Foster Care Update: Safety Plan

Earlier this week we received the great news that our agency had approved our file and had passed it along to county for final approval. We were told it might even be possible that we would be approved by the end of the week! Then on Friday we heard back from the county that they had a problem with the safety plan that was written in our home study.

Our agency called to say that the county wanted us to fence in our yard to ensure safety from the retention pond behind our home. The only problem is that since we live in a townhome, we don’t actually own any of the yard behind our house. In fact, the area behind our house is designated as a wildlife preserve and no one should ever be able to build anything back there. That’s actually one of the reasons we liked this property so much was that we were guaranteed to have that open space and not have to look into the back of another house.


The county said that we needed proof that we were not allowed to build a fence. Our first thought was to get some type of letter from our homeowner’s association. The only problem with that idea was that it would take up to thirty days to get an answer and we had only a few hours otherwise the county would reject our file and send it back. The best I could do with that time frame was to print our property value off of the county website, which shows that we have a zero lot line.

We were able to get that submitted in time, and we hope that will be sufficient evidence. We’re not sure what options we would have if they insist on a fence… since we can’t have one. Our agent also elaborated on all the locks we already have in place to prevent a child from getting to the pond. Our sliding doors have a double lock which both have to be turned to open the door, plus we have flip latches at the top and bottom of each of the doors, plus the alarm system chimes whenever any door of the house is opened, plus there is a lock on the screen door of the patio. We would have to seriously not be watching the child for them to get through all of that without us noticing.

Patio locks

The other suggestions by our agency was to take out the screen door leading off of the patio to the yard, which would mean there would be no exit out of that side of our house. Or they suggested some type of key lock attached to the top of the sliding doors leading to the patio. We are trying to insist that either of these options would compromise our fire safety plan that they made us draw up which required two emergency exits from our house. I think that side of the house is as locked as it can be to still be a reasonable exit in the case of a fire.

Needless to say, Friday was a rather stressful day. We got everything turned in the best that we could do under the time frame, and didn’t hear anything back for the rest of the day. So we have had to sit all weekend with not knowing how it will turn out. Hopefully, we will hear some good news in the next day or so.