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I just realized I didn’t post on Friday.

Oops.

Friday was truly a horrendous day.  We started with a three-hour meeting with our social worker because it was time for our annual assessment as foster parents.  Now that our first year is done, we are no longer “intern” foster parents; we are now practitioners.

I get that an annual assessment needs to be done.  I do.  I think it’s great that they check for safety issues within the home, making sure things like the furnace is working well and that we have a bathtub, sink, and toilet with running water (seriously).

But can we skip the bullshit “self-assessment learning tools?”  Basically, we create another “Ecomap,” identify at least two tangible foster parenting goals, and complete a 14-page quiz with the social worker that helps us relect on where we are with the five competencies as describe by P.R.I.D.E (the program bought from the States that they use to train foster parents in Saskatchewan.  Yup.)

Confused?  Just wait.

The 14-page quiz.  For example, they ask you a question like, “Do you have a clear understanding of what factors contribute to the physical and emotional neglect of a child?”  Then they ask you to rate your understanding on a scale of 0 to 3; 0 being “exceptional” and 3 being “none.”

After that, they ask you, “How important is this to your role as foster parents?”  This question you then rate on a scale of 3 to 0; 3 being “very important” and 0 being “Not at all important.”

WTF?!?  Why do they want me to use to COMPLETELY OPPOSITE RATING SCALES ON EACH QUESTION?

Apparently, we also get to start using a scale of a,b,c,d,e,f,g later on in the quiz, just to fuck things up even more.

So, here I was thinking we were going to bang off this quiz (honestly, the questions are insulting to any person of reasonable intelligence and incredibly repetitive, like they’re trying to catch you in a lie or something), and my social worker kept stopping to talk after each question, and it was driving me nuts.  At the three-hour mark, we decided to book another visit to finish, and then she asked, “Now tell me honestly, what do you think of the assessment tool?”  (Will opened the floodgates a few weeks ago, and now we’re being painfully honest about everything with our social worker).

Honestly?  Well, first, does anyone EVER answer, “No, I don’t think being able to empathize with a neglected/abused child is all that important to my role as a foster parent.”  And second, what is the purpose of this?  How do you use this in our annual assessment?

Her answer was, well, no one has every really said anything like that.  I point out that it’s not exactly designed for honesty.  She says, some people find it very helpful.  I say, perhaps we are more self-aware than most because this is not giving me any new information about myself.  She says, it’s more of a way to lead into discussion on the five competencies and identify areas that you might need to work on.

Ahhhh, that’s why she kept stopping to talk about every question.  The point wasn’t the questions; it was the discussion.

Okay, then I say, if the point is discussion, why the quiz, why the ratings?  Why not just say, we need to discuss the five competencies?  Do you record the ratings in our annual assessment?  Well, no, she says, I don’t use it for that.  So, I say, how exactly does this feed into our annual assessment then?  Her answer – well it could, I guess, but usually it doesn’t.

Then what the bloody hell is the point? (Said much more politely, of course).  I could not get a clear answer from her.  I don’t think she knew why they did the quiz (other than to waste time, fill out a piece of paper, check a certain box).  She could not tell me the purpose of the quiz and the ratings other than “to foster discussion on the five competencies.”

As far as I can tell, it provides her with no new information about us (because it really doesn’t matter what areas we need to work on; we are required to do mandatory training regardless), and she doesn’t do anything with the information gathered.  Everything that goes into our annual assessment comes from other areas.

So that was my Friday morning.

Stay tuned for “Part Two: Friday Evening” tomorrow.

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