Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Change Foster Care, How?

Foster care goals, laws and interpretation of those laws vary state to state. Information I'm researching tells a convoluted story. One article stated that some states are up to 25 times more efficient in the severing of parental rights. But then went on to tell a story of an eleventh hour decision to give a mother of several one more chance. And she took it and turned everything around.

Therein lies the problem.

How many chances do we give? What things should be on the nevermore list? What portion or percentage of a child's life is okay for experimentation? Because putting children into emotionally charged, emotionally dangerous or troubling situations is experimentation isn't it?

West Virginia and Oklahoma have high parental rights terminations but they also have some of the highest rates of drug overdose deaths. And Oklahoma has high women incarcerations as well.  Both states also have some financial woes that may effect the funds available to help those families.

Here is what I see on this side of foster care in my world, finances in action. The foster care parents receive a daily stipend per child that covers room and board and basics. Bigger ticket items like child care (state registered), some clothing (a small yearly allowance) and certain other items like after school activities are reimbursable. As a tax payer, I'm okay with this. I also see the value in the involvement of social workers. After all, someone needs to manage a system to keep folks from taking advantage of it, because unfortunately, that's pretty people like. Using. Taking care of number one. Grasping the American dream at all costs i.e. making an easy buck.

Even with the watchdogs there are abuses. Foster care parents haven't always done foster care for the benefit of the child, instead they look at it as a money maker. Tragic. This is why rules and regulations have been put into place to monitor foster parents. And they do. Monitor. Very thoroughly, based on my small awareness of how the system runs. The foster care parents are pretty regulated. Those that care really follow the rules, those that don't work around them. Life. Yep. The quality rise to the top, the bottom dwellers sink to the bottom.

All this regulation costs loads of money. Salaries of the gatekeepers, the rule makers, the regulation drafters. Those add up. Each foster family has involvement with a few agencies. And three or more social workers. The foster parents have a staff foster care advocate. The children have a foster care manager and a transport/interactive social worker. Others are involved with different scenarios as well. Then there is counseling. Each child is offered counseling. This is not always taken advantage of, but it's available.

I can understand why quick termination is beneficial to states with tight budgets. But is that the best deciding factor?

to be continued....