Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gary has reservations about guardianship too

Yesterday Gary said he wanted to have a chat. He had been talking to the job services people and working out a plan to achieve his career goals (professional MMA fighter or physical therapist). He realized how much college he would need and he wanted to know if he could leave the state but not the agency.

I said no, but that we wouldn't take guardianship of him unless we were sure he would still qualify for the post high school education/job training programs. He was anxious about that until I told him that I was pretty sure the agency's rule was that if you were in the program for 1 year you qualified, period. One option was just for us not to do anything until June.

And he was concerned about driving. The job services people have come up with some options for a job for him. One is in a town 5-10 minutes from here, and not on the bus route. He doesn't want to ask us to drive him, so he wanted to know if he could drive. If he stayed with the state, he really couldn't right?

So we talked about that one too. There is just no short path to driving for him. If I had guardianship right now AND we had $500 we could sign him up for a private class. He could take the class, and then drive with us for the minimum time, and get his day-time-only-license in 6 months. In a year, he could drive after dark. So if he really doesn't want to depend upon us for rides, then he has to get a job he can get to without driving. Monday he and the job services guy are going to apply for jobs in Our Small Town, including back at the Y. He is okay with the idea that we would pick him up from work in really bad weather or after dark. He just doesn't want for us to be his main source of transportation for work.

It also occurs to him that he might not qualify for the job services program if he isn't a foster kid anymore, so maybe we shouldn't go too quickly because of that.

He also wants to go to a super big, really incredible MMA competition this summer very, very far from here. If he stays in the agency they might be willing to help pay for it, although they also might not give him permission to fight in it. (I think they probably will. Minors have to wear quite a bit of protective gear. It is unlikely that he would get seriously injured. Probably.)

He has a really difficult time with the idea that he might not qualify for Medicaid anymore. He has been in Medicaid "forever." I keep telling him that he would be on our insurance, but that just doesn't quite make sense. I understand. The year he lived with his aunt he was not a foster kid. She had legal guardianship and he was on Medicaid. Of course she was too.
I learned about one other difficulty about being in guardianship and college. If he is still a foster kid then filling out the financial aid forms is easy. He just declares that he is a ward of the state. No parental information is required. If he is in guardianship, nothing is so easy. He is not required to declare our income, which is good because he will qualify for more that way, but there isn't an easy way out. He would need to get social workers and probably the probation officer to write letters to each school he applied to explaining why it was not possible for him to get information from his father.
We talked about this and I told him that we would definitely do what was in his best interests, and that it was difficult to be sure what that was. Leaving foster care for guardianship was good. It meant that we could sign forms, and some things would be simpler, but he would lose services. He would have to get a job to pay for certain things himself.
Anyway, he seems to still really want to do this, but he is also thinking carefully about his own interests and about what really is best for him.
We haven't had more conversations with the agency. We won't until after the next permanency hearing.

6 comments:

  1. i am still boggled by the bus/.car options. DUtch children have it easier that way. We just are expe cted to bike every where..

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  2. I think there are a couple of reasons why we don't expect our kids and adults to bike more.

    One reason is that everything is so far apart, especially in the middle/western US. The job that he could get in the next town is about 8 miles away. Not outrageous, but significant.

    The more difficult problem is that there is no safe route between here and there. He can't take the freeway, and the country roads are not ideal either. Drivers are not looking for bikes and the roads don't have shoulders or biking lanes. And there are no street lights. I really would be worried about his safety in the dark.

    Or maybe we just coddle our children. We've turned into a car-dependent culture. Some of the teachers at the boys' schools were concerned that they had to walk 6 blocks to catch the bus home in the afternoon.

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  3. Becky5:03 PM

    I haven't been following your blog for THAT long; could you explain why Gary can't get a driver's license as a foster kid?

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  4. I just wanted to say that I think the MMA is so cool! I studied kenpo karate for 12 yrs and loved it. Went to 2nd degree black belt but there reached a point where the # of kids we had meant the # of hours available for training were minimal. I am not willing to short my kids for the joy of the art, but it was a really really cool experience. How long has he been studying?

    BTW at the dojo I studied at, a # of students were PT people so that seems a logical connection. (maybe especially so since at my shodan test we had 2 separated shoulders and a couple of knee injuries! LOL)

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  5. Someone who worked at the group home he went to in the summer of 07 is an MMA instructor. The boys were not allowed off grounds for anything but school or work, although they did sometimes get permission to go to his classes. I think he also led some exercise/work outs at the home. The rules were strict enough that it was about the only physical outlet they had, and I know that they weren't allowed really to fight.

    He loves it though.

    And I anticipate many, many injuries.

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  6. I still find it hard. But we are a biking nation. It is cheap it is good for you and the environment. My son who is sick now bikes to school together with mom or dad. It is aobut 2 miles but he exercises he gets trafic insight and when he will be 8 I will allow him to bike on his own sometimes. In middleschool the distance he can travel will be greater, I had friends who did a daily bike ride 12 miles to scoll and back again..

    Because it is cheap it makes the differences between poor and rich smaller (even our princes bike their kids to daycare ;). It makes for a much healthier country and our carbon footprint is way better.. I can understand why you wouldn't let your kids bike but I think it is very sad that as a society you make children so dependant on cars and busses when they are able bodied.

    The thought of a kid driviung without any trafficexperience is very scary to me too..

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