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FOSTER PARENTS AREN’T AFTER CASH

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I can't believe the Legislature thinks the solution to the financial problems involved with foster care is to ask for volunteer foster parents. If only nine new foster families entered the system since 1991, what makes them think that without the stipend the families receive, more people will come forward and volunteer?

Foster parents do care for a child in the hopes that they may make a small difference in the life of a child. I am appalled that anyone might even insinuate that these parents are in it for the money. At $10-$15 a day, that averages out at about 50-75 cents an hour. For this amount, you have to buy a child's clothes, food, buy birthday gifts and pay for any extracurricular events that would help a child learn to interact with his peers.Foster children are not brand-new cuddly babies. Most have significant emotional, physical or psychological problems. Many of these problems occur from lack of care by birth parents. It takes extreme consistency and patience to deal with these children. Being a foster parent is not something you can do when it is convenient.

By being a foster parent, a family basically cuts off at least one possible provider, as it would be very difficult to be a foster parent and work on a regular basis. Even school-age children need to be taken to psychotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and a parent would need to stay in touch with the teacher and principal to make sure that the child's needs are being met.

I am extremely bothered by the fact that any legislator would attempt to make foster parents feel guilty for the small stipend they receive. How many of them would be willing to take a foster child into their home for months or years? When I see members of the Legislature volunteering, then I will fully support this.

Eileen Healy

Centerville