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Ex-foster kid feels lost without adult support

As a foster/adoptive parent I saw one consistent theme: every foster child I've had age out of the system did one same thing... they all sought out and returned to their bio-family. Now, my kiddo's also came back to visit and came to me for emotional support/advice. For the most part they were unwilling to go to a system that tore them from their bio-family and provided them little to no better while in the foster care system. They distrusted social workers who seemed to lie to them for years and other "professionals" who seemed more interested in what would keep them within the legal confines rather than the best interest of the child. They all went back to their bio-family because they had no legal family to call their own. We all need to be needed, we all need a family and we'll create it however we can get it.

Although some kids come into the system at an older age, there are many kids who come in younger and because of the legal system they linger in limbo until they reach an age where they are difficult to find an adoptive home. During those years they become distrustful and tattered. The emotional stress a foster child goes through during the stage between initially coming into foster care and severance is at a level adults can't handle... how do we expect a child to handle it. I know of several cases where a child has been in foster care for 5+yrs... now into their early teens they are harder than ever to find an adoptive home and their perception of life is jaded... by a system that failed to support them and a bio-family that failed to provide for them.

I'm not sure of the answer to fix the current system, but a chance to make what we currently have better needs to start by reaching out to society as a whole to let them know that fostering and adopting is not a worse case scenario. I try to encourage other people to consider fostering, adopting, or even providing temporary care to give a child in a group home the chance to feel connected to a family. I hear many of the same reasons and usually it's born out of unreaslistic fears... usually the media. Remember that really horrible report, don't remember the show but the title of that program was "Calling all Angels". Instead of spotlighting and showing what the average/normal foster child is like they showed children REALLY difficult who needed skilled people to consider their adoption. I do like the Wednesday's child that some areas have. It presents a child behaving and acting like any other child not in foster care, stating the obvious "I just want a mom and dad who will love me".

February 20, 2007 at 4:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Boys home suspends operations

Caracalla: Not to be a defender, because Crispian is very capable to do that for herself... she was stating the majority of the kids in foster care are not sex offenders...

The article you commented on was about a group home for children in a foster care type setting... it isn't a half-way house for sex offenders or anyone coming out of jail.

There is misinformation occuring where some people actually think that all foster kids are sexually perpetrating on other kids. I once had a parent remove her child from the same daycare as my foster child because that parent found out my barely 3yr old foster daughter is a foster child. She told the daycare worker "you just never know about 'those' children... she might touch my child".

February 8, 2007 at 3:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Boys home suspends operations

I understand, Costello... I never meant for you to feel attacked. Like yourself, I feel passionate about fostering/adopting children and have served in many similar capacities as yourself (including being a CASA). I get so irritated when I hear people complain about a situation and refuse to be part of the solution... I wish I could motivate people to consider opening their life to an opportunity that could provide more reward than they thought possible.

There are some people who think "someday" or "I'm too young" or "I'm too old"... hogwash. My husband was 24yrs old when we first started taking in foster kids (I was 28). We took in a few younger kids and within a year we were also taking teenagers. Some worked well with us, others not as well. All children come with a history and we were better equiped to handle some children than others.

I think it's unfortunate we are loosing another resource for children in this area. It seems a few years ago we also lost a group home in Lawrence. A couple years ago Florence Crittendon in Topeka stopped taking pregnant teens. Some kids issues are so great that they burn out a family foster home. At least in a group home setting there are employee's coming in that can help recharge the live in parents.

Fostering/adopting isn't for everyone, but contributing in some way to our children is something everyone can do... and they are "our children" because for too many kids they belong to the courts until they are 18yrs old and we, the citizens of Kansas, should always remember that means they are our children and we should do what we can to support them. They are our future... we are only as good of a society as we treat our least fortunate. Children without a Mom or Dad to turn to deserve more.

Hmmm... a hint for Costello? I've attended the support group before and participate in the same on-line forum as yourself and many other adoptive/foster parents. At one of the support groups I had to bring my 5yr old daughter, she fell asleep just as the group meeting started and slept through the whole thing.

February 8, 2007 at 3:13 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Boys home suspends operations

Hi Costello (R - yeah, I know who you are)... I'd NEVER point a finger at you, you might bite it off! Besides, you're like my hero. You adopted a VERY difficult child and I keep both of you in my prayers that your son is able to become the man you are willing to stand by him to become. If it weren't for you your son might have never had the chance for a family. (Guess I should have made clear the "you" was in general for the world of finger pointers who want change but aren't willing to be part of the solution)

I continue to believe every child is adoptable, they just need the right person and the right circumstances. There was a time workers probably thought Costello's son wasn't adoptable and times where Costello was wondering if she could do it. Not all children are so difficult, but thank goodness for Costello's son she was up for the challenge.

