Questions to Ask Your Foster Care Caseworker When the Phone Rings

Questions to ask your Foster Care Caseworker

You’ve finished PRIDE training, you’ve passed your home inspection, you’ve bought all the little extra things to welcome your first foster child into your home and now you’re waiting for the call. Use this time to prepare yourself further for the life changing journey you’re about to start. One of the best things you can do is to create a list of questions to ask your foster care caseworker before welcoming your new foster child into your home.

These questions will help ensure you’re able to provide for all of the child’s specific needs, whether it’s transportation to visitations or help administering medication. Asking about your potential foster child’s history allows you to build an understanding of who they are and what you can do to help them transition into your home.

A good match can make all the difference for you and the child. An informed decision is always the best decision for everyone. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from experienced foster parents when CP&P calls with a child for placement:

The Basic Questions to ask your Foster Care Caseworker 

  • What is the child’s name, age, sex and race?
  • What is the child’s religion?
    • Does the child require any religious instruction?
    • If so, where?
    • When?
    • Who is expected to provide transportation?

Health Concerns Questions to ask your Foster Care Caseworker 

  • What known allergies, if any, does the child have?
  • Is the child on any medications?
    • If yes, describe diagnosis and medication.
  • Are there any special dietary concerns?
  • Are there any medical/immunization records?
    • If not, who can the pediatrician contact to get such records?
  • Has the child been issued a Medicaid card?

Educational Questions to ask your Foster Care Caseworker 

  • What do I need to do about the child starting school?
    • Have the records been transferred?
  • Does the child have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in place?
  • Are ther any special arrangements necessary for the child’s education?
  • How will transportation to the school be handled?

Developmental Questions to ask your Foster Care Caseworker 

  • Is the child on schedule developmentally?
    • If not, explain.
  • If the child is older, does he/she have a history of violence, drug or alcohol use?
  • Is the child sexually active?

Emotional/Mental Questions to ask your Foster Care Caseworker 

  • Does the child receive any therapy or counseling?
    • If so, what kind and how often are the sessions?
    • Where do they take place and who is expected to provide transportation?
  • Has the child been sexually and/or physically abused?
    • If so, does the child exhibit behaviors (i.e. acting out) as a result of the abuse?
  • Does the child exhibit any habitual anti-social behaviors (e.g. lying, stealing, harming others)?
  • Has the child been issued a Medicaid card?

Family History Questions to ask your Foster Care Caseworker 

  • Has any initial family visitation schedule been established?
    • If yes:
      • When and where will the visits occur?
      • Who is expected to provide transportation?
  • Does the child have any siblings?
    • Are they also being place out-of-home?
    • Will there be visits with the siblings?
    • How often do they occur and where do they take place?
    • Who will provide transportation?

Involving CP&P

  • Was the child removed through Informed Consent or by court order?
  • What Local Office (LO) is placing the child?
    • Is this the LO I’ll deal with?
  • Who is the Case Manager?
  • How long has the child been in out-of-home placement?
    • How many placements has he/she had?
  • Is the child coming from another out-of-home placement?
    • Why is the child being removed from that home , and may I contact the former resource parents?
  • What is the board rate for this child?
    • If coming from another out-of-home placement, is it the same rate?
    • If no, why?
  • What is the case plan for the child?
  • What is the anticipated length of stay for the child?

While may think asking these questions might make you sound like a picky foster parent, what you are really doing is ensuring that you’re capable of providing the child with the level of care he/she needs to thrive. Never feel guilty for saying no to a placement.

Here is a printable guide to “Questions to Ask Your Foster Care Caseworker When the Phone Rings.”

You can also find a video on questions to ask when the phone rings on our Facebook page.

Author: Craig Dudek, Digital Content Creator

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