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Thousands of Kids to Be Homeless?

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State legislators are making it difficult for moms who want to foster a child and make a difference.

The futures of thousands of children nationwide could be bleak, due to state budget cuts across the country which could slash funds for child welfare services and foster care programs. While many moms have it in their hearts to foster and adopt children, less state assistance for foster parents will stretch an already tight budget even tighter.

"It does affect their decision," said National Foster Parent Association's Kristin Kundert about the reduction in funds. "They think, 'Am I able to provide for them after adoption?'"

Child Share volunteer and foster mom Alena Strickland said, "I just quickly divided what we get per day for a foster child, which is $15 a day and it doesn't cover what they need. If they cut it further, other people won't be able to afford to do it. The last thing we want to do is axe out people's ability to foster them, especially when there are 60,000 foster kids in LA County right now--enough kids to fill Dodger Stadium. For people who have money they'll be OK, but for people who just want to take the kids and make a difference, they can't afford to have less." Alena has taken in 112 foster kids over the last 20 years.

Here are some of the current state cuts:

California's proposed state budget will reduce child welfare services and foster care programs by $320 million. There are 60,000 foster children in Los Angeles County alone.

Last June, Washington State's budget for adoption workers was cut, leaving many would-be adoptive parents to fend for themselves regarding mandatory home study courses, according to the NFPA.

In Maine, one of many proposed cuts includes a cap of daily adoption assistance payments that is 30% lower than other state rates.

State lawmakers in Florida are considering a $100 million cut to children's services, making it even more difficult for moms to care for children with special needs.

Regarding California's budget changes, Governor Schwarzenegger spokesperson Lisa Page said, "The governor understands the impact of these cuts, which is why he is proposing structural budget reform to stop this roller coaster ride once and for all. There are years that we have lots of money, where we put extra money in a rainy day fund so for years like this one where we have a $17 million deficit, we can fund California's priorities. The governor will continue to be a supporter of the foster care system."

For moms looking to help, Alena recommends writing your local legislators as much as possible. "Sometimes I don't think legislators know the need or the numbers; sometimes they don't know the amount of child abuse that is going on right in their backyard. I recruit homes that the county can license for foster care services. If the homes go down, we're all in big trouble."

What do you think about the proposed cuts?

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53 comments so far | Post a comment now
SugarPlumFairy July 16, 2008, 4:14 PM

It is really sad that some of the neediest programs are the ones getting the cuts. Can’t they find actual fat to cut?

Anonymous July 16, 2008, 4:41 PM

I was in foster care and had some pretty awful experiences Most of the families I stayed with were just in it for the money and for free labor. I think the whole foster system has failed the children in it horribly and that a return to orphan homes is a much better plan. The group homes I stayed in were a much healthier environment for already troubled children than most of the homes were. I know that there are a few great folks who are fostering because they want to help children but out of all the homes I stayed in I only met one such family….and since the system was worried that I was “forming to strong a bond” they pulled me out of her home real fast. I feel no pity for the loss of such a system. Maybe it will save some children from going through the horror I went through.

the mama hood July 17, 2008, 1:43 PM

These lawmakers sure can find “extra cash” when it comes to giving themselves a raise. I think they need to put a cap on the “darn ridiculous” spending that go to the people higher up in the government. I recently heard the news about the FDA top guns getting huge raises, that they MOST definitely don’t deserve with all the food contamination recently. If we citizens can live on meager incomes during these hard times I think it would help the top guns in government do their jobs better if they learned humility and their income was cut!! They need to really feel what it is like to live frugal lives. The whole system needs HELP! In the end its our innocent children and the future generations that will have to deal with their carelessness and greed! They make cuts to all the most important funding, education, child services etc. and all those who have the most difficult living circumstances will suffer, but you know THEY will still manage to have their huge homes and fancy cars and not think twice about these kids!

Anjanette Munroe December 3, 2010, 5:56 AM

Houston. We have a problem. Anyone who has family trapped in the CPS system. Please ask questions like: Why are my children being prescribed non-FDA-approved, psychotropic drugs? Check your local pharmaceutical records and see what is being done in their names. You have the right know to as parents. ASK QUESTIONS.

Why are more Black children in the foster care system than out (in Houston)??? ASK QUESTIONS. DEMAND ANSWERS.

Foster Care System: Someone’s doing you wrong. The system should be helping to rehabilitate families in need not to divide them. The numbers are disparate. Something is very wrong. ASK QUESTIONS.

Families: Check your children’s pharmaceutical records. Know what is being prescribed and why…ASK QUESTIONS.

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