One of the things I am realizing with S's case is some of the little ways in which I had it good on L & O's case.
L and O had the same county caseworker throughout the entire 13 months that they lived with me. The agency caseworker went out on maternity leave when they had been with me for about 6 months. (Everybody involved had thought they'd be with family by then and she got put on bedrest, which required her to take leave sooner than planned.) She was replaced by a caseworker who stayed on their case for the remainder of their time with me and who took over their new case when they were returned to care.
That gave L & O some continuity. Some of the "adults in charge" did not change...which ensured that the messages they received about their mother and their time in foster care stayed consistent.
I got frustrated at times with how difficult it was to get a response from the county caseworker, but she was always here for her monthly home visits, always saw the kids' bedrooms and spoke with them (privately at every visit for L, sometimes privately for O especially after he got comfortable with her). I knew that she was overworked and overloaded with cases and (mostly) accepted that my questions would get answered at the next monthly home visit.
S has been with me about 6 months. My agency caseworker has remained constant. I just had a home visit from her county caseworker....who informed me that S will be assigned a new caseworker tomorrow as this caseworker's last day is the end of the month. That will make the 3rd state caseworker S has had in the time she's been in care. And, of course, I don't even know who it is or how to contact him or her.
The first one was pretty good -- she saw S's room at each visit, she worked hard with BioMom to help her understand everything she needed to do and how to get it done, she kept me notified of important dates as soon as she knew about them, she attempted to build a rapport with S. But after a couple of months, she informed me that she was "rolling off the case" and gave me the contact information for her replacement. The replacement was very nice, but not particularly effectual. She never once went anywhere in my house other than the entryway and the kitchen table at which we sat while we talked. She was a new hire by the agency who is already leaving -- I'm thinking she turned out to be not cut out for this job? I am not naive enough to even hope that the case will be given back to the original caseworker.
S's referral for counseling is lost in the wind ... and the person who should be following up is as good as gone, which means I will have to start over with a new caseworker with my evidence of why she needs help even though she isn't on the verge of getting kicked out preschool or burning down my house. Which means it will be even longer before she gets that help. Not to mention the fact that S's mother -- who is doing everything she can to get her daughter back -- is about to be given a 3rd person to whom she has to prove herself.
To steal (with permission!) from Cherub Mamma -- foster care sucks!