Friday, January 24, 2014

Confession

I read a lot of foster care blogs. I love foster care madness even when I hate it, and the other blog Moms are so strong and inspirational. There are trends in these kind of blogs. A while back, many of the other blogs posted really great ideas and examples of  organizing all the paperwork foster care throws at you. They posted pictures of notebooks and 3 ring binders for each child that held all their pertinent information:

Name
Date of Birth
Caseworker/Agency Info
Medical Info
Upcoming appts
Documentation of visits and whatnot

Clean. Efficient. Praised by all the professionals. Exactly what you should be doing.

Remember my post about my amazing paperwork taming skills?

That's because there wasn't one.

This is how I keep my foster care paperwork



It's all there. Every paper I could ever need about any of my kids. All their court papers and medical papers. There are notes about visits and bruises and respite scribbled on the backs of junk mail envelopes. I kid you not- there is a really important note about the baby in there that is written in Sharpie marker on a plastic wrapped maxi pad. It was all I had in my purse when the law guardian called. Could I transfer the info to a piece of paper now? Sure! But why kill a maxi pad for no reason, right?

I am speaking my truth right now, so I want to be perfectly clear. This is not a pile that is waiting to be organized. I don't need any tips for a better system. This is it. This is my plan. 

When I need something, I go through all the piles to look for it. I'm vaguely aware of where everything is, so it never takes too long, and I have yet to lose anything. The pile goes from newest to oldest- until I go through it, then it goes from oldest to newest. It takes up one corner of my bedroom and the top of my dresser. 

In the beginning of foster care, our cases were short and not as medically involved. I bought cute pocket folders for babies 1-5, and they worked really nicely. Those are the folders you see actually in the milk crate- not stacked on top. As Baby 4 stayed longer, and had more surgeries, one folder wasn't enough. I bought another folder, but what goes in each? Do I carry them both around? So I did the logical thing- threw my whole system out the window and figured if the beast doesn't take over an unacceptable amount of space, I'll just let him be.

Sure, I could put away the stuff from kids that have been gone for 4 years. It's just that I like to come across those pages when I'm looking for our current permanency hearing report. I like to 

I am in no way advocating the pile all your important documents up in true fire hazzard style organizational system. Have binders and folders and notebooks should the mood strike you, but don't feel alone if sometimes you control the papers and other times the papers control you.






33 comments:

  1. OMG! I LOVE THIS!!! (Says one of those organizational binder freak girls :-) Totally sharing this post!

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    1. You should take the time please and view my blog and read the truth about foster care? MY blog talks the real truth about foster care

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  2. Hi. I'm Jess and this post so totally makes me want to be your BFF. Now I have to go read through the rest of your blog. ;) Thank for sharing!

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  3. I think we have ALL been there. Including the grabbing whatever you can to take an important note with a sharpie moment. As a matter of fact I just did that, but I used crayon...
    B
    http://is617everlastingjoy.blogspot.com/

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  4. Love your style! :) And love reading your blog. Foster care is so close my heart!!

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  5. I have been meaning to do this, I have everything I need to get it organized just need to sit down and do it . Thanks for the reminder haha.
    http://lavidalui.blogspot.com/

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  6. Hi I'm your newest follower :) My husband and I live in NY and are just starting to take the steps to become foster parents. I'm worried that because we have 4 kids of our own that they won't even think about accepting us. Do you know of other big families that do foster care?

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    1. In my county, we wouldn't blink an eye at a family with 4 kids. I think that's an across the board thing, but don't quote me. Let me introduce you to a couple big family foster blogs:

      http://stareifyoumust.blogspot.com/
      http://nomoremoves.blogspot.com/
      http://mwickersham.blogspot.com/
      http://carlaburlando.blogspot.com/

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    2. Thanks for getting back to me.
      I really enjoy your blog and all the information and just day to day life you share. Even though we have 4 kids I'm a stay at home (homeschooling) mom. I feel like we would be a good fit for foster care but are info meeting isn't even until next week :) I'll be reading more blogs while I wait.

