I’ve been wanting to write this for 2 weeks, but I keep wavering back and forth on whether or not I should. Would writing about it do any good? Or am I just venting? If I am just venting, it’s my blog so that’s ok anyway, right? I finally decided I just want to get it out. People should know. I know they say that if you complain about a problem that you should try to be part of the solution. I don’t know HOW to be part of the solution just yet, but I’m thinking about it.
Some of you that are my friends on Facebook know this already, so bear with me.
2 weeks ago the CPS caseworker came to my house to pick up Little Bear and transport him to his new foster home. She arrived in her car with nothing more than a forward facing booster seat.
First of all, the law in Texas says that children should NOT be turned forward facing until they are 1 year old AND 20 lbs. BOTH….not one or the other. Second, booster seats are made for children that are 40+ lbs and 4 years old or more.
But it gets worse.
When I kindly pointed out that “He still needs to be rear facing”, she replied “At HIS age??”. Like I was telling her to put a 12 year old in a car seat.
Ummm, yes at his age. His age is 9 months old today (he turned 9 months old the day she picked him up).
That should have been the end of it once she realized her error. But she just couldn’t stand the thought of being wrong so she argued with me.
CPS: “He’s 20 lbs isn’t he?”
Me: “Yes he is barely 20 lbs, but he’s not 1 year old yet”
CPS: “So he IS 20 lbs then, that’s good enough”
Me: “No, he has to be 20 lbs AND 1 year old to face forward”
CPS: “I’m sure he only has to be 20 lbs”
At this point, I’m prepared to call the cops if she takes him from me. After all, we are told in foster parent training that if we see a child not properly restrained that we are supposed to call and report that. Unfortunately, CPS is who we are supposed to report it to.
I go back in my house and wait for her to figure out what to do. She calls her supervisor and is yelling about me on the phone saying “I’m not going to keep arguing with her about this car seat!”.
I told her if she couldn’t get a car seat that I was willing to drive him anywhere she needed him to go.
She again tried to convince me that she could just take him in that seat.
I finally went inside, got my laptop and pulled up the LAW on the CPS website and took it out to show her. I told her it was on her own website that the law clearly states “NEVER turn forward-facing before 1 year old AND 20-22 pounds”.
Her response? Ready?
She says, “So it DOES say 20 lbs!”.
Are you kidding me??
See the word AND? In all CAPS? And BOLD? It’s there for a reason.
I went back inside again. I closed the door.
After several minutes, she came to tell me that a co-worker was going to meet her and switch car seats with her. She was trying to convince me that she could put this BABY in this car seat because she wasn’t going very far and would switch car seats. I didn’t trust that any further than I could throw her, so I told her I would keep him there with me while she went to change car seats and she could come back and get him whenever she was ready.
These are the people that are supposed to keep the kids safe?? They remove kids from dangerous situations and then show such blatant disregard for their personal safety.
My venting isn’t over. I know, you were hopeful! Just one more story.
In the midst of the car seat issue – before and after – we were dealing with this:
I had TONS of stuff packed up for him to take with him to his new foster home. Packages of diapers, containers of wipes, several grocery bags of baby food & formula. A huge box of clothes, another bag of too-big clothes. A large storage container of toys, a bathtub, a stroller, a pack n play, etc.
She didn’t want to take it. She kept saying “He probably doesn’t need this”. “The new foster parents probably have all this”.
Not because she really believed those things, but because she didn’t want to carry it out and put it in her car.
Now, let me tell you something. I’ve had 5 other foster kids brought into my home and every one of them came in with nothing more than the pajamas they were wearing. I was not about to send this child without HIS stuff. These were HIS belongings. And trust me, the new foster parents would be THRILLED to get his stuff!!! Things he was used to, clothes that fit, diapers that were paid for – why wouldn’t they want it?
But she didn’t want to bother putting it in her car. Lazy woman. She kept saying things like “I don’t think that will fit”, and “Are you sure he needs all that?”.
So, with a crying baby on my hip the ENTIRE time (because I assume he could feel the stress and wouldn’t let me put him down), I (and my 6 year old daughter) carried every box, every bag out to her car and loaded it in the car for her. The CPS worker carried out 2 bags – the diaper bag and one small grocery bag. Then tried to convince me it wouldn’t all fit in her car.
Oh, to give credit, she did put the stroller in her trunk. Because I could fold it up with one hand, but I couldn’t swing it up into her trunk with one hand without damaging her car, so I had to stand there with her staring at me and I said “You’ll have to pick that up, I can’t do it while holding him”.
So, so irritating!
I know there must be caseworkers out there that care. There just must, must, must be!! I have to believe that. I know they are OVERworked and UNDERpaid and UNDERappreciated. But, these are also CHILDREN we are dealing with. They need care, love, nurturing.
Every time I have a run-in like this, I want to just walk away from foster parenting just so I don’t have to deal with CPS and issues like this. But I can’t. I can’t walk away from the children.
So I will continue.