Whenever there is a group of more than 3 people gathered, you can be sure that at least two of them will feel animosity toward each other. It’s normal to feel as though you clash with the people on your foster care team. Try not to let your own personality get the better of you. Your foster child needs you to see through some of the personality conflicts that are bound to happen when you’re working closely with other people. Working as a member of a team means letting go of your own agenda and trying to go with the flow.
You’ll hear a lot of negative stories about social workers, attorneys, judges, and therapists. Foster parents inevitably bash heads with other members of their child’s team. Although it is always wise to listen to foster parents when they talk about problems that they’ve had with team members, take it with a grain of salt and try not to let it color your own impressions of those people. It can be tremendously helpful to get the input from other foster parents about social workers or attorneys so that you can have a heads up as needed, but often, what you hear other foster parents complaining about really has to do with a personality conflict less than an actual conflict about events that transpired.
Reading about each of the members of the Circle of Trust can help you develop a perspective with more depth. Viewing your foster child’s attorney or social worker from through your own lens can give you skewed results. Instead, remember that each member of your child’s team has a job to do and particular point of view that they are supposed to bring to the table. Social workers are not supposed to share the perspective of attorneys or foster parents. And attorneys are not supposed to unconditionally agree with therapists on every issue. Why bother having a team if everyone agrees about what’s best? The foster care team is supposed to include conflicts and arguments. There is supposed to be dialogue. Without conflict, there is no dialogue and your foster child’s situation will not improve. Remember, when there’s discussion happening, there is progress being made. As long as people are talking about your foster child, people care.
Don’t just take the time to get to know the other people on your foster child’s foster care team, take the time to understand their perspective and why they hold the opinions that they do. By understanding the way that your social worker and attorney sees your foster child’s situation, you will be able to have valuable input and communicate more forcefully and more directly in a language that each of them will understand. Talk to your foster child’s social worker, attorney, and therapist in a way that communicates that you understand his or her perspective. The more you try to understand their point of view, the more they will try to understand yours. Get involved and be a part of the team, not an adversary in order to get the best results for your foster child.