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4 Questions to Ask Your Child's Case Worker Before They Leave

Photo Credit: Cathy Stanley-Erickson/Flirckr
Photo Credit: Cathy Stanley-Erickson/Flirckr

A lot of us have babies and children with case workers. Case workers support foster kids, adoptions, early intervention services, and a number of preventative programs. Unfortunately, the stress level and low wages leads to frequent turnover. In the past year, my two daughters have had seven case workers leave to pursue other jobs, and I’ve learned to ask questions on the quick to help my family with the transition.

Here’s what I ask:

1. Who’s the next best person at the agency to contact in a bind?

With the case worker on his or her way out, it’s a good time to get a candid answer about who would be the most helpful person should an urgent issue come up while the new case worker is getting oriented. It may be their supervisor, or it may be another case worker they hold in high esteem. This is always my first question.

2. Is there any person, place, or thing I should avoid?

I ask this kind of jokingly and kind of not. I always get an answer. I treat the answer seriously.

3. What can I do to better advocate for my child?

Again, now’s the time to get the scoop. I’ve gotten super helpful replies such as “Make sure the new case worker submits the referral at least six months in advance” and “Let the child’s attorney know I’m still happy to testify in court.”

4. May I get a copy of … ?

When I’m comfortable with a case worker, I’m less likely to ask for copies of meeting minutes or documents I’ve signed because I know I can always get them later. When a case worker is on their way out, I make a mad dash for copies of everything.

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