So, my wife and I are foster parents to a lovely 18-month-old baby girl, who we'll call B. B's mother, call her J, has a number of problems with homelessness, drug addiction (heroin), and mental illness, along with an arrest record that goes back about 1-2 arrests a year since the mid '90's (theft, heroin, and prostitution mostly) through March of this year. J also lives on-and-off-again with a creepy boyfriend, R (a de-facto dad for B, although he's not biologically related to B), who has an equally long arrest record (lots of theft and cocaine, although no arrests since about 2006.); we met him at court, and he made both my wife's and my skin crawl.
Anyhow, J wound up in our local hospital's ICU with a heart valve condition (heroin does that sometimes), and a nasty antibiotic-resistant infection (ditto). This is the same hospital that B was in for some routine tests a couple weeks before (nothing major, it turns out that she's got something common and easy to deal with that often gets conflated with something rare and not fun to deal with that has the same symptom set, and the doc wanted to rule that out). When we took B in, of course, there was paperwork; names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc. given to the hospital. Under "relation to patient," we faithfully put "Other: foster parent" (side note: nobody ever has that as an option on forms. Cousin? Sure. Pastor? Seen it. Foster parent? Never.)
The suck is that we got a bill from J's cardiologist. Apparently, when J went in, having no fixed address, they attached her file to B's, as it's the hospital where B was born and where J took B several times before B was removed from her care. I called them to correct it (Initally they thought I was setting up payment -- apparently the words "J doesn't live here, and never has. Her foster daughter does, though, so we'd really appreciate it if you'd scrub your records of our address," translate to "I'd like to pay J's bill," in a cardiologist's office. Who knew? We got it fixed, though) and they told me that J had been released from the hospital yesterday.
Crap. Call the hospital.
Yep, J was out, although our address WAS listed on her file, how weird? And, of course, what was on her discharge paperwork? Our address. Our phone numbers. Thankfully, as best as we can tell, not our social security numbers.
And so, today, the lawyers for the foster care agency had to take up their time and get a judge to order a restraining against J and R, who (as paramours -- the legalese term for "shacked up," -- and both known felons) are not supposed to know where the foster family caring for their child lives. So now, thanks to a hospital clerk's screwup, we both have to go to our bosses at work with mugshots and say "if either of these people walk in the building, they're committing a crime. Let me know, so I can go someplace safe, call 911, and have them arrested if they remain." They're not supposed to come within 2 miles of where either of us work or live.
Thanks, HealthPark! Your clerk's screwup probably cost the overworked foster care system a couple hundred bucks worth of lawyering time (which could have been better used for, I don't know, basically anything else. Not like the lawyers for foster kids have nothing better to do, right?), took up valuable court time, and caused a general level of mayhem in our lives too (it's creepy knowing two felons who might want to skip the whole "due process in a court of law" thing know where you live, which makes it really easy for them to kidnap their kid -- hey, it's happened. Not to mention, many bio-parents tend to view foster parents as "the ones who stole my kid," so it's not like there's no risk to us in that whole event.).
tl;dr: Hospital gives our foster daughter's mother, a drug-addicted felon, our address. Yay.