Gotta love those "CPS Minimum Standards!" (Ours happens to be a 355-page manual that foster parents are expected to know inside and out even though it changes at least once a year.) And then you have your agency requirements that make absolutely NO sense and leave you dazed and confused and thinking, "Seriously? You seriously expect me to do that?" Things like: "A clean towel and handsoap must be readily-available for children's use in the restroom." Immediately followed by, "Handsoap must be stored out of reach of children." HUH?!?
With so many rules and regulations, it can all be very overwhelming for newer parents in Foster/Adopt Land. Fortunately, most parents soon learn to recognize what I refer to as the "CPS Levels of Naughtiness." This refers to the level of severity of the rule that has been broken. Because it doesn't matter how good you are or how hard you try... You will break rules. Mostly due to the fact that CPS has oh-so-ingeniously created conflicting rules and regulations just to cover their own butts (hence the "locked-away handsoap that should be readily-accesssible to children" rule).
"The CPS Levels of Naughtiness"
1) "A Rule Simply Because We Think it Looks Good on Paper, but We Really Don't Care if You Follow It or Not" - These include, but are not limited to:
- The locked away handsoap that is readily-accessible to children (Not once in three years has anyone mentioned this rule to me outside of asking me to read that section in the Minimum Standards during a quarterly visit).
- The "do not use foil" rule (again, only read about in quarterly visits).
- For me, this has been medication storage and what counts as "locks," as well as how many locks are required for what types of medications. CPS Minimum Standards state that "all medications should be locked, with topical and ingestible medications stored separately. Psychotropic medications should be double locked." I know this because I have taken that stinking Medication class every. freaking. year. since I began fostering. It's one of those required annual refresher courses that make seasoned foster parents want to poke out their own eyeballs with hot sticks. My agency, on the other hand, likes to shake things up every quarter by making up their own rules. "All medication should be locked." "All medication should be double locked." "Psychotropic meds should be triple locked." "Psychotropic meds should be double locked." "Cabinet locks do count as a lock." "Cabinet locks do not count as a lock." "Topicals and ingestibles need to be stored in separate compartments of the locked medicine box." "Topicals and ingestibles need to be store in separate locked medical boxes." Yeah... You can see why there is no hope and that foster parents will inevitably get a "You've Been Naughty" letter no matter what they do. It used to bother me. Now, I just smile and nod and follow CPS Minimum Standards and play dumb when it comes to my agency. ;-)
- The use of Johnny Jump-Ups - I can think of things that are waaaaayyyy worse than letting a baby jump away in a toy that babies have successfully enjoyed for decades, but Heaven-forbid you even mention Johnny Jump-Ups in a CPS workers presence! You will be the recipient of the "side-eye" for certain.