The first visit with the placement social worker went fine. Oddly, she wasn't the person I was thinking that she was. Had very similar "B" names, at least in my less-than-detail-oriented brain. The office at one I thought it was showed up, and continuing the trend, she was fairly young, though maybe a little older than my homestudy social worker.
I thought she might want to double check my safety measures or look more closely around the house, but the visit was mainly focused on going through a placement binder she gave me. It had various sections with details about the placement process and policies, as well as some forms that I will use after placement.
New answers and information I was given included:
- They go to two meetings each month with different county groups. She said one is with the Sacramento region and the other is Bay Area. This was good news, because I thought they just had one meeting a month and alternated.
- She will check in with me once a month going forward, generally during the fourth week, when both meetings have happened. I asked if I could check with her in-between, and she seemed less than thrilled with that idea. I also got a lukewarm response when I asked if she would let me know when she submitted me to be considered for placement. Maybe she's busy and has a certain system for communicating and tracking things. A month seems so long right now, but I guess I'll have to be patient.
- Once I am placed with a child, I will get a new (third) social worker! This worker will meet with me in my home once a week for the first 2 to 3 months of placement, and then every other week until adoption. Right now, I'm thrilled with that idea, but maybe the reality will be different than what I imagine. I'm thinking I will appreciate checking in and getting feedback and advice.
- I was less thrilled to hear that a county worker from the child's home county may also be part of this visit, in order to also check up on the child. I'm sure it will be fine, but that visit feels less supportive and more scrutinizing. Also, there is no schedule to their visits; it sounds like they just come randomly when they can.
- They will redo the home check at the time of placement, then again every three months.
- Each year, I'm required to complete 12 hours of ongoing education. This should include six hours in-person, and six hours maximum of book reading, online education, watching a movie or show like "This is Us," etc. Luckily, I like receiving training, and I'm interested in learning as much as I can. I can see how this may be more challenging once I have a placement and less time, but it still seems reasonable.
- From past experience I know they don't like to conjecture or or even share opinions based on their experience, but she did tell me that the majority of their placements are mixed race, and there are not many children placed of Asian heritage. Most kids of color are Latino and African-American.
- When pressed as to what she might guess my timeline would be for placement, she said maybe six months. I know she would estimate very conservatively, so I was actually OK hearing that, thinking it might be less but that would likely be the maximum.
- A revelation I was shocked to hear was that she had already submitted me for one placement! She said she hadn't heard back so that meant likely I would not be carried forward, but wow! Exciting!
I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on one topic she broached early on, which was whether I would consider emergency placement with a newborn. As you can imagine, I would love to be placed with a newborn, so that sounds really appealing...except that, per my conversation about this with my first social worker, newborns usually have a high-risk of reunification. They have obviously not had time to go through any court hearings so are just starting in the process, likely due to drug or alcohol exposure. She said one of her families is now on their third newborn placement. This would be so incredibly difficult emotionally for me.
The other logistical consideration that comes up is that I will be a single working mom, and will not likely have six or more weeks off, as many people do. Most childcares do not take newborns under six weeks, if they take them at all. So I told her probably not… What would you do if you were me?