In the year and a half that I've been fostering, I have had monthly home visits from:
- My agency's Family Specialist
- The children's Caseworkers
- Each child's CASA
- My agency's Director
- The children's attorneys
- A CPS Investigator (investigating a prior foster home of one of the kids)
- A Rep from Licensing
- ECI workers
- Multiple Case Aids providing transportation
- Fire Department for the annual inspection (I don't mind that one so much ;-)
Depending on who's coming over and what they are coming for, I might vamp up the cleaning and preparations a bit (ex. quarterly inspections, licensing, etc.), but for the regular monthly visits, therapy sessions, etc., I really don't worry too much. People live here. I have small kids. It's not going to be spotless.
To be honest, I discovered that my home is a freaking palace compared to another foster home that I've been in recently. I walked into the "formal" living room, tripped over some crumbling brick and a pile of 2x4s that they were using to build a "bedroom" and nearly fell into one of three piles of dog poo that had collected on the pee-stained carpet! (And I'm not exaggerating) There were wires everywhere and rigged up lighting that had to be turned on from another room, and walls that only went up about 3/4 of the way to the ceiling in the 8x8 (and that's being generous) "bedroom" that two of the kids were going to be sleeping in that night. I was mortified! Especially considering there were toddlers who were going to be running around that house! So if that situation was considered okay with CPS, I think a few dirty dishes in the sink and a bottle shampoo sitting on the back corner of the bathtub is going to be just fine.
Mimi's advice for the week...
Remember that lots of people will be coming to your house, but you don't have to panic every time they do. They expect it to look like someone lives there. Just don't have any obvious safety hazards or glaringly obvious CPS violations. And it doesn't hurt to make it smell good. I usually have my Scentsy going. :-) If the house smells good, you're golden! ;-)
What about the rest of you? Do you panic when people come to your house? Have you been written up for crazy things like using foil or having dish soap on your kitchen counter? Have I just been insanely lucky with my caseworkers' lack of concern over the trivial things, or is it normal for them not to be overly concerned about the "everyday living" stuff?