there). No more visits and we adopted our son!

We had to drive our other foster children to visits, counseling, etc. even though it meant our other littles had to tag along and wait in the waiting rooms while the counseling session took place (too far to travel back home and no where else to go in the small town).

CandCFamily said...

We only transport to the visits we are invited to. I was kicked out of a visit that transportation had not shown up for that I had transported to. It was a stand-in SW so thankfully I only dealt with her briefly. All the rest have been wonderful. My daycare is really good about making sure they put the kids in the car seat properly.

Plexus Prosperity Pipeline said...

I pick up from visits, and have supervised two visits. (One at their school and one in the hospital)

Truthfully, I like my kids mom. I feel bad for her because the environment she was raised in couldn't be any more dysfunctional, however, I get frustrated with decisions she continues to make...regardless for the girls' sakes I'm glad I get to know her, and I think they like to see us being friendly...plus I've gotten pictures of them together, you know just in case termination every comes around.