I plan to have EVERYTHING in order/in its place for the safety inspection b/c they want to see where the meds are, etc. But for the home visit with the licensing worker.... I'm just having a mental block against scrambling around for this. The visit was supposed to be last week, and she had to postpone to this week. Then she had to postpone again, and then cancelled that meeting and now I'm waiting to hear from her sometime next week as to when we can reschedule.
If we hadn't been through a vaguely similar process with DS's adoption, I'd be freaking out. I did actually freak out during the adoption. And now, if I'd cleaned like a madwoman for this home visit, I'd have cleaned the entire house 3 times for nothing by now. Fortunately, I'm trying to be more laid back about it, but now I'm wondering.... Is it more important for the house to be clean when you're going through CPS/fostering v private adoption? They keep telling us in class that foster parents are held to much higher standards than bios, but that's more in terms of health care, discipline, etc. Does that apply to clean homes, too? Should I be scrubbing away at every corner?
FTR, I'm not the best housekeeper. My house is relatively clean, with the requisite amount of dirt and dust that come with a preschooler and a dog, and a little clutter here and there. So not Martha Stewart, even on a good day!
navywife
LOL I asked our licensing agent how clean she wanted the house. Au natural, good friend coming over, company coming or sterilized as if for surgery. She said good friend. As long as there is no animal feces and she can sit without us having to move piles she's fine with it. OH and no moldy food in the sink/counters. So I'm going to vacuum and do a general pick up. It might differ from agent to agent but she's the only one in this area :)
That's the perfect way to describe it! First time, I went all out. After that, I did the sweeping and general pick up and that's it.
swd
They keep telling us in class that foster parents are held to much higher standards than bios, but that's more in terms of health care, discipline, etc.
I'm friends with 2 sets of foster parents, and when I was getting visits with my kids, I was held to a higher standard. Like if I let junk mail pile up on the computer desk, or had been folding laundry while watching TV and hadn't gotten it all put away, that'd go in the report, but I've seen the same kinds of things at my FP friends' houses. So, day to day, they're pretty relaxed and reasonable- but if they're looking for something to use against you, housekeeping is the most visible thing for easy nitpicking. That shouldn't matter for a home study, but it might come up if/when you're being investigated for abuse.
ann143
She also said she gets disappointed if its "to clean".
LOL...They must HATE coming to my house. I am a neat-nick and can't let my house get messy. I can handle letting toys litter the floor, but mail on the counters, laundry piled up, those are no-nos for me. I grew up with a hoarder and it makes me very uncomfortable to have a mess in my home.
The funny thing is there have been a couple times that things have been a little more messy when a worker has come over, like if I'm sick or when we've gotten a new placement, and they usually ask "is everything OK...do you need anything?" Like they can tell that something's wrong because the house is a little messy!
eomaia
I'm friends with 2 sets of foster parents, and when I was getting visits with my kids, I was held to a higher standard. Like if I let junk mail pile up on the computer desk, or had been folding laundry while watching TV and hadn't gotten it all put away, that'd go in the report, but I've seen the same kinds of things at my FP friends' houses. So, day to day, they're pretty relaxed and reasonable- but if they're looking for something to use against you, housekeeping is the most visible thing for easy nitpicking. That shouldn't matter for a home study, but it might come up if/when you're being investigated for abuse.
See, that's helpful to know. I was talking more about the visit for the home study, but it's good to know caseworkers can do stuff like that if they feel like it.
FTR, I'm not a total slob. I fold the laundry right away and it goes into the laundry basket and gets put away the same day or the next. There are no piles, except of junk mail on the counter which we both hate and are working on avoiding. (And it's not piled up to the ceiling, it's a week's worth....) Sometimes I feel like my house is a total wreck, but of course in the context of the "Hoarders" shows it's fine. But then I realize there's a different standard for us v bios and I wonder where that line is. Do I have to start sweeping EVERY DAY? (I'm working on once a week right now. The floors are DH's job but he thinks once a month is enough, and it just isn't!)
My worker fussed at me for worrying too much over getting the house perfect for her visit. She said she expects "lived in" look. Laundry doesn't bother her. She has hung out for AWHILE most times she's been here, she has seen kids argue, aggravate, fall and get hurt, me multitask... my kids being nosy and trying to be "all up in our business", being needy and having to have my attention during the visit.... she actually LIKED that, she said it allowed her to see how I handle normal everyday parenting.I just make sure I haven't left cleaners or medicines out, and it reminds me to check the battery in my smoke alarm.
I think for the most part, they're reasonable.
In my case, when I was still with my ex, he would refuse to clean, which "using male privelege" is part of the Power/Control wheel. I'm not sure if CPS ever understood how the housekeeping issues were really about the power imbalance, but they reacted by getting really picky about the cleaning, and continued that after he left. Meanwhile, my father has OCD so I'd grown up never being able to get things clean enough to please him, and that taught me to just not even hope to be good enough for someone like him. So, because of our history, they were really nitpicky with me, thinking that if I was RU'd, the house would go back to being a disaster area as soon as they weren't checking up on me. That's one standard.
I have friends who have way worse issues with cleaning, there's some hoarding, but they're kind, loving people and their kids are healthy and happy, so I've helped them clean for several CPS inspections and I'll do it as many more times as I need to. It always goes back to being a total disaster as soon as CPS stops checking on them, but apparently no one cares. They're held to a lower standard than I was.
