As part of a team of people who are working to reunify a family that has been broken, it’s valuable for you to get involved and be hands-on for the team. It’s true that the majority of your work is very “hands-on” working with your foster child, but getting involved with the team means something different. It may be tempting to look at yourself as somewhat of a pariah or a martyr at times, but the reality is, you are a very crucial part of a team.
When a foster child takes up residency in your home, there are a variety of new appointments that you’ll need to write down on your calendar. If your state has a highly functional foster care system, there will likely be monthly visits by a social worker to your home for each of your foster children. Foster children typically need to get physical examinations as well as dental and optometry exams when they first enter care. More than likely, you’ll be taking your foster children to therapy once or twice a week. The school may have appointments that they need to make with you regarding your foster child’s education and of course, there will “staffings” or team meetings.
Different states may have different words of phrases to describe the gathering of people who are all a part of your foster child’s team. Some agencies or states refer to these as staffings. Some call them team meetings. Whatever they’re called, they are an important facet of your involvement. Typically these meetings are coordinated by social workers who try to come up with a place, date, and time when everyone on the team can meet to discuss a particular child’s case.
This meeting is an important time when you can voice your thoughts and opinions. Social workers typically keep careful notes and documentation from these meetings. When attorneys attend the meetings, you can have the opportunity to discuss your thoughts and opinions with him or her. Therapists may occasionally attend staffings or team meetings as well, giving you the opportunity to get to know this person better. Attending team meetings is your big chance to give input in your child’s case. However, at the same time, it’s important that you try to sync up with the rest of the team members and listen carefully to their perspective on the family. Don’t get confused at team meetings. Everyone is gathered together for the purposes of trying to reunify your foster child with the birth family. Though the people involved are concerned about your foster child, they are mostly going to be focused on your foster child’s biological family and how to put it back together.
Getting involved gives you the chance to provide input and have a voice in your foster child’s case. Make time to attend staffings and meetings to get to know the other people who will be impacting your foster child’s life!