One of the biggest challenges for parents affected by child welfare involvement is planning. When you are in crisis, your mind can’t focus on planning. That can make it even harder to keep track of the many mandates, appointments, visits and court dates that come with foster care.
Here are some suggestions from parents about how to make the service planning process more manageable.
- Ask as many questions as it takes to understand the status of your case and what your service plan is. It’s your family’s future and you have the right to ask questions of all parties involved in the case. If you are still confused, you can suggest a conference to talk things over.
- Get a calendar and write down all appointments, reviewing your calendar before you commit to anything. Call your caseworker regularly to make sure you’re not forgetting anything and that you have the right information.
- Write out transportation and other expenses for your week so you can ask for assistance if needed.
- Write down all of the positive things and progress you’ve made throughout your case and bring them to the attention of your lawyer, caseworker and the judge.
- Accept help and services if you know your family needs it, and be proactive about addressing safety concerns. Ask for trauma-focused family therapy if your family has been through trauma. Take a parenting class of your choice. You might learn some helpful parenting tips.
- If you feel like your caseworker isn’t helping you find the services you need, try to find parents who have succeeded in reunifying their families and nd out what they did. You can also ask your caseworker, “Are there any parent support groups around?”
- Talk to your lawyer about your needs or things you don’t understand.