Warning: This post may make some of my American readers green with jealousy.
Well, I had my official home inspection, and I have to say, it went rather well. ‘Helpful Holly’, as I shall “blog name” (which is to say that her name in the real world is neither Helpful nor Holly) the rather nice community services lady, arrived pretty much on time (only five minutes late), which is a major plus is my books. We started out by discussing the training and any questions that I might have. Now normally the training would take about two or three days to go through, but Helpful Holly, recognising that I have probably covered most of it in my studies (I’m currently half-way through a masters of Social Work), suggested that we do the training one-on-one and get it done one afternoon next week (hooray!). She gave me the manual to go through so I can have read it all before we start to cut down on time (now before you think that this is actually more dodgy than helpful, I still have to have a formal assessment of my learning to make sure that I am at an acceptable level to be a foster carer). We’re booked in for next week to go through the training (at my house, so again I’m not put out at all except for taking an hour off prac) then I will have a formal assessment at the end of the month to make sure that I’ve actually learnt all the stuff in the training.
I then asked a whole bunch of questions that I had including:
– do I need to buy a cot, pram, baby seat ect? Answer: no, we provide all that with each child (and the stuff moves on with each child if they go into kinship care or have to move to another carer).
– can I travel with kids on holidays etc? Answer: yes, you’ll need a signed release from us, but we are happy to do that
– how many kids do you have in care? Answer: believe you me, you will not be waiting around for a placement
– can my friends babysit? Answer: yes that’s fine. You only need police and working with children checks if you have an adult staying in your house for more than four nights.
We talked about a whole bunch of other stuff too. She said that her role is to be a support person to the foster carers, she said that I can ring her if I have any questions about a potential placement, she will answer them fully and make sure that I know the whole story (including things that perhaps caseworkers wouldn’t say). She said always ring her if the child is over 10 (which I’m not planning on taking at the moment), she’ll make sure I’m fully informed about behaviours etc. She explained about reimbursements etc. She also talked about the importance of family contact and explained that initially when a child is first removed when they are working towards reunification visitation can be quite intensive (three times a WEEK is not uncommon) and so that is something I need to be aware of. W talked about the fact that I could sign my friends up to be respite carers just for me if I wanted. She said that most of the kids on their books are on permanent care orders til 18 (this is where our system in Australia is very different to the American one, as we don’t have TPR, and adoption is the exception rather than the rule), not that many are working towards reunification. I’m sure we talked about a whole lot more, but that’s all I remember off the top of my head.
We then took a little tour of my house, she said the inspection was really to look out for hazards, we talked about putting my tv up out of reach or securing it so it can’t be knocked over, seeing if we could turn down my hot water temp (I don’t know if I can), putting some latches on kitchen cabinets, supervising the dog with kids, coping without a bath (I’m going to buy a big ol’ plastic tub) etc. Everything was very conversational, some things she brought up, some things I did. I never had the feel that she was judging, or that she thought anything big really needed changing, we just talked about being sensible to the age child I get and changing things as I go.
Then that was it.
Training next week. I’ll keep you informed 🙂