Questions about fostering disabled children

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This is something I'd really really love to do. It is right up my alley. I have experience. I have training. I have the personality. I have the room in the home. (or I can make room in the home)

    This is so totally ME you have no idea.

    The question is sort of odd, I guess. But I know there are some very disabled children that are in desperate need of foster homes in this area. Many would require full time care. Nichole had stumbled upon it once and looked into it, so I know the need is there. Know what I mean?? But when I went to research in to it today........I'm not coming up with much and it seems it's required you already are working to meet the income needs of the home. Now I understand that, totally. Because there are those that would foster just for the money alone and not properly care for the kids. I get that, I do. But it also says you don't have to be married or whatever.......and with the intense level of care many of the children would require I just can't see how someone single could manage a full time job in addition to fostering such a child......

    So if you're wanting to foster a child that needs one on one care 24/7 and are a single person, how are you supposed to work to meet your income level for the home? Because I know finding a sitter would be next to impossible, just as finding foster homes are next to impossible.

    I'd like to do this whether I'm working or not.........but either way the question still applies.

    And how on earth do I find out how to go about doing such a thing?
  2. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Lisa, are you talking about fostering through the State? Fostering children with medical problems was something my daughter thought about doing too, after she finished her nurses training, before she was married. Several years ago I went all the way through the required training to become a foster parent for the State - 10 weeks of classes, submitted all the documentation, went through all the home studies, etc. Then at the last minute I decided not to do it. Our Dept. of Childrens Services was so inept, so bumbling and difficult to work with, I couldn't imagine actually having to deal with those people when a child was involved and living in my home! I hope it's better where you are!

    The way it works here is that you are required to attend classes and undergo several home studies. You have to turn in documentation of everything - birth certificates for the entire family, marriage certificates, drivers licenses, utility bills, financial statements, recommendations from friends, documentation of everything you've ever done in your entire life! Your home is inspected, mostly for safety issues like fire extinguishers and access to exits. They do a complete background check including fingerprints, and you have to have a physical.

    And they have the same requirement here, that you have to prove that you have enough income to support yourself and your own family. If they didn't do that, there would be people with a houseful of kids, skimping on things so they could live off of what the State pays for the child. Here the monthly stipend depends on the age of the child. The State pays for all medical and dental care for the child and provides a clothing allowance twice a year and a small amount for Christmas. And here at least, the monthly stipend is very small, barely enough to cover the costs of having the child in your home, school expenses, etc. No "extras" for those things that kids would like to have and many people find themselves dipping in to their own funds. The more I found out about it, the more I came to think of it as volunteer work! And they seemed to move kids from home to home on a whim which would be upsetting for both the child and the foster parent. Our system here was (and still is) BAD and has been on the news a lot. I hope yours is better there.

    Personally, I think you would make a WONDERFUL foster parent ... if you are willing to put up with all the BS that goes with it. You are a great mom and grandma, you are smart and loving and resourceful, and you have the medical knowledge that would be invaluable in caring for children with medical issues ... all things that would make you a fantastic foster parent. It's certainly worth checking out and could be a very rewarding experience for you. Just beware that it is quite an undertaking having to deal with those people and jump through all their hoops.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Yeah. I know. Which is why I've been thinking long and hard on it.

    I also happen to know though that many of these children require constant care. Which is why they are so hard to place. So if I'm giving constant care, how in the world am I supposed to work to have an income outside of fostering? That is the part I can't figure out. Many of these kids are severely disabled.

    I don't mind working. I'd do handsprings down the block if someone would just call me for an interview........LOL

    Our cps here isn't so hot either, although they don't shift the hard to place kids simply because there are few if any places to shift them to. That much I know already. I also know if you choose to foster disabled, ages are up to you and what you feel comfortable with........this is only because the need is so very great.

    I guess I'll keep it as a future goal. I do understand the whole you need to work thing, I just don't see how I could give consistent care as well as hold down a full time job. Know what I mean??
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Lisa - as a mom of a kid requiring 24/7 care, I can tell you it's virtually *impossible* to work outside the home (disclaimer - we've never lived near family, never received services, so for us, it would be impossible for me to work outside because there's zero safety net for Boo), even when the kid is in school. All things considered, Boo has always been healthy, but when his seizures started, I just never knew when the manure was going to hit the fan. On average, we were in the hospital about once every 3 months for years with a seizure. He also had a tendency to take colds and stomach bugs to the max, also sometimes requiring hospitalizations. Throw in endless dr. appts the first 15 years or so, various therapies .... no way would I have been able to work outside the home.

