A foster parent’s account

Foster parent (and fellow Chicagoan) Benjamin Dueholm hits it out of the park with his article in the Washington Monthly, Taxing the Kindness of Strangers:

It’s a major bureaucratic process to remove a child from her home and family. The state insures the child, pays for daycare, investigates the claims of abuse, and retains legal custody, but it cannot actually put a baby to bed at night. And so, on the other side of this most intimate public-private partnership are usually people like us, left alone with a stranger’s child and a garbage bag full of clothes and wondering what’s going to happen next. And what happens next depends, to a stomach-churning degree, on the state’s willingness and ability to keep up its half of the bargain….

It’s a beautiful essay. And it describes the pernicious effects of our state’s low Medicaid reimbursement rates on getting care for needy kids. And as Dueholm observes, Medicaid has been rather protected during the “supercommittee” budget negotiations. Yet many social services and benefits important for foster kids and for foster parents are likely to be cut. We’re burning out good people by not providing needed support. Not smart policy.

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