I started to write one GIANT post containing a bunch of topics related to the nuts and bolts of a CPS case and what kind of situations we are heading into as foster parents, but I decided to break it up into several smaller posts so I don't have to promise any more imaginary cookies to the folks that read all the way to bottom of said giant post, like I did in this one.
That was a long sentence...
Anyway, here are some of the many, many people involved in a CPS case:
Birth parent(s) - biological parents, presumed perpetrators of the abuse or neglect that triggered the case
Child(ren) - victims of the abuse or neglect that triggered the case
CPS Investigative Team - CPS responders and social workers who conduct the initial investigation, not necessarily the social workers who will then remain on the case for its duration
Kin - grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
Fictive Kin - adults who know the child and are "practically family" yet are not related by blood
Foster Parents - individuals or couples licensed by the state to provide 24 hour care to children in foster care (that's us!)
Judge - county judge who oversees court hearings and finalizes decisions for either reunification or termination of parental rights
Attorney Ad Litem - attorney who represents the child(ren) in the case and makes recommendations to the court according to what is in the best interest of the child, assigned by the state
Attorney for birth parent(s) - attorney who represents the birth parents and their right to parent their children, if appropriate, either assigned by the state or hired privately
State of Texas as Managing Conservator - for the duration of time that a child is in foster care or kinship care, the state acts as Managing Conservator, or legal guardian, for that child
CPS Conservatorship Supervisor - a social worker who takes care of the parents' side of the case, provides them with their "service plan" that they must complete in order to have their kids come home, monitors their progress on their plan, arranges their allowable visits with their child(ren), prohibits visits when the parent is unsuitable for them (i.e. drunk, high...), gives them plenty of fair warnings of the possible consequences if they are not cooperating with their plan
Child's caseworker - a social worker assigned to the child's case, checks up on them at least monthly in the foster home, talks with child and foster parents about how the child is doing, provides information to attorneys and advocates for purposes of court decisions
FAD Worker - Foster and Adoptive Home Development Worker, a social worker who trains, supports and advises foster and adoptive parents
CASA Volunteer - Court Appointed Special Advocate, a trained volunteer who serves as mentor, confidante and friend to a specific child in foster care for the duration of the case and advocates for the best interests of the child
That's a lot of players, amiright? We were assured repeatedly during our training that foster parents are a majorly valued part of the team, which we were glad to hear. We got to meet and hear from some of these players during our training, including an attorney ad litem, a conservatorship supervisor and some veteran foster parents.
One question we were asked during our home study was "How well will you work with the team of people involved in these cases? Some people have issues with different people coming into their home, telling them how to do things, etc." We responded with "Bring it on, we don't really know what we're doing yet, so we'll take all the help we can get!"