Saturday, July 24, 2010

Social Study Evaluations

I've read some Social Studies by caseworkers that are very scary. Some workers put in all sorts of "gossip" and heresay. Some of the workers are good and some are bad.

For example, if a person is nervous, they might put in that the person is "hiding things" "frightened" or other negatives adjectives that might alarm the judge.

The judges read these social study evaluations carefully.

In one case, maternal grandmother was the primary caregiver of the minor children.  The father's family all reported that the maternal grandmother gambled a lot and was not present to care for the children.  The maternal grandmother's family claimed that grandmother never gambled and that they were all lying.  (It is difficult to prove the negative.)  But since grandmother did not drive it was difficult for her to travel to Louisiaina for her to gramble. 
What should you do to prepare for a social study evaluation?

Make sure that your home is spotless.

Be sure there is food in the refrigerator and pantry

Look good when the worker visits.

Make sure the kid(s) look good.

Offer the worker something to eat and drink

Give the worker a list of friends and family to contact - be sure that these people know that they will be contacted and/or visited and be sure they have a "script" of what they are going to say
You need to include each persons name, address and phone number along with a brief descripton of what they can tell the worker about you and the other party

Have a photo album available to show the worker of you and the child(ren) of happy times (birthdays, holidays, vacations)
It's nice to include photos of the other parent when the family was still together

Be sure you interact with the child(ren) appropriately

Be sure you appropriately discipline the child(ren) in his/her presence if the child(ren) misbehave


Be sure to act lovingly to the child(ren) & touch them -- but don't hold the child(ren) the entire visit

Don't bad mouth the other person (and family) totally -- remember that at one time you chose to be in a relationship with this person and to have child(ren) with this person!

If you have written evidence (recordings, emails, etc.) give a copy to the worker for their records

Everything you say to them can go into their report

Don't make casual remarks ("I could just kill myself" or "sometimes I cry myself to sleep I'm so depressed") because it will be in their report!

The worker is going to ask you a lot about you and your past - be prepared to answer it & be prepared to have a list of references to give to worker to verify what you are telling the worker
Your age
Your family
Your education
Your employment
Your health
Your religious background
Places you have lived
You need to be prepared to discuss your entire life in a few short minutes

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