Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Happens to foster kids when the state's run out of money for social services?

Economic Solution for Foster Kids
By Ali Bond-Smith, 2/26/09

I’ll never forget the first time I saw my new foster daughters. I’d left my husband and three kids back in Oregon and flew all the way to Arizona while eight months pregnant to pick them up. There standing in the lobby was 5-yr-old Sadie with her dark brown features and 3-yr-old Jamey with her tempting squishy cheeks and missing tooth. Arizona DES hoped if they could get the judge or birthparents to terminate their parental rights we could adopt them. There young drug addicted birth mom was my second cousin making the girls second cousins twice removed and though it’s not an actual relative and we haven’t spoken since I was 11-yrs-old I thought she’d consider doing what was best for the young girl’s by getting them out of a distant foster home, knowing James and I have adopted before and are capable of loving them as our very own.

Their caseworker promised their medical records, foster care records, social security numbers, and birth certificates were all in the mail to me so I’d be able to enroll them in school, take them to the doctor, and get state insurance to cover the cost till we could adopt them, if we could adopt them. Seven months later we’re still unable to enroll Jamey in the special classes she needs for her emotional difficulties, Sadie is threatened by the school every trimester for not being able to provide proof of age or immunization despite an Oregon caseworkers letters, and our family of eight is still paying cash out of pocket unreimbursed for emergency doctor and dentist appointments despite the fact that our self employed business is directly tied to the failing real estate market. Sadly after using a 401k account we still can not afford the mental health services the girls require to deal with their mounting anxiety and attachment issues. Jamey’s breathing machine, prescriptions and treatments sit at the pharmacy waiting half a year later because the cost is too great for us combined with the emergency dental treatments they’ve required. Our health insurance company won’t accept responsibility for the girls because they are not our kids. Oregon Health Plan won’t place the girls on Medicaid because we don’t have the social security numbers, proof of naturalization, and as it turns out one of the girls has a different legal last name even their Oregon caseworker was unaware of. Finally Arizona ICPC office prompted a caseworker visit to our home yesterday to inform us the state is out of money due to the economy and our options as foster parents are to continue to pay out of pocket or send the girl’s back to Arizona.

The government seems to feel that in times of economic stress children can be thrown away, “sent back” or disposed of.


  1. Ali, call Sen. John McCain in AZ, he and his wife Cindy are huge on adoption...also get Oregon's House and Senate on this, as well as your reps in the US House and Senate. Also call the Gov. office as well as sending a missive out in the media and try twitter.

  2. You might also try contacting drug companies to see if they will pay for your prescription medications. I know that our doctor will give us samples when Medicaid is behind. But there should be so a "Patient Assistance Program" on all drug manufacturer's home pages. I believe it's part of FDA approval that they have to provide medications for low income families without other means.

    I've been dealing with all of this crap, albeit in a single state for six years. Let me know if I can help in any way:)

  3. This is wrong on so many levels!! I wish I knew what to do to help but I have no new ideas to share that the others haven't already suggested. I can offer prayers at least!