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The Circle Of Trust

When you invite a foster child into your home, you also invite a whole host of other people into your life. Social workers, attorneys, judges, therapists, birth parents, CASA workers, and other pertinent individuals all become part of a circle of trust. This team of people is supposed to work together toward reunifying a child with his or her family. The various people on a child’s team perform different functions and have differing points of view on your foster child’s situation.

There are a lot of stories out there about foster parenting gone awry due to a weak link in the circle of trust. Honestly, these things do happen, but there are plenty of foster parents who have had a lot of positive experiences as part of the foster care team as well. The negative stories can really stick in your head as a foster parent, but don’t dwell on them. If foster parenting was all bad, no one would be willing to do it.

 

It’s important to realize that you’re a part of a team and that as a foster parent, you stand out among the team members because you are almost entirely focused on the foster child while everyone else is looking closely at the birth parents or at least at the birth family and the goal of reunification. Though there are other team members who are concerned about your foster child his or her emotional or mental well-being in some cases (like a CASA worker or the Guardian ad Litem, for example), your focus on your foster child may sometimes seem out of sync with what everyone else’s is thinking. While you’re thinking about the best way to parent your foster child, everyone else is thinking about how to reunify the child with his or her birth parents.

 

The following is a list of people who will probably be a part of your foster care team and the “circle of trust”:

• County Social Workers

• Agency Social Workers

• Adoption Workers

• Attorneys

• Therapists

• A Judge

 

The level of involvement that each of these individuals has on your foster child’s team will vary. Some attorneys and Guardian ad Litem’s are very involved and regularly talk with foster children, others don’t even talk with you or the foster children before standing up in court to provide an opinion on the case. Some caseworkers do an outstanding job calling you back and making their monthly meetings while others are hard to even get ahold of on the phone. Try to roll with the punches and stay grounded in the idea that you are part of a team. No matter what happens, your role is essential as part of the team.

 

Many people who work in child protective services believe that what happens does so for a reason and even if you’re frustrated with people who are in your circle of trust, try to balance out your thoughts by reminding yourself that even negligent behavior on a team member’s part can result in positive outcomes for your foster child. Don’t presume to know it all and put some faith in the system and in other people to do the right thing, even if it seems like the wrong thing to you at the time. Parent your foster child with all your might and trust that this team will guide the process in the direction it needs to go.

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