I always had a list of questions in my mind that I needed to ask whenever the placement worker would call me. Unfortunately, my mind often wanders away at critical times. It’s so easy to forget the important questions when you are so excited to get A call- any call- for a child! It’s too easy to accept a placement and then find out later that this child has issues that you weren’t told about. I know in my particular county, and many others, the placement workers won’t offer a lot of details unless you specifically ask for them.
My solution was to create a list of questions that I wanted to ask the worker before accepting the placement. I typed it up and printed it out. Then I laminated it with contact paper, punched 3 holes in the side and stuck it in the front of our family planning binder. I tied one end of a string around a dry erase marker and the other end to a ring in the binder. If your house in anything like mine, those markers go missing at the most inopportune times! This way when the placement call came in, I could just grab the binder and write down the answers to my questions right on that laminated paper. It was so much easier than trying to scramble for a piece of paper and pen to take notes, then trying to figure out where you put that piece of paper an hour later!
I had one list of general questions that applied to every placement call. Then I had two separate lists that depended on the situation- one for children just coming into custody, and one for children being moved from another foster home. There are very specific and important questions unique to each situation that can make or break a placement.
General list for all placement calls:
1-Age, name, sex of child & birthdate if available?
2-Are there siblings placed separately?
3-Is the child in school, daycare, preschool? If so, where?
4-Does the child have any special medical needs? If so, what are they?
5-Does the child take medications or receive therapies? If so, what are they?
6-Does the child have behavior problems? If so, what?
7-Does the child have any known allergies? If so, what?
8-Does the child already receive WIC?
9-Is there a history of sexual or physical abuse?
Questions for children just coming into custody:
1-Reason for removal?
2-Has child been in foster care before?
3-Has child had physical in last 30 days?
4-Are the parents considered a threat?
5-Who is the investigator?
Questions to ask for child moving from another foster home:
1-Why is child being moved?
2-How long has child been in custody?
3-What is the case plan goal at this time- reunification, TPR, Kinship, etc?
4-What is the time frame to accomplish that goal?
5-Who is the case worker?
6-Who is the GAL?
7-Is child having visits? If so, how often and for how long?
8-Can I speak to the former foster parents?
9-Has the child already had a DEC evaluation (developmental screening required by law in our state for all foster children under age 8)?
Those were the most pertinent questions for me to get answered when deciding whether or not to accept a placement.