I was able to imagine a lot of situations that would lead to failure by the foster parents to follow up on medical concerns, lack of records sharing, and information getting mixed up in general. What I didn’t imagine was how insurmountable of a struggle it can be to get permission from the government to get consent to follow doctors’ orders. The one extra step of getting a consent form signed can become a full-time job.
I already have to take my foster daughters to the pediatrician to document every scratch, bruise, and cough. Yet when the doctor actually requests a test, everyone drags their feet to consent?
I didn’t know what advocacy was until now. In an effort to get recent consent, I called the child’s attorney, asked my foster daughter’s doctor to call the foster agency, asked another doctor to call the foster agency, and asked a third doctor treating my daughter to call — all to advocate and question why there is a hold-up. As time passed, I also called the foster agency medical director, a second foster agency nurse, my foster daughter’s early intervention providers, and a few other people on her team. I think we’re getting somewhere — at least her case worker says so — but it’s soooo much work. I’ve gotten nothing done at my actual job the past two days.
What would have happened if I was overwhelmed and didn’t have the time or energy to advocate with such intensity? What if I had more than one daughter needing medical testing? If I had taken on as many foster children as the agency wanted, I see how easily medical needs could fall through the cracks.
Other posts from Rebecca this month include: