Building a Healthy Working Relationship with your Caseworker and Agency
child’s caseworker and your child welfare agency. It is important for the well-being of your foster child that you work alongside the caseworker and the agency, and help to build an effective partnership and strong working relationship with both. With this strong relationship, all of you will have a much better chance of guiding your foster child through the many difficulties and challenges he or she will face, as well as work together to see that the child’s future is as bright and successful as possible. Remember, you are a team, and teamwork is important. Keep in mind, your caseworker and your agency want what is best for your foster child, as well as what is best for you. After all, without foster parents, agencies and caseworkers would not be able to place children into foster homes.
order to be a truly successful foster parent, you will need to work closely with your foster
Caseworkers have a most difficult job, as they work in what is a difficult and stressful environment. While your foster child is your main focus in regards to the child welfare agency, caseworkers have a large amount of children in their caseload. They will see, on a daily basis, children who have been abused and neglected. They will have the responsibility of taking a child out of a home, against the strong wishes, and sometimes hostile conditions, of both child and parent. They will be required to work with the birth parents, instructing them how they can be reunited with their child.
At times, caseworkers will sit in a courtroom, as attorneys and birth parents battle over the custody of a child. The amount of paperwork that corresponds with each caseload can be daunting, as well.
This is a new age in foster care, and it is an age where resources and finances are tight. As government agencies suffering from decreases in government spending, child welfare agencies have suffered immensely. Budgets have been slashed, caseworker positions are not being filled, and are in fact, being cut, and many states have seen the reduction of work days, again due to budgetary reasons. Along with that, the burnout rate for caseworkers is high, and retention of good caseworkers in any agency is challenging. All of this simply means more work with less money and time to do it in. With more and more children coming into foster care each year across the nation, and with the shortage of caseworkers available, those caseworkers who are employed by child welfare agencies are finding themselves with more and more children to look after. Not only do the caseworkers
14 FOSTERING F AMILIES TODA Y I MARCH/APRIL 2015 I WWW .FOSTERINGF AMILIESTODA Y .COM
FOCUS: Building Agency, Caseworker Connections to Help Children
feature BY JOHN DeGARMO, ED.D.
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