Wednesday, December 06, 2006

And one month later...

One month ago I was told that I could not longer do respite care for Mandy unless I got a state license. Reluctantly I called the local state licensing office, got some one's voice mail, told them that I had worked with my private agency for 6 years and was considering getting a state license. I left my name, phone number and address.

The office is about one mile from my house.

I got an information packet in the mail yesterday. There are 24 pages stapled together, a brochure on "What [I] need to know about criminal background checks and self-declaration forms." The cover letter states that I am to fill out the attached application, sign various policy statements, and provide copies of important documents.

THEN I have to get my criminal back ground check.

THEN I wait to be invited to PRIDE classes. While I am taking PRIDE classes a resource development specialist will be assigned to me.

Can I just say WTF???

No phone call? No invitation to an orientation meeting where I can ask questions? Nobody to talk to about the filling out application? Nobody to help me understand what foster care will be like and whether it is really for me? Just fill out this 7-page application in which you must tell us how much money you make and how much you owe and then we'll give you a call when we get around to it.

How does this state manage to recruit anyone?

My experience 6 1/2 years ago with the private agency was anxiety-producing, but at least it was personal. I left a voice mail in the morning. "Hi, um...I'm Carl's Sunday school teacher and my husband and I just found out that he needs a new home. We wanted to know if it was possible for us to take him? I don't really know anything about this, but could you please call me back?" She called us later that evening, after business hours and apologized that we had to wait all day for her to get back to us.

Oh...and the application itself. First they repeat the information that I have to jump through the hoops before I will be invited to PRIDE. And then this paragraph:

If you check the boxes on the application to be licensed for family foster care
and/or foster care and adoption, the Department will expect you to take foster
children that are not free for adoption when you are licensed as a foster
home. If you are not able to met this requirement, you will not be
eligible to attend foster parent training and become licensed as a foster home.

There is a box to check for adoption-only, but it is not clear what will happen if you check it. Will the application be taken seriously? Will you be invited to PRIDE? Is there some other training you will invited to?

Of course if you look at the web page for adoption in this state it will tell you that the first step is to become a licensed foster care home.

I'm tossing the application. I really don't want a state license. If they decide I can't do respite for Mandy, then so be it.

Aside from all the other reasons for not doing it I keep coming back to the fact that Evan would not have been accepted into the permanency program if I had had a license.


  1. Stay your course. Working with the state is a pain, and if you have a good groove going, then there's no reason to change anything.

    The only reason we haven't moved to a private agency is that we can't be bothered to re-take all the foster parent training. For now, it's good enough, and we didn't want to have to deal with weekly meetings or having to transport the kid to everything ourselves.

    There's less money with having a state kid, but if the kid doesn't exhibit behaviors you can't handle, there's less hassle, too.

    I think you have a good thing going and you should stay put.


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