It is the middle of May and May is Foster Care Awareness Month. I am in the middle of reading one Foster Care girl’s experience and it isn’t pretty, though I’m certain just as individual’s vary greatly so do experiences in the system.
Did you know that Foster Parents receive a stipend ? Imagine what that kind of money might do to keep a family intact. Of course, that isn’t always the issue. The girl in the book I am reading (I will review it here when I finish it) had no where else to go. The family dynamics weren’t good. The mother had died. Both the natural father and the step-father were in prison. The grandfather got trapped in a poor decision related to trying to fix an awkward drug related situation that made him inappropriate for the girls even though he was not charged with an actual crime. The aunts and uncles did not step forward.
So an issue developed with these unfortunate girls that the Foster Mom (the Foster Dad had died while they lived there) was NOT spending the stipend on the girls and there were cultural issues in this home. The girls were non-Spanish speaking whites. The Foster Mom was Hispanic and one foster child in the home before these girls was also and then one that came subsequently. They frequently spoke Spanish with one another leaving the two white girls feeling excluded. But what really hurt was the generous spending on the Hispanic girls while little or nothing was spent on the white girls.
One foster parent handbook states that the money is intended to maintain the placement and cover the costs of having the child in the home, including the cost of food, clothing, school supplies, a child’s personal incidentals, liability insurance with respect to the child, and reasonable travel to the child’s home for visitation.
That money is not intended for household bills, or to buy a new car or a new house because you need the extra room. Other possible appropriate uses for the stipend could be holidays, presents, spending money depending on the child’s age, or to put into a savings account for child. A sad fact in the book I am reading is that these girls did not receive presents at Christmas.