In the lovely state of O.hi.o, the child welfare system seems to have an anal cavity fetish. Yes, they really need to climb all the way into your intestines to make sure that you know you are not the parent of the child and you basically have no rights. You, my friends, are a highly overpaid babysitter. If you don’t believe me, here is my proof.
Little Billy is 6 years old. He forgets to tell you on Friday that they have a field trip to the zoo the following Friday. He is 6; this is not a big surprise. On Wednesday, you find the permission slip in his pants pocket before laundry is placed in the washer. It is 8:30 pm, it has to be turned in by 9:00 am Thursday. Crap! Billy is not going to get to go on that field trip unless you can get a hold of the on call caseworker at your agency, who in turn must get in touch with the county caseworker to sign said permission slip.
Yes, you read that right, you may be the foster parent but you cannot give the child permission to go to the zoo. You don’t have the right to make that decision, only a county worker can. Sorry, Billy, everyone in the class gets to go but you. Too bad.
Mike is 15 years old. He decides he doesn’t like your church and he wants to go to a church that is clear across town. You cannot tell him, no, or force him to go to your church. You ARE allowed to let him catch the public transportation at the end of your street to get to that church with no permission, notification or okay by the county. Bye Mike, hope you don’t get mugged or beat when you are in the heart of the city. (We have a HUGE problem with fights and crime at the main hub in our town.)
You and your husband have gone out on a date (first one in months) and you are home really late. You have left Missy at your parents (they have passed the background check and can act as a babysitter). Instead of waking Missy at 12:30 in the morning, you want to leave her there.
Think again. Missy can only stay over night at an approved Respite foster family. Your parents aren’t. OH, and if she is old enough she can have a sleep over at a friend house but she still cannot sleep over at your parents house.
You and your family go on 5 camping trips a summer with various groups or family. When Ann joins your family, she wants to be in Brownies with your biological daughter so she can go camping. You are the assistant so you think, sure, why not? Nope, think again. Ann can’t be in Brownies until the caseworker allows it. The “primary” mother may not want the child to go camping.
Sorry, Ann, you can’t be a Brownie and I have to find Respite care for you while the whole family goes on a trip. You are part of the family but only at home not on trips. (Let’s add that Ann has attachment and abandonment issues. Everyone she loves leaves her. “Well, kid, too bad. You aren’t coming with us because you aren’t good enough,” is what she gets out of that whole scenario. Once again, fun times.)
Now, our agency will do the best they can to help these situation resolve in a positive manner but ultimately, the caseworker has complete say so. If we get a caseworker with their head in their butt, well, that child is not going to have a chance to grow and flourish in our home.
So, our decision is final, only 3 and under and only if there is a 95% chance that the child will be in our permanent custody by the time they are in school. We do not want to be a highly paid babysitter to a school age child.