Big changes are a comin' in my personal Foster/Adopt Land over the next several weeks. Earlier this month, my agency director (formerly "New Girl," now known about the agency as "The Anal-Retentive Paperwork Nazi") sent out an email that one of our Case Managers had resigned. I immediately went into panic mode praying that it wasn't Nice Lady because we only have two CMs at the agency. Fortunately, it turned out to be our newest CM (who is also super-sweet, but Nice Lady has been the best foster care professional I've ever worked with, so I couldn't lose her!). Thank goodness! I was completely relieved, and all was well with my world until the following Monday morning when Nice Lady came by the house to do my Quarterly Inspection.
I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn't going to be sharing good news, and my fears were confirmed when she told me, "Well, I just put in my notice." The first words out of my mouth were, "So where are we going?"
I feel bad because apparently New Girl and the Agency Owner are fuh-reak-ing out. They are just certain that there will be a mass exodus of foster parents from the agency (and rightfully so). During the hour and a half long visit with Nice Lady, I learned that New Girl has taken it upon herself to require all foster parents to submit yet another required monthly piece of paperwork. I'm all for documentation, but this is out of hand! We are now required to submit:
- Weekly Progress Reports for each child in the home (regardless of age)
- Monthly Recreation Logs for each child in the home (regardless of age)
- Monthly Medication Logs for prescription meds for each child (whether they take them or not)
- Monthly Medication Logs for over the counter meds for each child (whether they take them or not)
- Monthly List of Visitors in the Home Over the Age of 14 along with background check information for anyone over 14 who enters more than one time in the month! (that's the newest little diddy)
- Quarterly Extermination Reports
- Quarterly Carseat Logs listing all carseat/booster seat information
- Quarterly Fire Drill Documentation/Results
And that is just what we are supposed to keep up with on a regular basis! It doesn't include all of the necessary forms for doctor/dentist/therapist appointments or occasional "Incident Reports" for injuries or other problems. But I think the thing that really put me over the edge and solidified my decision to move to the agency that Nice Lady (and I later found out that our Newest CM) is going to was when Nice Lady told me that New Girl still wants me to submit half of this paperwork even though I don't have a placement!
Since finding out that Nice Lady was leaving, I've kept pretty quiet. She was told that she wasn't supposed to announce it (except on a one on one basis if necessary), and they apparently aren't going to announce her departure to the foster parents because of their "everyone will leave us" fear. I talk to Nice Lady quite often, so I know all of the ridiculous behind the scenes stuff that is happening right now, and we are all contemplating our next moves.
I knew from the second that she told me she was leaving that I would be following. I'd even told New Girl and the Agency Owner that very thing about six months ago when they insisted all foster parents complete additional written evaluations of the Case Managers. They have to know what's coming, but New Girl is certainly trying her hardest to bribe me into staying before I put in my transfer request.
I got a late night phone call from her the other night that I completely avoided because I knew what was coming. Yep. Checked the message, and it was for a 4-month-old baby girl... Emergency placement... If I said "yes" she'd be coming that night. I didn't return her call. The thought of having to do all of that paperwork again and being saddled into staying with the agency when I knew I would be miserable just didn't sit well with me. So no baby girl (my dream placement right now!) for Mimi.
I called Nice Lady the next day to tell her what had happened, and she said that New Girl has been going placement crazy trying to get homes filled in order to try to keep everyone there. I did find out that even if I do get a new placement before I transfer, any kiddos in my home will be transferred with me, so that's good to know! If I get another call before my agency finds out that I'm leaving, I'll take it!
In the meantime, I've been in contact with what is going to be my new agency (just got off the phone with the owner about 30 seconds ago actually :-). Nice Lady has worked closely with them in the past and has nothing but good things to say, so that makes me feel better. She's told them all about me too, and they know that I chose them because of her, so it's already written in stone that she will continue to be my Case Manager at the new agency. :-) They'll be coming out to the house on Friday the 2nd... And get this... IN THE EVENING so I don't have to miss work!!! I am in love already.
I'm in the process of filling out all of the initial applications and agency transfer forms. They won't send anything to my current agency until after the 2nd so if I do get a call between now and then, my agency won't have a clue. Sneaky? Maybe. Do I feel bad? Not so much! They're being just as sneaky by not telling me that Nice Lady resigned. Two can play at this game! :-)
So... The massive piles of initial applications and paperwork required to change agencies has begun, but I've been assured that the new agency's "regular" required paperwork is no where near as completely ridiculously overwhelming as my current agency's nightmare. I've got the checklist going of everything that I need to send over there, and busted out the highlighters for my own personal OCD pleasure. Definitely excited for a change! (But not too much of a change because I get to keep Nice Lady (and even Newest CM! :-).
Wish me luck!
*** And if you happen to be in contact with my current agency, mum's the word! You don't know nothin'! ;-) ***