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    3. http://is617everlastingjoy.blogspot.com

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    4. We currently have 5 kiddos 4-14. 3 tummy, I adoption, 1 foster.

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  7. Please dont support foster care. You have NO idea what your supporting.

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  8. Hello. My name is Jesse Larabee born in Timmins, Ontario and trafficked in Sudbury. I am a former foster child and was trafficked in Sudbury and Timmins CAS.
    In the year 2007, I was contacted by a so called child advocate called Ms. Dianna Cooke at the Child Advocates Office in downtown Toronto. Its hard for me to call these weirdos child advocates when they are getting paid to do it and when they are supporting CA$. When you support CAS, your supporting child trafficking. Most of these social workers who work for CA$ are stupid wanna be heros. Do you want to be a real hero? Please stop supporting CAS and help the kids speak out against CAS abuse and do it for FREE. I help people for free. Why cant you?
    Ms. Cooke worked for this agency:
    http://provincialadvocate.on.ca/
    I was living in Timmins, Ontario. I recieved no support from my uncles or grandparent during this time in my life.
    Ms. Cooke contacted me and told me that CBC NEWS wanted to interview former foster children who had dealing with the youth criminal justice system and the CAS group homes in Ontario.
    I told Ms. Cooke that most kids in the youth criminal justice system come from CAS group homes.
    I agreed to do the interview. I was worried about my safety at the time because I know that CAS is corrupt.
    As a result, I asked that CBC NEWS the name DAVE instead of using my birth name.
    CBC NEWS interviewed me and another kid from Toronto, Ontario.
    CBC NEWS agreed to accepted my request and used the name DAVE in the interview.
    Margo Kelly from CBC NEWS interviewed me over the telephone.
    In 2007, I did a move back to Sudbury from Timmins and worked for a restaurant and saved up money and in the same year moved to Toronto.
    Margo Kelly gave me a thank you card after the interview aired and gave me a CD with a copy of the interview on it. She also gave me cash.
    CBC NEWS reporter Margo Kelly
    I was told that I was making a big difference.
    I wanted to believe that I was making positive changes for kids in CAS "care".
    Ms. Cooke told me that after the interview was aired all day parents and families and children and youth were calling the agency and reporting their own stories of abuse.
    The year is now 2014 and things are getting worse when it comes to CAS in Ontario.
    It just came to my attention a few years ago, that Ontario is the only province in Canada now allowing its Ombudsman to investigate CAS. Did you know that? I just found out after aging out of the system in the year 2006.
    I also read on the news last week that there is a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT in Ontario against the government for crown wards. Will the CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT create change for kids in CAS Ontario? I hope so.
    Please listen to part 3 of the interview. You will hear me reporting abuse to CBC NEWS.
    VIEW YOUTUBE VIDEOS HERE:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/survivorsofgrouphome/videos

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    1. Jesse. I believe your story and I am heartbroken that you and the other CAS children had to suffer. That is wrong and you should win your lawsuit.

      Please note, though, that my foster care experience takes place in a totally different country/system than yours did. It is a large leap to assume that the corruption in Ontario is the same as New York. I also foster in my home with a family model as opposed to a group home with a staff model. I believe that makes a big difference.

      Not all foster care is what you experienced. There are children who truly do not have a safe place to live and no relatives that can care for them. Where would they go if foster parents were not available? To group homes which, by your own experience as well as mine, are not appropriate for at risk kids.

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    2. There is a need for a foster care system. A very strong reason. But what happens to those who end up in the foster care system is far worse then what our parents did or could have ever done. I am about getting the system fixed for the kids.

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    3. Hello again,

      Are you aware that the system takes kids from good none abusive family members and gives them to strangers?

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  9. Who am I? My name is Jesse Larabee and I am a former crown ward of the foster care system. The foster care system is corrupt. That IS why we crown wards are now suing the government CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT

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  10. You should take the time please and view my blog and read the truth about foster care?

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  11. My name is Jesse Larabee and I am a former crown ward of the foster care system in Ontario. The system is so corrupt that they wont even willingly give us our file. We are now suing them CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!

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  12. Hello owner of this blog,

    When that child turns 18 years old and wants to sue his abusers, are you going to willingly give the file?

