Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Foster Care: Ages and Stages and being Proactive

Today is Emma's 1 year check and as I thought about it I started thinking about the "ages and stages" forms you get with foster children. Even though we're done with DCFS (well, with Emma's case, I'm no where near being done doing foster care!) I thoughts about my experiences with the ages and stages questionnaire.

You get this form in the mail that asks you questions about what things your foster child can or cannot do. The questions it asks have to do with that age the child is. With Emma we got one for her at 6 and 9 months. The questions would be like, can the child says sounds like....., can the child pass an object from one hand to the other, can the child pull themselves up on furniture and many more questions like that. I always enjoyed filling them out, plus they give you a prepaid, addressed envelope to return it in so it's no cost to you.

Like I've said our experience with Ben, Isaac and Madison have been completely different than with Emma.

Ben: As far as I could tell from filling out his ages and stages he was a little behind, but for the most part he was where he should be. After being in our home for a few months he was caught up. I always filled out his questionnaire, but never heard anything back about it.

Madison (Isaac never got one because he was older): From the day we got her I was told that she was severely delayed in speech. I was also told that she would be in speech therapy, which never happened. When I filled out her ages and stages I could tell she was delayed because to most of the answers she was either never or rarely doing what she should of been at her age. Her vocabulary also consisted of maybe 5 words (she was almost 2). I asked our caseworker several times about her delays and they were never addressed.

Emma: When I took her in for her first check up the doctor told me she was a little advanced and she has stayed fairly advanced. After I would fill out and send in her ages and stages a week or two later someone from Fostering Healthy Children always called me and went over the form, how Emma was doing and if I had any questions or concerns.

Now, that never happened with any of my other foster children! Filling out the ages and stages questionnaire is very import for the state to know how the child is doing developmentally and be able to help or correct any delays ASAP. Now that I have had the experiences I did with Emma I am going to be a lot more proactive for my foster children if I get a case like Madison's again. Being new to foster care and not knowing how things should be I let a lot of things go that now I will not. Emma's case has completely changed my mentality (in a good way) with dealing with DCFS. If I ever get a caseworker who isn't addressing my concerns I will never again just let them go.

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