Archive for Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Foster father: Rose had no history of fire problems

But arson suspect did receive counseling for ‘fire setting behavior’

May 8, 2007

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The man charged with setting a deadly Lawrence apartment fire didn't have a reputation in foster care as a firestarter, the man's former foster parent testified this morning.

"There was nothing indicating Jason was a firestarter," said Robert Kidder, who was a father figure to defendant Jason Rose during Rose's years living in state custody at The Villages group home.

Kidder told jurors that Rose seemed to have a low IQ and threw temper tantrums similar to a 3-year-old's but that he wouldn't have accepted Rose for a placement at the group home if he had a history of setting fires.

Kidder's testimony came during the second day that Rose's defense team has been presenting its case at trial in Douglas County District Court. Rose is charged with murder, arson and aggravated battery for the Oct. 7, 2005 fire that killed three residents of the Boardwalk Apartments in the 500 block of Fireside Drive.

Kimberley S. Smith, an employee of the state's department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, was called as a defense witness to testify about the contents of the 7,500-page file that documents Rose's time growing up in state custody. She noted an incident in which Rose was implicated for a smoldering glove found in a trash can, six incidents of playing with matches or lighters when he was 7 or 8, and a time he made a threat to blow up a house.

But in response to defense attorney Ron Evans' questions, Smith did not cite any clear-cut instances of fire-setting reflected in the file while he was in state custody.

On cross-examination by assistant district attorney Amy McGowan, Smith acknowledged that Rose did receive counseling for fire-setting behaviors, according to the documents.

"There must have been some incidents of fire-setting behavior" in the file, McGowan said.

"Yes," Smith answered.

Comments

50YearResident 8 years ago

Well did he or did he not, Ms Smith? How can you say he didn't have any history of starting fires if he had to get counciling for fire starting problems?

Ragingbear 8 years ago

This sounds like typical lazy parental denial of something they don't want to acknowledge one of their kids could do. Since most foster parents usually take a dozen or more kids at a time for those nice checks, you can expect they would be lucky to see these kids more than once a day as it is.

It's even more asinine when they deny this in the face of receiving counseling for "Fire setting behavior.". It also blows the defenses statement that Rose never had any issues with setting fires as they claimed the other day.

costello 8 years ago

Ragingbear says: "Since most foster parents usually take a dozen or more kids at a time for those nice checks, you can expect they would be lucky to see these kids more than once a day as it is."

You have no idea what you're talking about, Ragingbear. This comment is so stupid and uninformed that it takes my breath away. I'm not a foster parent myself, but I've adopted from foster care, and it's been my privilege to get to know a number of foster families. Not only do "most" foster parents not have a dozen or more kids at a time, I have never known any foster families with that many kids. The foster families I've known have one to four foster children. And those "nice checks" they get often don't even cover the cost of caring for the children.

Ragingbear 8 years ago

Costello, how many foster families have you actually known? I have met roughly 20. 17 of them were that way. The lowest still had 4 kids they adopted all at once, and practically let run the place.

costello 8 years ago

Ragingbear: Your statement is simply impossible. Please refer to the definitions at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Foster Care Unit's page: http://www.kdheks.gov/bcclr/foster_care.html.

"Family Foster Home - Twenty-four hour family care for one to four children between the ages of infancy to 16 years of age.

"Group Boarding Home - Twenty-four hour nonsecure care for five to ten children between the ages of infancy to 16 years of age."

There is no possible way you've known 17 foster families with a dozen or more foster children in residence at one time.

As far as the family that adopted four children at once goes, if the children are adopted they're not foster children.

Crispian Paul 8 years ago

"Ragingbear (Anonymous) says:

This sounds like typical lazy parental denial of something they don't want to acknowledge one of their kids could do. Since most foster parents usually take a dozen or more kids at a time for those nice checks, you can expect they would be lucky to see these kids more than once a day as it is.

It's even more asinine when they deny this in the face of receiving counseling for "Fire setting behavior.". It also blows the defenses statement that Rose never had any issues with setting fires as they claimed the other day."

OK, Ragingbear, you are incredibly misinformed. I actually licensed foster homes and foster parents up until August of last year (2006). The statutes for foster homes, regulated by Kansas Department of Health and Environment, states that NO foster parent is allowed to have more than 4 foster children at a time and no more than 6 children total (including their own) in the home at any time...therefore, if a foster parent has three biological children, they can only take up to three foster children. In ADDITION, you cannot take four children because you want to. You must have a MINIMUM of 45 square feet per child in shared bedrooms, a minimum of 70 square feet in single child rooms, no children farther in age than six years can share a room and children of opposite sexes over 5 years also cannot share a room.

The "nice" checks you talk about, generally only amount to what it costs monthly for the foster parents to care for these children. The foster parents are responsible for transporting these children to all of their mental health, medical and other appointments. Given that many of these kids have multiple mental and/or physical health needs, that tends to eat up a lot of their budgets. In addition, foster parents are mandated to get $250 PER YEAR for clothing per child. As we all know, $250, especially in a teenager for example, does not go far. Therefore, many foster parents spend well above and beyond that in clothing for their foster children. This comes out of their stipend. Many foster parents enroll their children in summer school, summer programs, boys and girls club, athletics, dance, etc. This all costs money. Where does this come from? Stipend.

The base rate of pay for a foster parent per child is $18.67/day. That works out to $561.10 per month. That is $6733.20 per year. The average cost of raising a child per year? About $7000. So, tell me, again, how these are "nice" checks?

Crispian Paul 8 years ago

Oh, and in addition, foster parents must make a minimum amount monthly based on their family size to help rule out those who are doing it to "make a living".

Ragingbear 8 years ago

To be honest, these foster families were in Texas. However, that does not change what is going on. The rest of my statement still stands.

Sigmund 8 years ago

SRS employee Smith noted an incident in which Rose was implicated for a smoldering glove found in a trash can, six incidents of playing with matches or lighters when he was 7 or 8, and a time he made a threat to blow up a house. Smith did not cite any clear-cut instances of fire-setting reflected in the file while he was in state custody. Smith acknowledged that Rose did receive counseling for fire-setting behaviors, according to the documents. "Yes," Smith answered when asked, "There must have been some incidents of fire-setting behavior" in the file.

It appears that Mr Rose's incidents happened before State custody and in fact may be the reason he was placed in the State custody.

Linda Endicott 8 years ago

If the incidents of "fire setting behavior" had happened while in state custody, then it would have been in the file...yet Smith cannot find anything in the file about it? But when asked if there was something in the file about it, she said "yes"??

This report is the most confusing yet...

LovelyAngel315 8 years ago

If you've read previous articles, he was taken from his parents at preschool age. And I assure you this group home did not have a dozen kids...definitely less, and they were watched very closely. Its a group home, not your normal "foster home".

gkwhdw 8 years ago

Iam not saying that Mr.Rose isn't guilty of this crime and I know they must create some background, but a lot of children go through a time of playing with matches. Parental guidence usually helps and the child outgrows it. The people and the courts should realize that he obviously has had a corrupt childhood and life and get on with the absolute proof that Mr.Rose did in fact commit this crime. Witnesses lie alot to console another persons needs, word of mouth should never be acceptable, only THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT! Alot of times it isn't always proven beyond a reasonable doubt, find the proof and put him away where no one will be hurt again.

Sigmund 8 years ago

It appears that Mr Rose's incidents happened before State custody. SRS files are often opened before being put in State custody.

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