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This interview is off the mark.
This issue is not about carpet cleaning and cereal and kids leaving the water on! This is about foster parents being compensated for a very difficult, 24/7 job. Foster parents who take this work seriously and commit to being a REAL parent for these kids cannot typically work a normal job. If parents have multiple special needs children a job outside the home is impossible.
Ten years ago at the Oregon Foster Care Summit it was so clear that part-time semi-volunteer foster parents could not be recruited at a fast enough rate to keep up with the increasing demand. It was clear that the system needed to change --- a decade ago--- because working people -- at any rate that is paid -- can't do an adequate job with special needs children. Not only that, foster parents need to be more educated and have more training. Foster homes need to be improved in every way.
If foster parents have been abusing the system --- taking big rates without doing the work --- they should be fired. But to set a policy based on what some are doing wrong is just nonsense.
The state must dedicate more money to this system. And simultaneously they must raise the bar for foster parent recruitment.
If the public saw how our foster children are often living --- in over crowded and often substandard foster homes with under educated and unskilled foster parents they'd be in shock. Are there many, many great foster parents who love and care for their kids? Yes! But the system is so broken.
Is there hope for change? Until the legislature steps up and demands changes the outcomes for foster children in Oregon will continue to be nightmarish. The only thing that will turn the system around is talented, trained, educated and loving foster parents who are compensated in a fair way to do this difficult (but often rewarding) work.
I sadly cannot recommend anyone consider being a foster parent. I honor the work that good foster parents do. Many are heroes. But the typical person -- or family -- isn't cut out for the work this requires at the rates that are now being paid.
Former foster parent & foster parent recruiter
posted 3 years, 6 months ago
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