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The Home Study – A Work of Fiction May 29, 2008

Posted by faradhi in Foster Care, General.
Tags: , , , ,

The first thing we learned outside of the PATH Training is to always check the work of of the social workers. They are after all human. As such they will make mistakes or misunderstand something you considered clear. The one thing you would expect them to get right is the Home Study. The thing takes 2 – 3 months here which includes classes, interviews and background checks. After all, these are the gate keepers. These social workers are the ones who should be vetting the prospective foster parents. Accuracy is a must for the protection of the children. Yet even with all the detail, the social worker who did our home study still got it wrong, Very wrong. The number and scope of factual errors in our home study were so great I can only describe it as a work of fiction.

I will not post intimate details of my life on a blog. That would be stupid. However I will give specific examples of the types of errors:

  • The home study stated that I have a sister in Texas that has fosters. Now, none of my sisters a) live in texas or b) foster.
    • She was close, I do actually have a sister.
  • My wife was said to have a minor in Biography.
    • WOW! What college taught that? The A&E college of famous people?
  • The home study stated that we had guns in the home.

    • I do have a staple gun. I am not sure why that is important in a home study but hey I guess this was just to show thoroughness.

This is not an exhaustive list. The point is that she made factual errors, proofreading errors and just plain fabrications. Some of the factual errors directly contradict the autobiographies we wrote. Granted pointing out the grammatical and spelling errors may seem to be nitpicking. After all, I am not one to talk. If you read more than this one post, you will quick discover that I am not an English major. That said, my job does not entail writing reports. When I do need to write a report or proposal, I have others check my work. Given the number of grammatical and spelling errors speaks to the care taken to write the report. Finally there are some blatant fabrications. To give the social worker the benefit of the doubt, we were not the only people for which she was writing a home study. She could have gotten confused. The number of errors suggest that she did not check her work. Neither did her supervisor.

We are now trying to get the state to redo the home study. The State wants to just do an addendum to the existing home study. Of course they do, that is much easier for them. Especially, since we sent them a list of the errors in a Word document. Finally, Mary OfficeWorker will be able to put her mad cut and paste skills to use.

Now understand, we do not disagree with any conclusions. Obviously we were approved for fostering. However, we also want to adopt. Therefore, every time a child comes available for adoption this home study will be reviewed. This is of great concern for us. Our concern is that the adoption committees will look at the home study and disqualify us before looking at the addendum. After all, the committee will be presented with a certain number (5 i think) of prospective adopters and are looking for a reason to accept one over the others.

It was a coincidence that we even discovered the error. We asked for a copy not to check but to distribute to other states or private adoption agencies. When we finally received the home study, several weeks after we asked for a copy, we were stunned. What we take from this experience is to follow up on everything. Double check all the work of the social worker. Follow up on everything.

So here we are, we are currently stuck with a home study that is a work of fiction. To be fair, I am sure the home study was based on true events. Just very few true events from our lives.



1. Leisha Vaughn - June 8, 2008

You mentioned that the home study will be read and will be what either causes you to be chosen by a selection committee or not when trying to meet a child you might adopt. That’s so true… but I’ve got one better for you. You really, REALLY need to make sure that your REACT form was entered into the REACT database correctly for the type of child you want to adopt, and the age range… Tennessee DCS screwed ours up and put in the system that we were only interested in children in the rage of 2 – 3 yrs old. … that went on for over a year without us knowing it. When we asked why we never got any adoption placement queries, our caseworker told us our age range was too narrow, that’s when we found out… so what did we put in our REACT form? Ages 3 – 12…. so be careful there too… Even though we had filled the form out correctly, and it was a mistake on DCS’ part, we had to fill out forms to revise our REACT info, and wait until it got signed off. This wrong information had been in the system for almost the whole first year we fostered.
Our home was closed just months after we got the REACT information lined out. Know why we got our home closed? For communicating with a foster mom online. She used that venue as an opportunity to tell me things she had no right to, and I didn’t want to know or have any rights to know. I turned her in, but I had supplied the vehicle (or you would have it) for her vice… so be very careful about CONFIDENTIALITY, and if you are compromised by a fellow foster parent in a phone call or email… stop it right then and there, end the communication, refuse to hear it, or read it, and do directly to DCS, do not stop at GO. 😉

2. faradhi - June 8, 2008

Yep, Confidentiality is important. That is one of the things that makes this blog so difficult to write.

I will be sure to check with our social worker to be sure the information is correct. Thanks!

3. JUDY - April 24, 2010

Our home study was a Character assassination. They looked for those who would make derogatory remarks and then the social worker added her own negative comments. They talked to people without our consent, people who do not like us who told blatant lies, the social worker added her own lies and didtortions. For this our little girl is sentenced to life in foster care. We are totally repulsed by the agency and the people who took their stabs at us. We aren’t sure which way to go.Lawyers aren’t cheap! We are angry and our hearts are broken!

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