I am tempted to cross a boundary line that I am pretty sure I should not be crossing.
S's case has been sorely mishandled by CPS. Partly this is the natural result of the caseworker turnover we've had as things that should have been done early in the case were not and then the later caseworkers assumed they had been done by a predecessor, resulting in these things never being done at all. Until we finally got a caseworker with some skills in checking up on details.
The result of this is that we are now discovering that, if the first, or second, or even third caseworkers had done their job correctly, S's mother's caseplan would have been complete 3 months ago. Complete. Done. (That's before the last time we went to court, by the way.)
But that's apparently not bad enough by itself.
When I asked the (new, more on-top-of-things, not-the-one-who-screwed-up) county caseworker what the timeline for reunification now looks like, she said we can increase visitation (move to overnights with mom, for example), but we can't actually send her home until we go to court again.
I guess that makes sense. A judge has to look at this mess before they can officially send the child back to mom. When can we go to court?
Not for about 2 more months.
The court schedule for June and July is already set, so the earliest we can go to court to get ordered to reunify is August.
Never mind that it's CPS's fault that the mother's case plan wasn't complete the last time that we were in court -- not BioMom's. Never mind that we're now talking about a total of around 5 extra months of separation between a 3 year old and her mother. Never mind that this timeline means that S will have spent a full year of care -- over a quarter of her life -- and almost half of that time was pretty much completely unnecessary.
The boundary I want to cross? I want to tell BioMom to tell her lawyer to get mad. I want to tell BioMom's lawyer that she should be raising all kinds of heck about this and insisting that CPS arrange a court date As Soon As Possible, not When Next Convenient. (I'm pretty sure I won't actually cross that boundary....because I don't really want to be giving out legal advice....but I really, really want to see somebody get mad and raise a stink about this.)
BioMom is too scared of CPS to get mad. From the beginning, she has been clearly TERRIFIED that they are going to take her child away from her and give that child to me. I have consistently reassured her that my goal in this case is not to adopt her child, but simply to take care of her child until she finishes her case plan. She's done. She's been done. S should be long home by now and dragging things out 2 more months is not going to accomplish a thing, except to further traumatize an already struggling child. I should not be involved in this case anymore.
S struggles with "why is it taking so long?" and I don't know what to tell her. I can't tell her the truth -- because some of the grownups who don't know you (remember, the ones who came out to "see" you once or twice and then disappeared?) messed up and now we all have to wait longer. I won't lie to her. So she gets a lot of "I don't know" (I guess that's actually a lie, now) and "grown-up things
sometimes take a really long time" from me. I'm sure that's very
Foster Care Still Sucks, Cherub Mamma.