Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Licensing Visits

So, I had my "introduction to foster care" meeting in July, I submitted my application, and then things were at a standstill for a little while. One of the things they'd asked us to do after the intro meeting was to look up the foster care training classes and pick a start date. Because of some fall scheduling issues, I really wanted to start over the summer. But the agency didn't get back to me quick enough. I tried not to be frustrated. Even if they are despereate need of foster parents, they still have things higher on their priority list. I know how it goes. So instead, I started my trainings in August.

But first, I met with my licensing worker - nothing has been more surreal than having a social worker come to MY HOUSE and ask me the questions I ask people all the time. SURREAL I tell you.

She is wonderful though - I think I'll call her Tara for blogging purposes. She is always late and her visits last FOREVER because she is chatty. I thought is was just me, but I met another foster parent she works with and she says their visits last forever too. So much my for ego!

The lateness doesn't bother me, in fact I expect it. I know foster parents complain about the timeliness (or lack there of) in child welfare. But the reality is, the job is crazy and time is just not on our side most days. So, I just know to plan on waiting a bit on home visit days.

One of the most important things I've tried to keep in mind during this whole process is figuring out how I will balance my role as a social worker and my role as a foster parent. I know how I do things and I know how I think things should be done. But I'm neither the social worker nor the supervisor in this situation. So, I'm trying very hard to reserve my judgements and my bossypants. I might really need to use them one day. So, I'm holding out for something really important.

Back to home visits.

I know that I always tell foster parents not to stress out about the cleanliness of your home. I always say we don't really care what your house looks like during home visits.

And that is all true.

Didn't stop me from cleaning my house like a madwoman before my first visit.

Or pacing around looking at everything one more time before Tara got there.

Or being super nervous for the first 30 minutes or so.

But overall, the first visit was really good. I've never been a licensing worker, so while I know the basics of how licesing works, I don't know the exact process. Plus, every agency is a little different so I was interested in hearing about how it would all work.

After going through some paperwork and her explaining the steps of licensure, we got started on my home study. This was by far the weirdest experience of the process! I've asked other people these types of questions, I've been on the other side of such "social history" interviews. But it was completely different on this end!

But luckily, Tara is very good at making it seem more like a conversation and less like an interview. So, two hours later we had talked a lot about my motivations for becoming a foster parent and a little about my life story. Overall, it was relatively painless. But we also were only about a third of the way through the questions!

Tara told me the second of my approximately three homestudy vists would take place about halfway through my licensing training. I was scheduled to start trainings a couple weeks later and I was bummed to find out that I'd have to wait. In my head I just wanted to rush through the process and get licensed the day after training ended! But she explained that I'd have one visit during training, then another within a month of completing training, then it would take about 2-3 weeks to finish writing and editing my homestudy. It would then take about a month for my license to be issued once everything was submitted to the state. So, that put me at hoping for an official licensure date of early November.

As she left, Tara asked me to think long and hard about what type of children I would be open to so we could discuss it at my next visit. I promised her I would, even though I thought I already knew the answer to that question.

Turns out they make this a process for a reason...

(To be continued!)

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