Well we finally got out first placement! YAYA!! They are brothers and two very sweet boys, older than we had hoped but figured we had to start somewhere. However when the arrangement was made, it was made that we would pick up the boys from their aunt at a mututal location. I never thought twise about having the family maybe ask questions that they shouldnt have or implying that there were "certain weekly or monthly arrangements" that the boys do with their bio family they would like to keep up. These arrangments were never told to us about these and there for I dont know if its okayed by the foster agency. I know your not suppose to "sabatage" (spell check) any ties with the family and so on and i get that, but can the bio family just have access to our numbers and call and ask to take the boys? Easter for example, I plan every year to have easter at our house with my husbands brother and his family, i went out ahead of time and bought stuff for a easter egg hunt for my nephew and then found out we were getting these boys, and went and did the same for them. I was excited to tell the boys and when i did, they blurted out well we wont be here, we will be with our grandma. >jaws drops< Im thinking hold on a second I run the show here, well my husband and I, and no you cant just go with your grandma whenever you want or call your aunt everyever you want. Can they? I guess with this being our first foster placement all of a sudden all these red flags are going up in my head, here i thought we were prepared for this and now all of sudden i feel like im flying blind. And to top it all off, their case worker is on spring vacation with her family and out of the office until the 9th! CONVENIENT! So i was just looking for a few words of wisdom (and i know you parents have it in you) with this issue of how much involvment does or can the bio family have?
Is another case worker available at the office?
This isn't my advise, this is just what a social worker recommended to us that we never disclose private information such as phone numbers or house addresses to the families unless told otherwise... And also because we don't know who the families know and the possible children placed in your home in the future. Thats probably a good place to start, I don't really know the complete situation so this may not apply to yours.. I highly recommend not making any major moves without your case worker or one of his or her co-workers giving clearance first..
All of this can vary so much (state to state, agency to agency, specific case to case)...but when i fostered...all of the visits were predetermined, and they were supervised at the agency. I suppose its possible if you had a good rapport with family members (not bio parents) and wanted to meet outside of those parameters you could...i dunno...but really they wanted everything by the book.
With my agency the foster parent had a lot of say in when these visits took place, they really took into account our schedule. Children generally did not spend holidays with bio family, although they may get a visit near the holiday or an extra visit or something. But in your situation, no, the boys would not be going to family on easter.
You will find if there is involved bio family esp if they had been caring for the children, you will need to set pretty clear boundaries and this may or may not upset them. Hopefully you have the support/backup of your agency/worker.
A good way to deflect things so that you dont seem to be "the bad guy" is to constantly just refer them to the agency "oh, yknow, i really need to run that by the worker...you know how it is, i'd hate to do anything that would break the rules!" Or you could say "i'd be happy to let the boys call you on Saturday so you can wish them a happy easter!" or something like that. Generally i did not speak to bparents outside of the visits. Bmom did have my cell number but i would usually let her leave a vm, listen, and figure out how i'd respond before calling her back. She didnt often call though.
QueenJane, thats an excellent idea, i love it! Today our social worker finally contacted me and of course, i missed the message but I did leave a message back for her to call me. I have followed you often through other posts and always think you have really good ideas and you are extremely wise. I want to thank you for your feed back its always helpful to have great feedback from everyone.