The End Of The Road… Or Is It?

Monday night as I was laying in bed (trying very hard to fall asleep), the 11 o’clock news came on. I didn’t pay much attention until I saw the logo of our agency flash on the screen with a voiceover sharing that the agency is closing. Saying that I was stunned doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. I had to blink several times to be sure I was actually awake and not in some horrible nightmare. How could our agency be closing? I immediately grabbed my cell phone and emailed our social worker, quickly followed by an email to our case worker. I felt hurt and betrayed that the first I heard of this life-changing information was on the news. My mind was racing… How could this have happened without warning? What would this mean for Daffy? Who would do the 3-5-7 work? Who would be our social worker? Which agency would we go with? Who would do Donald’s TF-CBT work? How would this impact the decision of the state about Daffy’s permanency? Our agency has always been in our corner and always fought for Daffy’s best internet. I felt very small and very alone.

Within minutes I heard back via email from our social worker sharing that she herself had just learned of the news that day. It was at that moment, that I realized how selfish I had been in my thoughts. How could I be thinking only of how this would effect our family when hundreds of people were now losing their jobs? Our sw did her best to calm my fears assuring me that our license would be transferred to another agency and promising to make her recommendations on our case loud and clear. As tears streamed down my face, we emailed for a little bit longer and then she suggested we meet the next morning. I happily agreed. From the start, our social worker has had a way of being able to calm me and to sooth my fears. She is extremely well educated and experienced. She doesn’t sugar coat things but still has a way of being kind and reassuring. (Note: How quickly I heard from our sw is just one tiny example illustrating her commitment to our case and how she has always been there for us.)

Tuesday morning our sw and the family support specialist from the agency both showed up with coffee and we sat and chatted. It wasn’t like our previous meetings. It was more like 3 old friends chatting (albeit about something sad) and I loved that feeling.  Our sw shared that cases that will wrap up by December will remain with the agency unless there is reason to believe the cases will go into 2013. She is fighting hard to keep our case and get Daffy adopted by the end of the year. This has always been our goal, but now the stakes are even higher.  If the state decides that Daffy can not be adopted without her brother, that would mean moving to a new agency and a new sw… more changes for kids have already had way too many disruptions in their lives. There are still so many variables, so many things that could derail us from our goal, but knowing that things did not change over night was somewhat helpful. During our meeting, the sw and family supoirt specialist were particularly open about their feelings about this case and am really excited that they will be able to be more vocal and honest going forward now that their agency does not need (or want) referrals from the state. This could really be a game changer. It didn’t remove all of the political obstacles in this case, but its definitely a win for us. Ironic, isn’t it? Our agency closing may turn out to be a blessing in disguise? Weird.

There is still a chance we will be transferred or that our sw will get another job and leave the company before the end of December. That scares me, but no matter what happens, we will march on in this fight. I feel like we are LITERALLY fighting for Daffy’s life and I will NOT give up, but it will certainly be easier if our agency is on board to see things through to the end so I am keeping my fingers crossed and saying my prayers!

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  1. I will say a prayer that this is the push needed to get Daisy’s case to adoption.

    This same agency closing will leave almost 100 foster kids without an agency in my state. (I feel safe in assuming we’re talking about the same agency, as it has been heavily publicized and they do work in multiple states.) There is also a statewide hiring freeze at the moment… Which means that if all 100 of these kids get transferred back to the state’s caseload, somehow workers who are already spread too thin will have even more kids to watch over — we will not be hiring additional workers to take these kids on. The decision to close this agency is HUGE, and not in a good way, in a time when social services are already being cut across the board.

    So sorry to hear that your family may be one of those feeling the negative impact. Hoping and praying for the best for you and your kids.

    • I believe we are both talking about the same agency. Each state seems to be making it seem as if it’s a local issue but in fact it affects many states! I am heartbroken. There is simply no good coming from this… foster kids with many moves facing more changes, cases being added to an already overburdened system, hundreds of social workers looking for jobs in the same market with limited positions available, families struggling to do the best for foster kids facing cuts to the resources and trainings they can receive. I am not afraid to admit I am angry with the Annie E Casey foundation. I feel like this is a selfish move on their part at the dictation of their new president with his own agenda. I would challenge him to come meet these children… to look in their eyes and ask what THEY want, how this will effect THEM. If he has any heart at all, this would certainly change his decision.

      • I could not agree more, and we are not even a Casey family. We are licensed directly through our local DHHS office, and have not ever considered moving to an agency… But we care deeply about all kids in “the system”, and this will have such a huge negative impact on so many kids. Both immediately (in terms of moves and new workers and changes in policy), and also in an ongoing way as it adds critical stress to what you have so rightly identified as an overburdened system. 😦

        In the meantime, I will keep hoping that you can tell a story in which the “changes” to Casey may make a very positive difference in the life of one little girl in foster care.

  2. Tom Grinley

     /  July 20, 2012

    On 26 June, the board of the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF)announced that Casey Family Services (CFS) will cease operations as of 31 December. This action will strand 400 children in Casey’s care in seven states. The AECF board has made clear that this decision is not forced by finances. This is a choice by the AECF board.

    The children in CFS’s care are among the most vulnerable among us. They are all different, but they have one thing in common: they have all been failed by adults, often time after time. Now they are being failed by adults again.

    The foster and adoptive parents of Casey children believe we adults – Casey parents, Casey Family Services staff and the Annie E. Casey Foundation – have collectively made a promise to care for the children who receive services from Casey. Having given that promise, we the Casey parents will do everything in our power to keep it, but we believe the Annie E. Casey Foundation has an obligation to keep its promises – both explicit and implicit – to the children it claims to serve.

    We urge the board to revisit its decision to abruptly close Casey Family Services. We request that the Annie E. Casey Foundation keep the promise of care it has made to children who are already in Casey’s care. This is an obligation that will grow smaller every year, as Casey children come of age and move into the world on their own.

    These children have been betrayed and traumatized by adults in the past. It should not happen again. We urge the members of the Annie E. Casey board of directors to revisit its decision to abruptly close Casey Family Services.


  1. Saying Good Bye « Foster Adoption Blog

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