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Thread: Foster Parenting: What does it take?

  1. #1

    Foster Parenting: What does it take?

    Last week I described how and why the Certified Logger was started here in Maine. Since others have brought up being foster parents I thought I would take a minute and explain how the foster parenting system works here in Maine anyway. Now all this applies whether you are adopting, fostering or even going to be a kinship-guardian of a child such as your Granddaughter.

    First you must attend a 1-2 hour long informational meeting and if you are interested, you take an application home.

    The next step is to get fingerprinted at the local sheriff's dept and an initial background check is done. (due to the Adam Walsh Law...son of America's Most Wanted host, John Walsh)

    They also do an initial financial background check

    You must also get a waver from your physician saying you are physically fit to be a foster parent

    You give 3 references stating why they feel you would be a good foster parent

    Your home is inspected by the State Fire Marshall's Office for fire safety (window sizes, smoke detectors, etc)

    Your home is inspected by an electrician for electrical safety

    You must take a 40 hour course on Foster Parenting/adoption. This course gives you college credits for continuing education so for my wife, a school teacher who needs 6 college credits every few years, this is good. Now this course is not what you think. They do not tell you how to parent...they tell you the rules, laws and DHHS system. Other courses can be taken at a later date.

    Lastly they do a in-home inspection. This is intensive. Its three interviews. You and your spouse together, an interview alone with each of you, then a wrap up. During this they inspect your house and outbuildings for child safety. They measure your rooms and make sure you have enough play space, living space, egress and bedroom space. They also redo-your criminal background check and ask some very intense questions on your finances. (How much income, how much is in your checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement funds, trust funds, etc) They ask some serious questions about your marriage, your previous marriages, your childhood and inspect your neighborhood.

    If everything from all this is okay, they determine how many kids you can get licensed for and they issue you a license.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    So how much is the "pay" for all this? It depends on the severity of the child, but about 25 bucks a day is the pay. Now keep in mind this is a 24 hour a day type job, so you are making about a buck an hour. Luckily this is considered non-taxable income.

    You are compensated for a lot of stuff though. Since these are children of the state, they pay for the mileage of taking these kids to their visitations, their appointments and other stuff like clothing,and birthday and christmas presents. Now its the state so its not near enough money, but it helps.

    All in all Maine ranks 35th as far as Fostering goes. That is you will spend more money then you make on this venture,so its all about the kids. Its not income in anyway.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  3. #3
    So where are we in all this? Well we started the process at the end of December and now we just have the In Home Inspection wrap up to do. That is next Friday we should be getting our foster parents license. Everything else is done.

    Its been a lot of stuff to do, and a lot of paper work, but hopefully in a few weeks I can say "one kid won't be hurt tonight. They are in a safe home." That will make it all worth while.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,437
    Travis, I commend you on your endeavors. I've got several co-workers that are foster parents. Some have raised their kids and some are still raising them along with their foster children. It's hard to image what some of the kids have gone through and how they can be so resilient to the changes they've been subjected to. Some of the kids have been really jaded and naturally have their defenses up, so can be difficult (not that raising teens isn't hard enough sometimes). In all cases the foster parents are doing their best to give the kids a normal life and give the understanding of how their life should be lived.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583
    Travis,
    Glad to know the light is at the end of the tunnel. It's great to know people who are really engaged, interested, and committed to making life better for those who need it.
    Hope all's well.
    Paul Hubbman

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
    Posts
    1,726
    A friend of mine and his wife just finished getting licensed in TN. The process was very similar to what you described. They got their first kid the other day, a three day old. Not hard to figure out what momma was doing to lose one that young. I told him they went through a 9 month pregnancy and birth in about 25 min. That's the length of time from when the social worker called till it was "delivered" on the door step. Actually they picked it up at Wal-Mart.

    Bless you Travis I don't think I could do it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,008
    Quote Originally Posted by John Daugherty View Post
    ...Actually they picked it up at Wal-Mart...
    So...was it a Chinese child?

    (Sorry, couldn't resist. It's a very commendable thing these folks -- and Travis -- are doing.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Sacramento CA
    Posts
    102
    Ok now here is some more info on the process and stuff.

    There is one MAJOR problem with the foster care system. Dem Kids Ain't Yours! You can have raised them from birth and they are now 17 3/4 years old and you still can't make the final decision on anything! The state (whatever state you are in) makes all the decisions. Especially the medical ones. And if the "real" parents don't relinquish their rights, they too can "kibosh" something you think is for the best of the child.

    LOML and I adopted 4 severely handicapped kids. We got them from three states. ( We live in Sacramento CA ) The first was from NY, the second from FL and the last two from CA. We have lost two so far ( they died ) and that was just too hard on my wife so we will not "replace" them as some have suggested. One of the ones we still have will not survive past another two years but our last one will have a normal life span.

    If the children are severely handicapped the money can be quite good but it is a "job" you never leave at work. Some will give you a bad time about "living off your children." They don't realize that if these kids were in institutions the cost to the state and therefore to them would be at least TRIPLE!

    P.S we also have two daughters of our own. So we have raised 6 Kids.

    P.S.S. One of the checkers at the local Belair paid me a tremendous compliment. Matthew is 13 and autistic. He is joined at the hip with me. We go everywhere together. He does talk and is social. Anyway she said she heard we had adopted him. She said "but your husband doesn't treat him like he is adopted!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
    Posts
    1,726
    Good one Vaughn

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