Managing Your Resources & Case Planning
The most important thing to remember is that with the amount of information to keep track of in a CPS case, you must write everything down! You know by now how complicated a CPS case is, it is imperative that everything is written down.
The goal is to prove to your CPS worker that you are a responsible, organized adult who is able to manage your case and the many responsibilities that come with it. By keeping track of, and showing up, to your appointments, as well as visiting your children you can help show the court and CPS how hard you are working to protect your child.
A helpful tip is to keep a log system of contacts, phone calls, and a visitation checklist. Every time you call your caseworker or someone else related to your case, even if you end up leaving a message or someone calls you, write down the person’s phone number, the date, the name of the person calling, and what was discussed. If you tried calling but the person was not there, write down what you said in the voicemail message. It is helpful to keep all of your logs in one sturdy folder, that you can bring with you to court or to the CPS office. You can also use this folder to hold important letters, business cards, and completion certificates.
In general, have a list written down in an accessible place where you will not lose it, the name, email, phone number, address, and job title of everyone involved in your case. Also, every time you have a court hearing and CPS meeting, write it down and log the events of the meeting as well as the date. This will help you remember where you are in the case after months of hearings and other court proceedings.
Another helpful tip is to create a visitation checklist. Use this checklist to help you get ready EACH time you have a visit with your child. Fill in a line in the log with the description of what happened at each visit. For example, if your child seemed sad write down that they were sad and why so you can help remedy the situation if it comes up again. You should also write down if you were ever late to a visit, and why it happened, or if the visit was cut short what happened. If you take a bus, remember you can always ask your CPS worker for help on figuring out bus schedules or where you can go for services or to visit with your child.
Finally, create a “to-do list.” This list can be based on your service plan, but it should also include additional things that you feel you need to do. For example, a reminder about getting a ride to court next week, a reminder to apply for help with housing, a reminder to buy a birthday present or new winter coat for your child, etc. This a great system for keeping track of things that might otherwise be forgotten in the business of everyday life.
Remember that if you are ever having a disagreement about what you need to do (or have done), pull out the logs and show it to the person you are talking to!
As always, do not underestimate the importance of a support system. Identify the people in your life who could help support you, and write them down in the log. A support system could include anyone from your family members, friends, religious leaders, caseworkers, teachers, or employers. All we recommend is that you pick someone for your support system who is a person that you can trust to reach out to in times of need.