Change of PlansNovember 27, 2012
Actually Nia did NOT have a visit today. About 4:15, 45 minutes after the visit/counseling session should have started, I got a call from Nia’s mom asking if I knew where she was. I knew it was the mom’s caseworker’s turn to do transport but she didn’t answer when I called her number. I eventually got through to the front desk, where I was on hold for 10 minutes before they accidentally hung up on me. When I called back, the front desk was closed and I couldn’t get through to anyone. Awesome.
Meanwhile, I’d sent Lee an email asking her to drive over and check whether Nia was at the after-school program and left a message for the head of the after-school program to see if Nia was there. I checked back in with Nia’s mom to let her know I didn’t know yet what was going on, only to find once I was on my way over there that she had been asked to leave the counseling center once Nia was an hour late.
The after-school program director called back to confirm Nia was there just before I called the family caseworker again and started to leave her a message, at which point she picked up the phone to tell me she’d completely forgotten about doing transport but that now that she looked at her calendar she wouldn’t be able to do her next scheduled transport either. Nia’s mom is supposed to call her in the morning and the worker knows she’ll be angry. I was in the car at this point and by the time I got to the counseling center Nia’s mom had already left and so I had to just call her and let her know what had happened.
So basically I spent 45 minutes not knowing where Nia was or whether she was okay, and that time was even longer for her mom. Most of that time was spent on the phone with various people, just like last week when Nia’s mom couldn’t get a ride and called me to cancel, which meant making sure our worker who was picking Nia up knew to bring her back to the house and then our worker had to call Nia’s mom because just hearing it from me isn’t good enough and we had to let the counseling know what was up…. The state is doing transport because this is a time when I have to be at work and Lee needs to be getting Mara from school, which means spending 30-45 minutes on the phone the way we have the last three weeks (in the first of which Nia’s mom was half an hour late, which would normally have meant they had to cancel except it took the driver so long to figure out what was going on and whether to take Nia home that her mom showed up and they did the visit) is really not how I need to be spending my time.
So in case anyone wondered whether foster care is frustrating, of course it is. Nia sobbed when Lee told her she wouldn’t be seeing her mom, but now she’s mostly cheerfully playing the Wii and we’ll take her out for a special dinner at the neighborhood restaurant she likes to keep her mind off her disappointment. It was frustrating to have her mom cancel the visit last week, but it was extremely upsetting to know she was forgotten by the person who’s in charge of her case. (As Nia’s mom pointed out, if this worker is the one who insisted they do the visits at the counselng center, shouldn’t ahe care about getting Nia there?) Again, I feel lucky that I’ve tried hard to let Nia’s mom know that we respect and support her as much as we can, because she absolutely didn’t lash out at me or take her frustration out on me. I’m the one who had to deal with the afteremath for Nia and her mom and our worker is going to complain to the other caseworker’s supervisor that this is not my job, but of course I do it anyway.