It’s no secret that the parents of foster children are oftentimes in some sort of facility. It could be prison, rehab, a shelter, or a psychiatric hospital. Whatever the facility, the means to get in contact with the outside world is almost always the same: a shared pay phone.
While the rest of us communicate almost 24/7 via our personal cell phones, email addresses, or social media outlets, foster kids’ parents are oftentimes at a disadvantage when it comes to returning calls to their multiple case workers and keeping updated on their children. Have you ever had to share a pay phone with a few dozen other people in crisis? It’s a nightmare. These days, as I’ve posted this month (here and here), foster parents are encouraged to form a relationship with their foster kids’ parents which oftentimes translates into trying to reach your foster child’s mom or dad on such a pay phone. Like I did last night. Here’s a sample:
Call 1: no answer.
Call 2: “Hello?” Hi, can I talk to Snap’s mom? “Hello?” Hi, can I talk to Snap’s mom? “Who?” Snap’s mom, she’s the pregnant one. “Click”.
Call 3: “Hello?” Hi, I’m hoping to talk to Snap’s mom, she’s a girl there who’s really pregnant. “Oh, okay. -click-”
Call 4: no answer.
Call 5: [someone picks up but it's only static] Hello, hello? Hello. [static] Hello? Can you hear me? I’m hoping to talk to Snap’s mom. [4 minutes of static and then I hung-up].
Call 6: “Hello?” Hi! It’s you again! Listen, I’m hoping to talk to Snap’s mom… “Hello? Hold on” [1 minute later disconnected]
Call 7: “Hello?” Hi, I’m trying to get a hold of Snap’s mom. “Sure, hold on a minute. This phone really sucks.” Oh, cool, thanks so much! [3 minutes later, phone disconnects]
Call 8: Repeat above.
Call 9: Repeat above.
Call 10: no answer.
Call 11: “Hello?” Hi, is this Snap’s mom? “No, hold on, I’ll get her -click-”.
Call 12: “Hello?” Hi, I’m trying to get a hold of Snap’s mom. She’s the pregnant one. “Oh yeah, I know her, I think she’s in the TV room. Hold on. [..a long while… click]
To read the rest of the post on my blog, click here. So my #1 tip? Keep calling. Find out if the phone number you have is a staff desk or shared pay phone. If it’s the latter, don’t rely on leaving a message and don’t assume you have the wrong number the first dozen times you try to get through. Try and try again!
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