Friday, July 20, 2012

When to speak up?

I read this wonderful post yesterday, I agree that we as foster parents owe it to ourselves and to our foster children's family to deal respectfully with each other.  Specifically, the golden rule comes to mind for me.  I'm not always perfect in my dealings with Primo's parents but I truly do try my best to be kind and respectful to them.

Another part of this post struck a cord with me, the part that mentioned the occasional need to "tattle" on a family member.  I have to say that I've been struggling with this concept for some time now.

The culture of Primo's case thus far has been very much one of "mind your own business".  I don't think this is a blanket statement that would apply to other cases in my city, but I am not sure as this is my first long term foster care experience.

It has been more than a little difficult.  There are safety issues that I feel reticent to tell the social worker about, but then I feel guilty if I don't.  There is not an atmosphere of openness between Primo's two social workers, one of whom we never see, and the foster mom of Primo's brothers and myself.  In fact I would say that we two foster moms know much more about this case than either of the social workers and it is starting to make everything very awkward.

As I have mentioned before I am a chronic rule follower, therefore my spending lots of time with another foster mom who is not a rule follower at all is making for some tough situations for me to handle.  This coupled with the fact that social workers have often shared with me what I assume to be confidential info about meetings with others,  lead me to feel that I would be exposed if I were to give voice to my concerns.  Possibly making my relationship with Primo's parents very strained. Not sure if this makes sense to any of you, but I don't want to get to specific here.

All advice is welcomed...


  1. I wish I knew what to tell you. Without all the details, it's difficult to give much advice.

    More than anything, I say trust your gut and cover your own hind end.

    In retrospect, I know that if I hadn't said anything about the abuse Pumpkin came home from her visit with, I would not be going through the Hell I'm in right now. But I couldn't have lived with myself not reporting things. I regret nothing that I've done.

    If it's not abuse that you're concerned about but more minor things, then you probably just need to trust your gut. Primo is your primary concern - not his parents. So I don't think I'd factor in how this affects your relationship with them really. Things might become more difficult. That part would stink. But if your concerns are part of advocating for Primo, I'd speak up.

    Hang in there. This fostering stuff is never easy!!

    1. Thanks for the advice, I very much value your opinion. I am not speaking of abuse, but hypothetically about things like safety issues to do with substance abuse, seat belts, appropriate clothing, taking the kids to places on visits that are not approved, being asked to bring kids to visits that are not approved, all this is hypothetical of course.

  2. I know it won't be easy, but if it's Primo's safety that is potentially at risk, I'd speak up. It is a delicate dance though. From my experience, if a social worker THINKS they are all in the loop – they don't like being told things that prove they are disconnected. However, if you've got a decent enough relationship with the SSW over Primo, it's never a bad thing to advocate for the safety of the child in your care.

    Acckk -- I went back and read that paragraph. I'm going to leave it as it stands because that's the reality of foster care. But in "real life" we should be able to advocate for the safety of any child without fear of repercussion.

    I hate this part of being in The System. The things we have to second guess totally suck!

    1. You are exactly right when you write that "the things we have to second guess totally suck!" On days like these there appears to be a complete lack of common sense withing the foster care system.