Adapted from AOK’s Guidebook, “It Takes a Village“
There are a few things you should make sure to have before the social worker leaves. However, it is not uncommon for the social worker not to have some of this information immediately available, particularly if it is an emergency placement. So, just try to get as much as you can:
- Placement Agreement and/or placement letter. This document will detail the child’s identifying information, and sometimes have the information of previous placements.
- Child’s MassHealth card, or MassHealth number
- Name and contact information of child’s primary care provider
- Any pertinent medical information (including allergies), and medication the child needs
- Names and numbers of child’s social worker and his/her supervisor, and anyone else who’s already on the child’s team (adolescent outreach worker, attorney, etc.)
You should absolutely have a clear understanding of what the next contact with DCF will be. This could be a simple check-in call the next day, a scheduled visit with birth parents, or a plan to pick up the child if it is a very short-term placement. You should ask whether the child has any scheduled medical appointments or therapy sessions they will need to attend, and what the plan is for attending school and transportation to school (if relevant).
In some cases it is useful to obtain permission for the child to call siblings placed in different homes and/or to facilitate a call with their birth parent(s). These contacts can help ease the child’s mind about their family’s well-being. Importantly, you will want to make these requests outside the earshot of the child, so they are not disappointed or angry if they aren’t allowed to make this contact. In many cases, however, the social worker will likely have to follow up on these requests. And you might need to ask again.