If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.  -Leo Tolstoy

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re dealing with an imperfect system?    Serving in foster care requires learning to handle business even when situations are unprofessional.   Many parents complain about caseworkers.   Sometimes it’s difficult to contact a caseworker.  Or maybe a case worker seems unconcerned about the child in your care.

We tend expect the same customer service experience from foster care as they expect from a business.   But state foster agencies are underfunded, understaffed agencies dealing with crisis.   They are not a corporation with a customer service department  to ensure foster parents have a pleasant experience.   

I’m not suggesting that government agencies not be accountable or aim to excel.  We certainly have to spur one another on to do better be it through legislation or policy change.

I am suggesting foster parents manage their expectations and be flexible.   The  local social services department isn’t Burger King.   So don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting your way, right away.

After getting to know many caseworkers I’ve learned that most of them are doing their very best in extremely difficult situations.   They have limited funding, excessive caseloads and exposure to intense trauma. Caseworkers do their jobs because they care about kids and families.  So, no matter how tough it might be, remember we are all on the same team: imperfections and all.

Talk with your caseworker to find the best way to contact them.  Email? Phone call? Text?

Ask them who they would like you to call if you cannot get a hold of them.

Always be quick to say something positive and encouraging.  As the old proverb says, “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

  • We never get too old to follow the golden rule.  Think of one time you treated someone in a way you’re not proud of.  What could you have done differently?
  • How can you make the golden rule your guide on the foster care journey?

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