Monday, March 09, 2009

Foster Care Hit by Economy

So I wondered when the current economic situation would threaten foster care and now it looks like it is beginning to, at least here in IL.

I found out today that currently there is a plan in the courts to end adoption subsidies in our state. Right now, when a foster child is adopted, they retain an adoption subsidy, basically their foster care payments continue into adoption until the child turns 18. They are also given any therapies they may be needing, future counseling if and when it's needed, a medicaid card, and day care paid until the child is 3. Maybe to many of you you're thinking, that's crazy, my child doesn't get that and I adopted them, or I birthed them, whatever it may be. I understand what you're saying, but you also need to remember that these children were lingering in foster care, not being adopted, and aging out of the system, all because many of the people who loved them and could give them a home couldn't afford the day to day costs. Many of these children have behaviors, or need therapy, due to their histories. Counseling alone could cost a small fortune. I know for myself as a single parent, I honestly don't know if I could afford my lovelies without the help that the state gives. Mostly because of day care.

You also have to remember that although you are asked to give your children everything and treat them the same as a birth child, the state doesn't completely view it that way. If you were to pass away, heaven forbid, with a child you adopted through the state system, that child becomes a ward of the state again. Nevermind you adopted them for life. Nevermind your will and subsidy list a caregiver in the case that happened. They MAY go along with your wishes, and probably will, but it's not a given. The child is "theirs". That BOTHERS me!

What makes me nervous and sad is the fact that if it does indeed pass, and it looks like it will, that IL no longer is granting adoption subsidies, we will go right back to kids lingering in the system. Aging out of the system. With no forever family. No ties to someone. No home. It already happens to many, it will be multiplied if families don't receive this assistance. Maybe it's not right, but it will be reality.

My friend J has 3 foster children right now. The older two are heading toward adoption and may make the "cut" with their subsidies. But the youngest, if she even does end up in a situation where she could be adopted, is the one who would need the subsidy the most, and she wouldn't be "done" in time. She has major issues. Sensory issues. Aggression issues. She needs social work and occupational therapy. She will need counseling. She needs respite. She will need a lot. And as she gets older it will only get more difficult. If they discontinue subsidies, could my single friend J continue to advocate and help her without all of that help herself, I highly doubt it. Would someone else knowingly take that on without some kind of help. I can't imagine.

I heard that foster children in homes where the family wouldn't adopt without a subsidy will be moved to a home that will. Do that many homes even exist? What would I say if they asked me? The thought of going through all the - excuse me - crap that you have to go through as a foster parent, and then not having some kind of assistance, I don't know if I would want to. Why not adopt internationally and not deal with it if there isn't a subsidy anyway?

I also heard that my current agency themselves is keeping at least three families in a state of family preservation, rather than bringing the children into care although the situations are dire enough that that is truly what SHOULD happen, all because of money. There isn't money to bring them into care, so they are leaving them with the families who are hurting them, and trying to make it work.

I hope that some of this makes sense. I have so many feelings and thoughts swirling around in my head because of this information. Money shouldn't be a factor in having or adopting children. But unfortunately it is for so many. I worry about the kids this will affect. The kids who don't even know what is coming. The kids who trust the state to do what is right by them, and are then left to the wolves with no one to call their own.

I pray for the lawmakers, I pray for the foster care agencies, I pray people will be open and willing to adopt without a subsidy if need be, I pray for the children.


Oh wow... I agree with you. This is not good :(

Karen said...

The same thing is happening in our area. We have been licensed since Dec, and have not had a placement, because the state is not removing children who clearly shouldnt be in the home.

Children who should be in theraputic care, are place in DFAC's homes where the parents dont have the proper tools to care for them. All because of MONEY!

Rebecca said...

WOW!!!!That is crazy! I know how hard it is to adopt out some of these kids and without all of the help by the state (as little as it is) I know that they will not be adopted. That really makes me sad! Maybe you should move to Michigan (by me :)--just kidding!!!

P.S. We still do not have a placement yet either but that is because our county was sued for having too many kids in the system--crazy huh?

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I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

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