Home visits are done by caseworkers from our private agency. We usually have one home visit per month. Once per quarter, the caseworker is required to do an unscheduled home visit. Different caseworkers have handled this differently. Some have asked me my schedule for the next week, so they can semi-plan a time they're coming by. Some have outright told me that they'll be coming by, which is probably not okay by agency policy. Some have given me warning it's coming up the next month, but have fully surprised me with the visit.
But what do home visits usually involve? For fostering young kids, we usually go over some of this list though not all every time:
- upcoming appointments for the child
- services needed for the child, like infant mental health programs or developmental programs
- our family needs, like permission for travel
- discussion of how parents are doing with their plans (can be specific or quite vague, sometimes not brought up)
- questions and discussions about the child's behavior
- discussion of sibling visits
- discussion of upcoming transitions
- seeing the child's room
- talking to the child by him or herself (only with Cricket, because she has been the only child verbal enough to do so)
Caseworkers have a very difficult job, and I am very patient with home visits not being a completely convenient and ideal part of my fostering life. I only got a "bad vibe" from one caseworker so far, and while others have made mistakes, I accept that that caseworkers and home visits will not be perfect. Most of the issues we've had are not monumental. One rushed the visits. One rescheduled too often. One showed bias against the parents that made me uncomfortable. I will say that we have had one caseworker that was a rockstar for home visits, and I'll tell you why:
- She scheduled the visits well ahead of time. One did need rescheduled, but she was flexible in rescheduling and did not wait until the end of the month, which leads me to:
- She avoided scheduling visits for the end of the month, which would cause problems if rescheduling was needed, pressuring me to say yes to home visit times that were not ideal.
- She arrived on time.
- She asked more than once if there was anything we needed from her.
- She took time to ask how things were going, how members of our family were adjusting, etc.
- She took time to make sure she knew enough about how the child was doing emotionally to know if more services were needed or not.
What are your best and worst home visits?