Monday, June 02, 2008

Case Plan -- sort of

The agency worker emailed me after talking with the state worker. This is where things stand:

In order to get custody Gary's dad would need to have the divorce finalized, have a job and a home, take parenting classes, and show stability which in her mind means 6 months of living in one place.

For the foreseeable future, she insists that all visits be supervised at the department. He is not to come to our home or call our house phone. He may call Gary on his cell phone. This is apparently not because he is a danger, but that he can be ornery, loud, and irritable when he doesn't get his way and she doesn't want for us to have to listen to it.

The next permanency hearing is at the end of summer, and the most that could happen then would be that the judge would approve a reunification plan. Whether he does would depend upon whether he had actually done anything, which she doubts he will.

I have so many different emotions, it is difficult to sort them out. Relief is certainly one of them, but so is sadness for Gary. No matter what happens he is not going to get to move in with his dad before school starts. He may not get it at all. The agency social worker says that everyone who knows his dad is skeptical that he will carry through on this plan.

Gary may get his heart broken and I get no pleasure from that.

I am also anxious about how his dad will respond to these restrictions. He said before that he would "not accept" supervised visitation. I'm not sure what that means. The state worker thinks that he might refuse to visit Gary under those circumstances and that if he does it would significantly lengthen the reunification process...if it happens at all. Part of me wonders if this isn't over-kill. Do they really think that it isn't safe for Gary to go to lunch with his dad? Do they think he will drive off with him? Really? They can't be too worried about what he might say to Gary, as they see no reason to restrict their cell phone conversations. I don't think there is any reason to be worried that his dad would physically hurt him. I am inclined to think that he is more likely to behave badly if he cannot take his son out to lunch unsupervised, but I don't really know the history of the case. The file I got was about Gary, not about his father.

Knowing that nothing is immanent helps me not to feel anxious for myself, which makes it easier to remember that this is so not about me. It is about Gary. My role is fairly minimal. I just get the privilege of taking care of him for as long as he needs me.

The rest is pretty much out of my hands.


  1. A reminder why foster parenting is a very difficult job. It sounds like a good plan for Gary at least, some stability and some room to grow at your place, and at the same time, letting Gary's dad show what he is willing to do.

  2. I agree with Jo- good plan for Gary- tough for dad- I am sad that things are MORE restrictive than they were before- but I guess they don't know what he will do. I hope Gary takes it okay. Love him well- that is all you can do.

  3. Julie, Things are not more restrictive than they have been. For the past 11 months Gary has been in a group home and his father has only been allowed supervised visits at the home's visiting room. So that is the same.

    It is less in that they now can call each other whenever they like. They don't have to go through a staff person who can say that it is or is not a good time for a call.

  4. Hmmm. To be honest, I'm guessing there's something a lot bigger that has happened or is happening here.

    States and bio-parents typically argue for the least restrictive environemnt (its federally mandated to do so), and that includes unsup'd visitation unless there's substantial reasoning not to.

    Is Dad mentally ill? Perhaps drug addicted/involved? It sounds like there's more too it than what you know, or maybe you do know and just can't share.

    Either way, it sounds like the state is attempting to manipulate the situation to deter Gary's Dad and encourage Gary in the perm placement situation with you guys.

    IMO, sounds good. I still have trouble respecting the man in some senses. Not becasue he had his son removed because of the danger to the younger kids, I commend him for that. I hate that it happened, but that's life. Stepmom & other sibs have the right to a peaceful safe home just like Gary does. Its sad that it couldn't be together, but that's just life.

    I don't respect him because of his "stunt"- jerking Gary around emotionally to salve his own broken ego/bruised conscience. It irks my nerve.

  5. Oh- I thought his visits weren't supervised. :(

  6. I'm going to guess that it is the "ornery, loud, and irritable" part that is keeping the visits supervised. That way, you won't be in the direct line of fire, and neither will Gary. It is a lot easier to hang up the phone when someone's having a fit than walk away (when you're a kid w/o another driver on hand stuck at the zoo or something). Especially if Dad doesn't follow up on his reunification plan and starts to get agitated about it, I think it is good for Gary to have an escape plan during visits.

  7. Maerlowe!

    It's great to see your name. I miss your blog. Good to know you're still around.

  8. Oh, yah, I'm still around. I still read everyone. I just lay low.

    Schillinger Dad is the reason for the silence. In March, Huckle and I were approached by a shaved-head, tatooed man (not like the guys I usually fall for, though, although that used to be my type -- this was the Aryan Nation style, not the hot boys who are balding and so chose to shave it down rather than show the world their hairline going) who obviously knew Huckle before he came to live with us. He got a good look at me and I think he followed me to my car (I tried to lose him, but v. hard to do while carrying a 50 pound boy). Schillinger dad is up for parole right now so the decision could come in any day, and I'm quite paranoid about the possibility of his release, because it is about 100% that he'll come looking for Huck, if his previous statements are any indication.

    But I have a now-activated security system, a police-style launching Taser (no guns in our house), Lexapro, Xanax, and a razorknife taped on top of 7 doorframes (I painted them white so they'd blend in -- so very Martha-goes-wacko) so that I'm never far from a weapon but Huckle can't get to them.

    Some days I think I'm overestimating the threat, then other times I'm asking the cop five doors down if he'd be able to park his police car in front of our house overnight...

    So, yah, that's what's up. I was thinking I'd post about it soon. That stuff, and the whole TX FLDS situation, too. That was bananas.


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