Saturday, June 23, 2007

Plea to support foster parents by increasing reimbursement rates

Take care of those giving care
Scheer, Dan. Chico News Review, June 14, 2007.

Chico resident Dan Scheer is a social worker with a foster-family agency. He and his wife, Rebekah, are in the process of adopting two special-needs children in their care.

My wife and I made the decision to become foster-adoptive parents a few years ago. Both of our children are considered special-needs children, as they were prenatally exposed to drugs and alcohol. My wife has stopped working in order to be a stay-at-home mom for these wonderful children. This, of course, places a financial strain on our family in addition to the emotional, physical, and mental strain of raising two young children.

Both of our children have had specialized medical needs. We are committed to providing our children with a "forever family," if that is what the courts deem appropriate.

We speak to many individuals and families who share that they would not be able or willing to open themselves up to the trials of the adoption process.

Our family supports whatever incentives can be offered to adoptive families and adoption agencies that are working to help the thousands of children coming through social services in California. It is our understanding that a financial augmentation is being considered by the state Assembly. We cannot express how vital it is for us as an adoptive family to feel supported not only by our families, but also by our adoption agency, our county workers, and finally county and state governments.

There are many stories of governmental waste and misallocation of resources. Funds directed toward the abused, neglected, and abandoned children of our state and country are not only overdue, but also critically necessary.

The Legislature is processing a proposed 5 percent increase to the reimbursement paid to foster families. Governor Schwarzenegger has indicated that he is not likely to approve the cost-of-living adjustment because he wishes to have a balanced budget. These rates have not been increased in the past six years. I believe there should be a regular schedule of adjustments established in order to better meet the needs of those providing care to our needy and troubled children.

The cost of not supporting the foster parents, adoptive parents, foster children, and adopted children is one we can only theorize. The more positive, loving, supportive, healthy experiences these children have, the more likely they are to become healthy, productive citizens.

Foster parents and those who adopt are volunteers. They give of their time, money, space, and hearts to children in need. These mothers, fathers, and children need your support. You can support them by volunteering and getting involved, or calling our lawmakers and the governor to urge them to support these children and pass incentives for adoption and foster care.


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