The greatest fear of a foster parent is allegations or threats. This can come in many forms. Some are small and inconsequential. For example, one time a bio-parent lodged a complaint that the child had cat hair on them. I have three cats. Yeah, it’s going to happen. Some are more severe. For example, a friend of mine was accused of breaking a child’s nose. These allegations can have an impact on not only your license, but your life.
The one with the broken nose is something that was completely untrue. The child got a bloody nose from running into another child. The child was only three so the septum was not developed. And it is pretty hard to break something, that doesn’t have bones in it. Not to mention the three witnesses to the incident and the fact that the bio-parents wouldn’t even have known about it if the foster parent had not told them.
Thankfully in this case, the testimony of the witnesses and the children involved saved the foster parents from the allegations being taken seriously. However, that is not always the case. Had the children not been old enough to talk to the officers, or had there not been any witnesses that case could have gone in entirely different direction.
The biggest thing is to DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Email your caseworker immediately when something happens. Take a trip to urgent care and get all injuries documented by the doctors. Being proactive in these situations can mean the difference between losing your license or not.
Threats are another fear of foster parents. I have had children threaten to make allegations and I have had parents threaten to “have me taken care of”. Take all threats seriously. Report them immediately. Children who make threats of allegations should never be alone with one parent and the threat should be documented so that if an allegation is forthcoming it is not taken seriously. Bio-parents who threaten harm should be immediately reported to the police. Even if nothing comes of it, it is on file that a threat has been made. If the threats continue, harassment charges can be filed.
Again, documentation and reporting will be the key factors in protecting yourself and your license.