In my last post, we talked about what exactly a RAS is. This post, I explain what the day of a RAS looks like.
On the day of the RAS, the child’s team will assemble at the CPS office. Agency workers for each family being presented will also assemble there too. Sometimes workers call into the RAS meeting if they are out of region. We attend every RAS in our region in-person to represent our families. The child’s team always consists of at least one CPS worker, one CPS supervisor and an impartial facilitator. Typically, it is the child’s CPS worker and that worker’s supervisor. However, sometimes things come up and a stand-in will be there instead.
If there is a CASA worker assigned to the case, they are almost always present as well. And the child’s ad litem attorney may choose to participate in-person or by phone. They are all important in deciding the right match for the child or sibling group. Sometimes, the current foster parent(s) attends the RAS in-person, while other times they will participate by phone.
RAS meetings usually take exactly two hours, and that is if they get started on time! We always tell you what time the RAS meeting will be. It is very important you are reachable during that time. Many times, something will come up in the RAS which needs clarification, like something in your budget, that we may not be able to answer. Or, we may learn about certain behaviors of the child we want to discuss with you before moving forward with the RAS. So please be available for that time period!
At the beginning of the RAS, the facilitator will ask the CPS worker to talk about the rationale for custody (why CPS took custody) and for the background of the child’s family. Sometimes, they will have a significant amount of information. Other times, there won’t be much, because the parents didn’t “cooperate” enough to provide information. After learning about the family history, we will learn more specific information about the child or children. This is also when the foster parents will share the most up-to-date information they have based on their currently parenting the child. For example, their daily routine, therapy appointments, best ways to discipline the child, their triggers, how they are doing in school, etc. We take notes on this information so we can share this new information with you if you are chosen.
After we hear about the child’s history and how they are doing in the foster home, each agency presents their family to the child’s team. Once we have presented our family, the team has an opportunity to ask us questions about what we shared or what they read in the home study. When all agencies have finished presenting their family, they ask the agency workers to leave the room.
While we are out of the room, the team will discuss the presentations and decide which family is the best match for placement. The team will then call the agency representatives back into the room to tell us which family they selected as the best match for the child. If we are selected, we will exchange contact information and talk about next steps for pre-placement visits, timelines, etc.
When the meeting is concluded, we will call you to tell you if we were selected. If your family was selected, we will share the information we learned in the meeting and discuss next steps with you. Sometimes the next steps take placed quickly, but usually it happens more slowly. There are a lot of approvals that still need to occur, like letting the attorney know which family was selected. Sometimes, they will even need to go to court to get the judge to approve the move before we can start pre-placement visits.
Tune in to my next blog to learn more about the next steps!
About The Author
As the Director of Adoption and Foster Care Services, Arianne Riebel, LMSW, LCPAA, oversees Arms Wide Adoption Services’ team of adoption and foster care employees, making sure each step of the adoption and foster care journey goes smoothly.
While earning her Bachelor’s in Social Work at Stephen F. Austin University, she first considered a career in adoption and gained experience working in the field during her college career. A few years after graduation, she completed her Master of Social Work at the University of Houston. Then, gained a decade of experience in child welfare before becoming a part of the Arms Wide family. Through her role, she wanted to be able to give each child and family one-on-one support and attention. Her favorite part about her job is seeing people become parents or add more children to their family. She loves when kids have found their forever homes. Read more about Arianne here.