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  • #5238 Reply

    Think about the below encounter. How would you respond to the child if you were advocating for them and they sent you these text message?:

    The advocate texted Jane to say hi and ask her what she might like for her birthday. The advocate received the following two separate text responses three weeks after the fact:
    > “A mom and dad oh wait that can’t be bought” …”yeah how but some money to cover up the pain. but hmm let me think I’ll just take a amazon card.”

    #5380 Reply
    Fran Waller Robertson

    After the Birthday?
    I hope that the advocate has had some contact in the mean time.

    “how did you spend your birthday? ..you are so correct in the things that can not be bought!
    You know I cannot give you an Amazon card but would love to share stories with you.
    What at Amazon do you think would make you happy or comforted?
    When is a good time for us to talk?”

    #5397 Reply
    Anastasia Warden

    Like Fran, I hope I made some sort of contact with Jane on or near her birthday.

    It’s easy to be flip in a text message and text messages can easily be misinterpreted. This is a pretty serious statement from Jane and, if possible, I’d like to respond to this text via a telephone call if not during the next in person visit. In person (or by phone) I can try to pull out of Jane what she is missing that she thinks a mom and dad would give her – stability? affection? etc…. I’d also like to know what pain she is specifically trying to numb with money – has something new come up or is this general sadness that stems from her situation.

    I also agree wth Fran that I’d like to know if there is anything in particular she would like (to get a better sense of her needs) or whether she would enjoy the freedom of being able to choose for herself – it is my understanding that her birthday wish would be forwarded to the appropriate department within the foster care system to be honored as best as it could be.

    #5400 Reply
    Amy Aynedjian

    Jane is covering up the pain for real!
    I would start by asking what she did on her birthday and did she talk to any family members? I know we can’t do gifts, but I’m hoping we can make sure the resource parents are encouraged to celebrate her birthday in some shape or form. Ask Jane what exactly she would buy with an Amazon card and why she thinks money will help?
    Hoping to squelch the idea that money can buy you love from other people . Since we are not told how old Jane is I’m assuming she’s a teenager and is frustrated living away from her bio family . I would definitely hope not to wait three weeks for this series of texts and would contact the resource parents and the caseworker to see how Jane is doing without giving too Much detail about her texts. I’d also check in with her therapist I’d she is seeing one and encourage frequent visits !
    It sounds like she is going through a time of reflection on how a supportive mom/dad could help her and that would encourage me to work hard for her to find a permanent housing solution
    Where she can feel supported and loved!

    #5403 Reply
    Suzanne Doll

    I don’t think I would wait to hear back from Jane for 3 weeks after her birthday and would try to be in touch with Jane on her birthday or soon after to wish her a Happy Birthday.

    Regarding her texts. Jane sounds like she may be a teenager given her responses. She is clearly angry that she knows she can’t have what she wants and is using sarcasm as a defense mechanism. I would call Jane as soon as receiving these texts and ask her about her birthday in general. I would allow her to tell me how she feels based on the texts she sent to me and listen to her concerns. I would ask questions based on what she says to determine if there are any other issues or concerns that are not being addressed by the resource family or other providers and then advocate for those identified needs to be met. For example, if she discusses feelings of depression/sadness associated with not being with her parents, and she is not in therapy, I would advocate for her to be seen by a therapist.

    #5406 Reply
    Judith McGuinness

    I am personally not a big fan of texting. There are so many things that can be misconstrued, such as tone and context but I have kids and I know I’d never talk to them if we didn’t text. I don’t blame Jane for being flip, she sounds like she is in a lot of pain. Anger is fear turned outward so there is probably more going on than meets the eye. I definitely wouldn’t wait so long to have some communication with Jane. I would try to make a visit as soon as possible if I didn’t hear back in a couple of days. Of course we can’t buy anything for the children but I am assuming someone can if I am asking her what she wants for her birthday. If no one is able to buy her a present, that is an inappropriate question to ask to begin with.

    #5409 Reply
    Alondra Palacios

    As Jane’s advocate I would definitely be concerned if she didn’t reply and would try to communicate with her again. I would try to call her because I do believe text messages can be misinterpreted. If I can’t get Jane to talk to me over the phone, I would then try to set up a visit to effectively communicate with her face to face.

    #5411 Reply
    mindy felixbrod

    It sounds like pain and disappointment, understandably. I would definitely try to talk to her and acknowledge her feelings and offer my service of listening and caring. Being in touch around a birthday is a big deal. If you checked in before, then you should checkin on the birthday and after the birthday to talk about the expectations and reality if she has that need to talk about it. As far as a direct response, I would acknowledge that the situation sucks but I guess I’d try to let her know that the situation is temporarily out of her or her parents control and that everyone is trying their best to give her the best outcome in the long run while they do their work.

    #5412 Reply
    Cathy Skinner

    I’d try my best to have an in person visit! I think explaining things in person or on FaceTime would be more helpful than a text. I would explain compassionately that we are still in the process of working on their situation, and always have their best interests in mind. But, for now, we’d like to get a small token for their birthday to add some light to their day! I’d also reach out to the resource parent to see if they are aware of the child’s birthday.

    #5415 Reply
    Shama Thakkar

    I agree with Fran, and with Anastasia. It’s easy for messages to be lost in translation and to avoid assumptions and ensure security, if not during the next in person visit I would respond to this text via a telephone call. In person (or by phone) I can try to pull out what is missing from Jane that she thinks a parent would provide and what it means to her.  

    #5416 Reply
    Peter Manuel

    I agree with everyone that a meeting should be arranged soon, whether the CASA can be of direct help, as a confidante, or as someone to put her in touch with other services. I might respond to to the text either by calling, or a text like: “You’re right about the Mom and Dad. I want to work with you and the Division to get the best situation we can for you. When can we talk about things? I’d like to talk soon. In the meantime, the amazon card sounds like a good idea.”

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