Oh, and Crispian... we miss you coming to visit us!!! You were such a terrific worker and very supportive. Give me a call sometime! (Hint: this past summer we walked around my neighborhood while I weighed some heavy choices about M&M)

February 8, 2007 at 2:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawmakers hear cases for, against HPV vaccine

The opt-out type clause is limited to things like religion and doesn't include "I'm broke and don't have the money to pay for the vaccine". At $360 for the series of shots ($120/shot and there are 3) that can be expensive for some families and not everyone has insurance to cover the cost.

Merck is currently the only maker of Gardi$il (I'm $ure they're $upporting thi$ legi$lation). Every year we have vaccine shortages for the flu, pneumonia, etc. The health departments and dr. offices are also continually running out of the chicken pox vaccine.

The other day I voiced how I plan to have my daughter vaccinated even without the legislation. My friend with 3 daughters who can't afford private insurance and makes too much as a daycare provider to get Healthwave stated she'd like to get it for her daughters too but can't afford the expense.

Until the vaccine is more affordable or our legislature has a plan to help pay for the vaccine for the uninsured I think they need to consider it as highly recommended... and because of patent time frames it could be several years before a less expensive option is availalbe.

February 8, 2007 at 12:43 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Boys home suspends operations

The "foster care system" is in large part dependent upon people who are willing to provide a temporary family for children who's own family is struggling to raise the child. Sometimes the child returns home, sometimes they go to adoption, and there are other children who can't return to their birth family and there is no other family out there willing to raise the child so they struggle through foster care (including group homes) for years.

When children come into foster care they are provided Medicaid to help cover their medical expenses, which includes therapies and many of their needs through foster care. Medicaid is part state money and part federal money. I think it's a 40/60 split (for every $40 the state puts in the feds put in $60 = $100 for care).

... and in case you are wondering... yes, I am a foster parent ; yes, I have adopted children from foster care; and yes, I have raised children in my home until they aged out of the system because they were either never available for adoption (parental rights still in tact) or never wanted to be adopted (at age 12 a child has the right to state whether they are willing to be adopted or not).

Unless you are willing to contribute to be part of a better outcome I'd suggest you have no right to point fingers at a system doing the best it can with the limited finances and limited parental resources to make a positive difference in a child's life. If you are willing to contribute then jump in with both feet and your heart open wide... don't do it partly because these children have already been let down by family and a system that has only gone half way for them.

For those who are thinking "I'd like to find a way to help in some way" you might consider contacting your local agency for foster care. All sorts of volunteers and financial contributions are welcomed to help give kids in foster care similar things children with a family receive (like a prom dress... can you imagine not having one for your prom... and Medicaid doesn't pay for things like this for foster children).

In addition, there are children here in Kansas hoping somewhere out there someone is willing to take a chance on them and become a parent to them. You don't have to be perfect and you don't have to be rich. There is a very high need for people willing to adopt older children (7yrs+). For active people an older child might be perfect (past the diapers, able to dress themselves, maybe they can even bait their own hook). Sibling groups desperate not to loose each other just want a chance to find a parent (or parents) willing to let them continue to be siblings. If you are someone who might consider answering these children's desperate call for the chance to have their very own family, visit www.cominghomekansas.org

February 8, 2007 at 12:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Methamphetamine registry? (The Capitol Report)

I forgot to mention in my other posting how registries get misused. Child sex predators use it to find other child predators because they are "safe". Someone already convicted with a tendency toward children is less likely to rat you out AND they might share their resources. A meth registry would just promote a similar situation.

I do still support having the current registries. It isn't 100% fool proof but nothing will be. I did once find an acquaintance on the list as a sex predator and as a result I refused any further contact by myself or my daughters... so in that regard I'm really glad that his name showed up, eventhough his address registered was incorrect.

I seriously hope Sen. Vratil reconsiders his proposal about registering meth convicts.

January 30, 2007 at 10:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Methamphetamine registry? (The Capitol Report)

The legislature still hasn't funded the sex registry adequately to put names on, follow up to see if the convicts truly live where they are registered, track them down when they don't live where registered, and follow through with penalities for not registering. Until they can fund a mandate already required they shouldn't introduce new registration requirements, especially on the "evil of the day". I'm not saying Meth isn't a problem, but it's today's problem, several years ago it was some other drug that was the major problem, and in the near future another drug will be the "it drug" to be concerned about. At what point do we say one drug warrants registration but another drug doesn't? This is just a bad proposal without thought through consequences and priorities... besides, you need an address to register and true addicts don't retain a residence for long. The choice between paying mortgage/rent or buying the drug... hello... that drug's pull is so strong people sell their soul and their children for it, they won't keep an address for long.

January 29, 2007 at 3:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )