Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Licensing Saga

Because I'm sure you're all desperately interested in the frustrating ineptness of my agency, and because I don't have anything better to do than blog (ha!), here's an update on why I am still not licensed, 14 months after attending the mandatory and pointless orientation session and 11 months after beginning training.

I had my second home visit more than two weeks ago on Wednesday. On Monday, I emailed my licensing worker to confirm the appointment and asked for her to let me know in advance if there was any additional paperwork that she needed so that I could have it ready for her. Of course, I didn't hear anything from her.

But when she showed up, the first thing she did was to tell me that "there's a new policy" that back-up caregivers need background checks. (Note that I think this requirement makes sense, though it is inconsistently applied, and if it makes sense now, didn't it make sense in September when I provided names?) This of course requires people who don't have the same sense of urgency as I have to take actions that are not part of their day-to-day life. There is a form that needs to be notarized (although the form actually allows signing in front of an agency employee as an alternative, but Licensing Worker doesn't understand that) which means that it can't be returned by fax or by PDF. If Licensing Worker had sent me the forms on Monday, I could have had my back-ups fill them out on Tuesday and get them notarized my back-ups are both co-workers, and we have a notary in the building), and I could have returned them on Wednesday. But no, that would be too easy.

Okay, so setting that aside for a moment. It occurred to me that I have friends who already have background checks. For example, Cutie's Aunt and Uncle who were in my training class. (Cutie was in foster care in another jurisdiction, Aunt and Uncle needed to be licensed in order to adopt her.) And one of my co-workers who works with children in her job. So I checked with both of them and asked if they would be interested/willing to be back-ups. They both said yes, so I emailed Licensing Worker:

Licensing Worker,
Instead of the two people I originally listed as back-up child care providers, I am going to be using:
1. Cutie's Aunt (phone number) -- has [Agency] background check
2. Social Worker Coworker (phone number) -- has [School System] background check

Licensing Worker responded asking me:
When you say that Cutie's Aunt has a [Agency] background check, do you mean a Child Protection Clearance and FBI and Police clearances?

Now, keep in mind that Licensing Worker was one of the trainers. And Cutie's Aunt was in my class. So Licensing Worker should know Cutie's Aunt, even though the other trainer did Aunt and Uncle's home study. So that's WTF? moment number one.

Then, Licensing Worker asked me to get a copy of Cutie's Aunt's background check. It is undoubtedly in a file somewhere in a cubicle near Licensing Worker's. Thankfully, after I reminded Licensing Worker of this fact and suggested that she check with our other trainer, she said she would get it herself.

However, in the meantime, Social Worker Coworker doesn't know where to get a copy of her background check because it is kept in the bowels of another bureaucratic mess, so I've gone to yet another coworker; this one who has a background check to do a weekend respite program. He has sent an email to his contact to get a copy of it for me.

I hope that Licensing Worker isn't waiting for the background checks to be completed before writing her report, but I am hesitant to contact her to check, as I have no desire to antagonize her. She probably IS waiting since that's how things are going. And I definitely am not going to ask if she's followed up with her supervisor about the windows.

So that's where I am. Your children will have all grown before I am licensed. Apparently.

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