    I wonder if they just want to make sure that you are currently able to meet household needs and are not looking to take on this huge commitment in an effort to make money. The more involved the disability, the better likelihood you're more often than not really going to be giving 24/7 care. on the other hand, I would bet you would get more services from the state (nursing/respite) than a bio family, so that would be a plus.

    I think you'd be a *wonderful* gift for a kiddo in need. I don't think you should let an employment requirement deter you, at least not without seeing if you can get your foot in the door.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I know that when my daughter was thinking about doing it, she wasn't considering a severely disabled child that would require 24 hour care. No way she could work full time and care for a child like that. She was thinking more along the lines of a diabetic child or one with epilepsy, sickle cell or even Down Syndrome. A lot of foster parents would be hesitant to take responsibility for a child like that but it wouldn't have bothered her at all since she's a nurse.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As one who fostered and adopted out of the foster care system of a few states, I can't help but be shocked that they even pretend they care about YOUR income. They don't. Two kids we adopted, who are no longer in our home (you know the story), came from destitute foster homes, except for the board payments. And, yes, they had as many kids as they could legally be allowed to have. The States are so desperate for foster care, they don't care what you make. Also, there would be an outcry of "discrimination" if this limited homes in certain ethnic groups. And they want the kids in homes with their own race, if possible. At any rate, I never heard of this rule and don't believe it gets enforced. And you are allowed to use the board money any way you see fit. They assume it will help pay your bills. Things cost more with an extra kid.

    Lots of foster parents, sadly, ARE out for money and there are also a lot of abusive foster parents. Now...for kids on 24/7 medical care, maybe it's different, but that makes no sense, really. From all I know, they'd prefer somebody would be home to care for a child such as that one.

    Be careful of what you read on the internet. I'd call the state's foster care myself. There are so many kids that need fostering that my experience is that they take anyone, even some who make me cringe. One of the boys who is no longer with us was sexually assaulted at gunpoint repeatedly by his foster mom (she did not work) and now she is no longer doing foster care after we turned her in so she is homeless. But she didn't work even when she had this boy. I question this information. We had a lot of kids who had been with other foster parents who were in terrible living conditions and did not work. Their income was welfare. And since board pay doesn't count as income, they kept their welfare while collecting sometimes large board checks.

    We are thinking of taking in young children on the autism spectrum and we're moving from a house to a mobile home and have a lowish income. They already told us in advance to please come in after we move...they need and want us. As long as the mobile home has a bedroom, they're fine with it and with us not having a lot of money. They don't care about your income, has always been my experience.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well........all I know is last time I looked into foster care some 30 yrs ago no one asked my income or if I had a job. Of course I was married.....but still. The moment I wasn't "turned off" by the idea of caring for a disabled child, the person was so eager I thought they were going to crawl through the phone. ( I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. It shocked me) I thought they were eager before......but soon as the word disabled entered into it, over zealous would be more appropriate.

    We had a couple I believe somewhere around here who had 5 disabled kids and did not work........and yes, it was horrid.......and charges were brought........and it made me sick to my stomach.

    Nichole had stumbled across an orphanage (facility) for disabled children that were more then eager to train (intensive training program no medical knowledge required but just her basic EMT had them bubbling over) for a specific child's needs, help with doctor visits ect, help with therapy or whatever is needed for the just care for them and give them a real home to live in, and of course love and a family. She is attempting to "stumble" upon it again.

    I guess I'll keep looking into it. I'm certainly not doing it for the if I have to wait until someday in the future when either I win the lottery or retire, then so be it......but I'd like to be young enough to enjoy the kids as well as be physically able to still care for them.

    easy child's mother in law was a foster mom, so perhaps I can get some information through her.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You won't.

    I'll bet that family with five kids who didn't work did something bad. They don't care how much you make, if anything. If you want to do it, go for it!
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lisa you want the magic words.... therapeutic foster parent to be the phrase and I would go to both social services and mental health with your questions. You dont want to be a regular plain jane foster parent, you want to be the step above.