Day care payment

Since I am going to be providing daycare for Baby M, the boys' newborn little sister, our FSW suggested that I become a licensed daycare provider so that I could get paid for caring for her.

There are myriad forms to complete in order to become licensed, and I found out that we would have to have a new background check done as well as a new health assessment. I am not sure if M's foster mom is wanting me to provide daycare on a "permanent" basis (since nothing in the foster care system is actually permanent!), or if it would only be for 6 weeks until she can go to a real daycare. I emailed our FSW for clarification because honestly if it is only for 6 weeks, and it takes a month for me to get licensed anyway, then it is kind of pointless to do all the work for only a week or two of pay.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the rate that the state pays daycare providers. I am not 100% sure that I was looking at the correct form, but it appears to me that the state pays $25 per day ($26 per day for infants).

So let me get this straight. The state pays foster parents $12 per day. People who run daycares out of their home are not paid to provide "daycare" for their own foster children, but also must still comply with the state-mandated parent-child ratios (for example, you may only provide care for 4 infants at a time, but up to 8 preschoolers). Let's say I relied on daycare as my income, and I wanted to have as many children as I could to maximize my earning potential, but I still also wanted to be a foster parent. The obvious answer is that I would send my own foster children to day care, pocket the $12 a day I get for them, provide care for 8 other children and earn $25 per day, and in the mean time the state pays someone else $25 per day to care for my foster children! Brilliant! Everyone wins! And lest you think this is a hypothetical situation, let me assure you that it is NOT.

Everyone wins, that is, except the children. Let me start by saying that I have nothing, and I mean NOTHING, against day cares. I think it is up to each parent if they want to send their children to day care or stay at home with them. My mom always had kids that she babysat during the day while she stayed home with us - it was what my family needed to do in order to make ends meet, and if it weren't for people allowing my mother to care for their children (and paying her for it!) then we would have probably had to go to daycare while she worked at a "real" job.

But I tend to think of foster children in a little bit different terms. These are children who may have been abandoned, emotionally (if not physically) neglected, abused, separated from parents and/or siblings, are living with strangers, have parents that come and go out of their lives and cancel visits, not to mention having all kinds of strangers in their lives. These are children that may develop attachment disorders because they were not cared for properly in their biological home and they do not have a single person to bond with because of all the shifting around them. Please note I am not saying this is true of ALL foster children or ALL biological parents, just that these are patterns that we can see with foster children in general.

So why wouldn't the state encourage foster parents to keep their young children home with them during the day, if they are going to be home anyway? Perhaps by paying them extra if they stay home with them, or if they provide daycare for other children then paying them the daycare rate to encourage them to keep their foster children in their care? It just does not make a lot of sense at all. SOMEONE is going to get paid to provide daycare for most of these kids - wouldn't it make sense to just pay the foster parent? Wouldn't allowing the child to spend more time with their foster parent encourage the bonding process; ensure continuity in discipline methods and care, especially for special needs children; ensure better transfer of information between care providers, state workers, transportation workers, and biological parents; provide the children with a sense of permanency; etc.?

I'm not saying I feel like I should get paid more for the little ones we have. I am (obviously) not in this for the money at all. But I am saying that if I did rely on daycare as my income, it would be a very, very tough call for me on if I would keep my foster children at home with me and thus miss out on income of $50 per day or if I would simply send them to daycare somewhere else.

Just another one of the things that makes no sense at all to me in this system.

On a nicer note, D's friends down the street and our friends J & M are approved to watch the boys! All it took was one nasty email from me. Ha ha ha ha. :) Apparently they still have to have walk-throughs done on their homes but I am already working on trying to set something up for that so hopefully it won't be too much longer.

Comments

  1. So glad your e-mail kicked butt. I'd be interested to know how they replied to you!

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  2. Brynn - I would vote for you to be the president of the United States! You are so logical and clear thinking. And you are SO right that it is in the children's BEST interest for them to stay home with their foster parent because of their bio-home life. I have a feeling that you will be taking on the foster care system in Lincoln as an advocate for all those kids who just need someone to really care about them.
    Love you!

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