How much praise is too much?
January 11, 2013 8:45 AM Subscribe
Our thirteen-month-old foster daughter's social worker is fantastic. She regularly goes above and beyond what's required for our kid's case. In the ten months we've worked with her, I've regularly thanked her for all she does to make our lives as foster parents and our foster daughter's life better, and twice I've called to tell her supervisor how great she is. Is it overkill to keep calling her boss to report that she's awesome? How can I best thank her for her service to our foster daughter?
posted by SeedStitch to work & money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A few brief examples of how great the worker is:
- She gives us as much information about the baby's case as she can, tells us why she can't share specific information (confidentiality, usually), and gives updates about the biological parents and the progress being made. She lets me talk through different scenarios based on changing information in the case (like "So if the baby's mom completes X, it's likely the judge will agree to Y at the next hearing?"). This is our first placement and there are a few things that make the case less straightforward than many, so it's very helpful to be able to have her insight on how things MIGHT go, even though all of the decisions are up to the choices made by the biological parents and the judge.
- She still personally supervises our kid's visits with her dad, since the baby is familiar with the worker and uncomfortable with the generic "visitation supervisory workers" who almost always take over supervising visits a few months into a placement.
- She backed me up (and got her supervisor to do the same) against a medical professional when the baby repeatedly contracted a contagious skin condition at visits with her biological family (and then repeatedly passed it on to us), and got her supervisor to postpone visits until they met conditions set by a different doctor (the head of dermatology at a local hospital, actually).
- She is in very frequent contact with me. This started when things got crazy the FOURTH time the baby contracted the skin stuff so visits got all weird, but has continued for months. She calls me herself when the baby's bio-dad shows up for visits instead of having the clerk call; she calls me after the visits to tell me how they went (the post-visit report is pretty much unheard of, at least according to our friends with foster kids older than our girl).
Our experience with this worker has been worlds better than we expected (even better than with the perfectly adequate worker we had for the first two months of the case), and we really appreciate all that she does to make foster parenting a little less insane. I often thank her, sincerely, for the time and energy she spends on this case. Twice, I've called her worker to leave voicemails about how great the worker has been: the first was after the worker backed us on the skin condition stuff, and the second was a few months ago when she changed some stuff about how visits were handled to make it easier on our foster daughter. Since we're in such frequent contact (also not the norm), I'm regularly reminded of how great this worker is, and I want her to know how much I appreciate it.
We'll be with this worker for at least a few more months; if our foster daughter goes back to her biological parents we'll stay with this worker until that happens, but if her parents' rights are terminated we'll transition to an adoption worker instead.
How can I best communicate to the worker's boss that this worker is exceptional? Would it be weird for me to keep leaving her boss messages about how great she is (or could it somehow make it weird for her at work, like I'm sucking up or something)? If you're in social work, what's the best way for someone to communicate their appreciation?