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    1. Hello Jesse,

      When my child wants to know anything about their life, I will share everything I have. As a foster parent, I do not have access to any "file". He is welcome to sift through the piles of papers pictured in this post, though.

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  13. "I love foster care madness even when I hate it" you said.


    WTF!

    What does that mean?

    What do you hate about foster care?


    As a former foster child, I will tell you that I hated being child trafficked.

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    1. I believe the madness I was referring to in that quote is the balancing kids coming in and out, maintaining relationships with biological fmailies, visits, doctors, therapy, surgeries, early intervention, caseworkers and lawyers coming in and out, etc. It is difficult to be a foster parent.

      Again, I am sorry you were the victim of terrible people who used foster care to hurt you. However, that was not me. My kids have different stories than yours. I live every single minute of my life for these kids. They are not abused in my home. They are not being trafficked. Every child we have had has contact with their biological family, and most have been reunited with that family. I can not speak for all foster care, but I know this is true for the 9 children who have lived with me.

      You know what my kids hate? They hate being born addicted to drugs. They hate shaking and screaming through 6 weeks of withdrawals after birth. They hate being held in scalding hot water. They hate being left with a babysitter and never getting picked up. They hate watching their Mother get beaten by their Father, and then having their Mother refuse the safe housing that was offered to her.

      Yelling at me multiple times in a row in these comments is not going to fix the wrongs you experienced, won't fix the system, and it doesn't help my kids.

      I don't even foster in your country.

      I pray blessings for you, and I hope you win your lawsuit. No child deserves what you went through. Unfortunately, I am not the person to be yelling at about it.

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  14. We do need more postive stories. I am trying my best to change the system and thats why I have joined the class action lawsuit. I hate and hated all the things you said your kids hate. I do not mean to appear to be yelling at you. I just get so angry when I think about foster care people abusing their powers. I wish there was no need for the class action lawsuit I am a member of in Ontario. Also, I used to feel like a victim but in reality I am a survivor not a victim. I hope your telling the truth when you talk about your kids. Please believe me that I am coming from a good god place. I too hope I win the lawsuit. I hope it creates change for the better. I also hope it helps me pay for my mental health medical bills. So how long have you been a foster parent? Many foster parents I chat with agree that the system is broken and needs to be fixed. I got my ideas on how the fix the system for the families. Do you got any ideas?

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  15. I would like to actually educate myself more about the child protection system we have in your area. I DO KNOW that in Ontario the system is very corrupt. That is why we now have a class action lawsuit. Also, did you know in Ontario there is NO oversight of the foster care system? I am about fixing the system for the kids. Do you support that?

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  16. Did you also know that Ontario is the only province in Canada not allowing it’s Ombudsman to investigate systemic issues that arise with Ontario’s Municipalities, Universities, School Boards, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care Facilities, Police, and Children’s Aid Societies or “MUSH” sector??? Who is protecting the kids from some of those nasty group home workers and foster parents?

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  17. What do you as a foster parent think should happen if foster parents get money from the government and donations and instead of using it on the kids, they use it on themselves? I see CAS breaking the law and fraud.

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  18. I am sorry but I find your blog interesting. I also find this posting about files interesting. I dont know how it is where you are but here in Ontario when a child ages out of foster care, they have a very hard time getting copies of their file. Kids in Ontario are asking the government for a copy of their files, and the government is refusing to give a free copy of the file, The foster care system is then forcing families to hire lawyers to file lawsuits and get the files through court orders. We asked for a copy of our files and they refused. Now we get a court order and see if CAS decided to follow the laws or break them.

    What are your feelings on files and transparency?



    It has been suggested that the failure to make records available to former crown wards i of the foster care system is motivated by a fear on the part of the foster care system that access to the records will result in law suits and criminal charges being brought against the agencies for failure to protect the rights of the child.


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  19. Found you through BlogLovin search. I, too, write about foster care! Nice to read a bit about your story tonight :)
    XO/Kelly @ Our Cone Zone

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  20. I am so right there with you. Our paperwork is a hot mess. Always.

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