With foster parents, it seems to be somewhere in between, reasonable- but it's going to vary based on what's going on in your area. If there's a major shortage of foster homes, or if you specifically fill a lack, then they're going to be willing to overlook some minor stuff. Social workers are human, they've got their own personal biases, their own personal soap operas and office politics, so they aren't going to hold everyone to the same standards, even if they consciously try. You're foster parents, so there's not likely to be any reason for bias against you---until you're being investigated. It happens to most foster parents. My ex called CPS to report everyone connected to our case after he left, using false allegations to punish them for being on my side. He's not the first person to think of that, he won't be the last, and when you're being investigated for doing bizarre and horrible things to children, that social worker might be harder on you because when they can't find any evidence you ever had a goat or ninjas in your house, they can go after your housekeeping while waiting for more evidence of what they're really worried about to turn up. Does that make sense?
I've been told that having too clean a house can actually backfire. Kids are messy. And they take a lot of time. I had one social worker tell me that sometimes she sees homes so clean and neat, she can't imagine children living there. And she wonders how the people will cope with children running in the door with dirty shoes and sticky hands, dropping things on the floor, spilling juice and having messy play dates with their friends. She wonders if they'll be angry at the kids for being kids, spend more time cleaning after them than parenting them and prevent them from having fun and having friends over.
Bottom line, I've been told they are looking for a safe home, a comfortable home, but neat and clean is not a home for children, it's a home for adults.
I think youll be suprised what you just do naturally.. I always go into nesting mode before home visits, new placements, inspections.. lol I think it just come natural, just use it as an excuse to get your house cleaned! Don't stress over it!
Do I have to start sweeping EVERY DAY? (I'm working on once a week right now. The floors are DH's job but he thinks once a month is enough, and it just isn't!)
Okay, that one made me laugh. We sweep every day, three times a day, after every meal. With 11 people in the house it's an absolute must. I did NOT sweep that often before kids. Once we had our first baby and that baby began to crawl on the floor? Suddenly it became a requirement. Now, mopping on the other hand, I HATE to do. I would rather attack any spots I see with a scrubby sponge. So actual mopping probably only happens once a month. I've been known to scrub the whole kitchen floor on my hands and knees with a scrubby sponge before my in-laws arrive from out of state. I have no idea why mopping seems worse to me. I also hate vacuuming the stairs. Fortunately, hubby usually volunteers for that one.
We are transferring our license to a new county currently. Last week our new Cert Worker said she'll do the inspection this week. I laughingly asked, "You're not gonna check my closets are you?" She looked at me like I was hiding bodies in the basement and said she'd not only look in my closets, but my drawers, too. Apparently she's the meticulous type. Great. With 9 kids in my house what does she expect? I've been decluttering room by room for the past week now. We keep a very neat house, but kids tend to be junk collectors.
ann143
My first visit was this past Tuesday. I had big plans to "polish" the house. Our son was hurt Monday at school He was in Surgery all that evening. I should have rescheduled the HS but I had to get it over with for my own sanity lol.
I had laundry folded and in baskets from Sunday. A few dirty dishes, mail on the table. Our worker said everything was fine. They like "normal" she said.. She also said she gets disappointed if its "to clean".
I wouldn't worry. Good Luck
Is your son doing ok?
Live.and.Learn
Is your son doing ok?
He is doing well .. thanks for asking.. Staples came out today :)
My county sw drops by without calling...Usually at dinner time..I try to always be picked up it doesnt happen. I focus on dirt dust and germs...The kids rooms get picked up reg but if toys are on the floor I dont worry about that. Last time she came by my niece had stayed over and the girls room was a disaster of blankets toys etc but it was still clean to the sw because it is vacumed dusted etc...Make sense? Usually because it is dinner time there is dishes and food in the kitchen...Lol I always joke with her that she knows I feed em... I had put too much of one dinner on babies plate and there was leftovers she worried that he wasnt eating..It is interesting what they notice..
Scrapsathome
Okay, that one made me laugh. We sweep every day, three times a day, after every meal. With 11 people in the house it's an absolute must. I did NOT sweep that often before kids. Once we had our first baby and that baby began to crawl on the floor? Suddenly it became a requirement..
OT - jumping onto the sweep debate.. DH sweeps three times a day (one of the benefits of having an OCD partner). However, he doesn't move anything. Sure, you don't see a speck of dust in the middle of the room, but the corners are brown and the dust bunnies under the bed are beginning to mate with each other.
I, OTOH, sweep maybe once every couple or three weeks. This is when the corners actually get cleaned and the dust bunnies get purged.
ETA - per the OP. I did clean like mad for my home study. My LW noted how these homestudies show how empty a house is and how she can envision it some day full with kids. clean = empty ;)
After our first home visit our case manager told me our home was too clean. I told her I didn't know a home could be to clean. Case manager said they like to see how people live on day to day bases. For our last 2 visits I made sure I didn't do much cleaning to our home. For anyone going through the home visits I wouldn't go overboard cleaning.
I think a house CAN be too clean. I mean I SOOOO wish I could say my house was TOO clean but that could never happen. I would say our house is lived in. There isn't mold or trash, but I didn't take a tooth brush to the baseboards either. I have also been told they liked to see we didn't fake it when they came over. The marker on the hallway wall (and the blinds, the beadboard in the dining room & the dog), proves we know what we're in for! Our worker says it makes her not worry about us "freaking out" over the kids & the choas & dirt. I did do a little extra cleaning but not too terribly much. I never did. After our son was placed during one of the monthly visits his worker went to see his bedroom & she couldn't see the floor. She laughed & said it looks like it has lots of fun in there! She had 2 boys & says she worries sometimes when she visits a home & nothing is out of order.