Your case manager has legal control of the child in your care. As a foster parent, it is very important for you to get along. Whether you like each other or not, cooperation is vital as you plan a future for the child. Here are a few suggestions to help you work together.
When you speak to each other for the first time, try to find something in common. Perhaps there is someone you both know, or you share a hobby. You may live in the same neighborhood or have gone to the same school. A personal connection will help ease the way around later disagreements.
Getting along does not mean silence on your part. In fact, just the opposite. Email or call her regularly, even weekly. If she is not available, leave a brief progress report about your child. Tell in a few words about his or her eating and sleeping, his school performance, her attitude and behavior and any progress or problems.
Regular reporting on your child’s well-being need not require an answer from your case manager. You don’t want to be a nuisance. A regular report simply documents your interest in the child, especially if you wish to adopt.
Don’t be a constant complainer. If you have a problem or a request, get to the point. If you feel some action is required, tell your case manager what you want done and why. Briefly. If she says no, avoid arguments. Remember, she is busy, and she is in charge. Better to cut your losses early and keep the channels open.
Avoid critiquing or blaming your case manager. Do not confront her. That only makes eventual agreement more difficult. For things to work out smoothly, a good simple approach is to try not to begin a sentence with the second person pronoun (YOU.)
Instead, consider beginning your request with an I-message. Use the first-person pronoun. Approach the subject by stating your own position. “I can’t leave my other children and drive him to his weekly visits with her birth mother”….“I think she needs a new therapist”….“We need to find another daycare.” I-messages avoid the negative implication of dictating or judging the other person’s position. Disagreements can be more easily resolved if both parties state at the start what they want or think should happen.
Keep in mind that you both have the same long-term objective: To find the best permanent home for the child in your care. Above all else, the child’s welfare is the most desired and important outcome.