I was randomly selected to be audited, which meant that I represent the agency that I’m licensed with, and “the state” shows up at my house to make sure that my agency is doing it right. A very professional lady with an official state car arrived, and prior to her arrival the baby had had a nice long nap and eaten lunch, and I had tidied up and swept and vacuumed the floors. First, she asked me many questions, like “how often does your caseworker visit and how many of those visits are unscheduled?” and “would you recommend this agency to a person interested in fostering and why?” and “have you ever heard of a team meeting and have you ever been invited to them?” etc and so on. (The answers are: “once a month, and once per quarter”, “very much yes because they are so timely and personable”, and “yes I’ve heard of them and no have never been invited”.)
So all was well until the walk-through. I was quizzed on safe sleeping, even though this only applies until an infant reaches one year of age. She was looking for size of rooms, the presence of windows and closet space for each room, and whether or not I had infant safety plugs on the outlets. As most of my outlets are behind furniture or high up out of reach, it took her a while to find one that fit the bill… and no, it did not have a safety plug. DING DING DING. My first offense. Second, because I live on a lake, my doors should be alarmed. Idiot that I am, I brought up that I had the alarm on the front door. Dumb, she might not have even thought of it if I hadn’t mentioned it. She then DING’ed me for not having one on the back door (even though it’s through a porch, and the door to that porch is closed and locked AND has a baby gate across it for when it’s opened). Despite the requirement for alarms, I don’t think I intend to use them. Trust me, I want to prevent drowning more than anyone, I can guarantee it. But I use the locks on the screen doors, and *gasp* my close supervision of her for the most part. I can see how the chime of an opening door could be very useful if someone had several active kids, however.
She wanted to ding me on the fact that my fireplace had no gate, but I showed her that the flue was broken, and told her that we had blocked the chimney to prevent drafts. This appeased her somewhat, but she told me that she may have the fireplace inspected to verify that it is non-working, but if that’s correct then no I don’t have to have a gate. I’d like to state that if my baby liked to try to crawl into the hearth I would definitely block it off somehow.
The two offenses aside, everything seemed good. She seemed mostly very happy with my answers and left by congratulating Jo Jo on finding her forever family. She did not check the smoke alarms, CO2 detector, bathroom, furnace, or medication storage area at all, or even ask about them.
To amuse you, I will now show you what has hung on my wall, above the crib or bassinet in my bedroom, throughout the entire licensing and re-licensing process, and has never once been mentioned. I removed the cheeky, perhaps not appropriate for children decor prior to the arrival of official state inspectors, so bonus points for me! The decorative wooden slabs were gifted to me by a like-minded internet friend, and I always found them very saucy and funny. They occupied this wall space long before a bassinet or crib! See below.
2 thoughts on “foster parent audit: my turn in the hot seat”
When I read your blog, it gives me hope about the state of foster care in this country. I am an avid reader of fosterhood & fosterwee, and I am constantly saddened by how up & down NYC is about everything. Makes me so happy that your state/county seems to do things quickly and efficiently and that you daughter is close to being legally yours!
thanks for demystifying what an audit would look like.