Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Can We Say, "Proofread?!?"

When Nice Lady submitted my homestudy for the girls back in June, she copied me on the email.  I was excited because in four years of fostering, I had never actually seen a copy of my completed homestudy.  Curious to see what it said, I sat down and began reading.

OMG!!!  Now I know why it really takes me so long to get placements!  All this time I thought it was because I'm a single, full-time working mom.  Oh no, my friends!  After reading the mess they made of my homestudy, I'm not sure that I would place a child with me!!!  The entire thing was an editor's nightmare (or dream, depending on how much one likes using red pens to make corrections).  I am highly tempted to revise the whole thing myself, turn it back in, and then offer to do the same for the other families at the agency.  Honestly, you would think after taking nearly two months to write it in the first place, she would have at least been able to form a coherent sentence and not repeat herself twenty times.  (Homestudy lady is no longer with my agency, although I doubt that's why.)

If one could completely ignore the horrifically-written mess of my homestudy, I'm not sure they could ignore its content.  I suppose for the most part, if a stranger was reading it, they wouldn't know any better.  I, on the other hand, am left shaking my head and wondering where on earth she came up with some of this stuff!

  • They have me living in a non-existent address.  Not a problem, I suppose...  Until the caseworker tries to come to my house!
  • "Mimi describes herself as stubborn, friendly, helpful, reserved, a good listener, and a good judge of character."  Um, yes.  I did say all of that, but could we perhaps not lead with "stubborn?!?"  As practically the first sentence of the homestudy, I'm thinking saying that "this foster mom says she's stubborn" is probably not going to win over any potential caseworkers.
  • I "appear mentally sound with no issues."  Praise, indeed!  I know that would win me over!
  • "Mimi would take the children to the doctor."  Isn't that a given?  
  • "No family members will be allowed to run around the home nude, as Mimi believes that nudity has a time and a place."  Oh. My. Word.  Thank you for pointing out that I won't be running around my house naked in front of my foster kids.  I'm fairly certain my response to the "nudity" question was that everyone will dress in their own rooms or bathrooms with the doors closed.  I don't recall mentioning running around the home all wild and free... 

After reading so much that had me shaking my head in wonder, I came across the one thing that had me immediately sending an email to Nice Lady and telling her that this must be corrected ASAP.  There on the page that documents all of my safety plans is what they determined was this potential foster mama's idea of a safe evacuation plan for myself and my infants and toddlers in the event of a fire.
"As stated by Mimi, once children are placed in the home, they will be made aware of what they should do should the home catch fire.  She will inform them they are all to run across the street and out of danger of the fire."
Um...  NO!!!  I didn't say anything of the sort!  My kids are infants and toddlers!  I can just see it now, "RUN, Monkey, RUN!!!  RUN your little 17-month-old self across the busy street!!!  At least you'll be safe from the fire."  Ugh!  It's no wonder I can't get a placement based off of my homestudy!  I look like an idiot!  (But not a naked idiot, because I agree not to run around my house nude!)

Fortunately, Nice Lady was just as appalled as I was and assured me that they would update my fire evacuation plan ASAP.  While that doesn't save the rest of the document, at least no one can accuse me of making my toddlers fend for themselves and play in traffic in the event of a fire.


Karen said...

Oh my word. When we were about to be licensed in January, we sat down to go over the homestudy page by page with our licensing worker, then she left for a few minutes to make the corrections we requested, then we signed the revised version before we left. We were not allowed to keep a copy though (they are worried families will scam a free homestudy and use it for a private adoption--I didn't know you could "do" that). I have to say, reading about all the foster bloggers in your specific state has me worried about fostering there, if we ever move back to your state again. Tell me it really isn't that bad!

Anonymous said...

Our homestudy is SO BAD but our state apparently has a policy about not making changes, so instead there's a letter from our first worker on the front page saying, "The portion that implies Thorn started working at a hospital at age 6 was inadvertently pasted from another homestudy with the name changed and the paragraph about how Lee realized she was a lesbian because of her interest in the opposite sex should actually refer to the same sex." And how we spell our names. And there was no point fixing all the typos and grammatical problems, but it made me realize why we waited so long for a match because no decent caseworker would have faith in people who sound so sketchy.

CherubMamma said...

Oh my!! What a mess!!

I think I got to read over our homestudy before we were licensed here in Texas. But I didn't get to keep a copy. (Then again - maybe I didn't read it?! That was over 2 years ago and I've been thru a lot LOL)

I've got copies of both our foster and adoption homestudies from Iowa. They are an interesting read. :)

CIW said...

I am going to have to admit that the running around nude paragraph made me laugh out loud...

*eye roll* case workers.

Anonymous said...

Mine had some minor errors, but I got to read it and then sign that it was correct or not!

I'm just giggling away here, at images of you running around a naked burning house yelling "Run across the street Monkey!"

Mama P said...

I am laughing so hard right now! I love it! I want to go through and read everyone's homestudies...I bet it'd be awesome.

We got a hold of a copy of ours when we were trying to get the boys, and ours made multiple statements about our obesity...I mean, I *am* technically obese, but I hardly think a woman in a size 16 is worth mulling over in parenting terms. Fat girls can chase after kids too!

I swear...just another thing to add to the long list of reasons child protective services in this country are a joke.

SW247 said...

If it makes you feel ANY better, Ive been a fostercare caseworker/supervisor for almost 10years and have never used a homestudy to make the decision to place a child. I usually talk to the licensing worker, who gives me a name or two of FPs who meet my child's basic demographics. Then I call the foster parents myself and talk to them. If its an emergency, I just rely on the basic info the licensing worker gives me. I don't know anyone around here that actually uses homestudies as informational documents. I think its different for adoptions, but in foster care they are so cookie cutter that no one bothers. Just my two cents!

Charlene said...

At least they know that when Monkey runs across the street to get away from the fire, he won't be naked, after all there's a time and place for that :)

I laughed so hard I cried.

Kayla Lee said...

Laughing! I read my home study and thought the same thing who wrote this? and it took 2 months! I wanted to make corrections to thought oh it's not going to matter as long as I am approved. Anyway glad to see SW247 comment my instinct was correct.

Mie said...

I really think this is an issue - I don't know of everyone else but I don't think it's all that common for us to see our homestudies until something like this accidentally falls in our lap, or, like in my case - it was in the adoption file when we adopted Summer.

I couldn't figure out why we were only getting white children - not that I minded it just seemed strange. Well apparently in mine it says our family prefers white children. We never said that and now I feel like everyone looking at it must think we're racist. We're not. We didn't say that, but it's in there - it's like the last sentence so it's what they're left with.

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