Black Women that are Foster Care Parents
Hello My name is Lynette. I am an African American Woman that is a Foster Care Parent.
I became a Foster Care Parent because I was tired of reading about little black children that were in need of care. I would see these pictures of little black girls that needed placement with there hair looking nappy and unkempt. Little boys with peasey heads and I felt bad. Then once in awhile I would read an article about how black children were harder to place in homes across America and I wondered why? I could not understand why people would spend thousands of dollars to go to China to get a Baby, when there is is a crisis here within our own country. Why isn't The African American Communities stepping up to the plate? We are naturally giving people and family people and most of us love children so why is there this dilemma?
Being the inquisitive person that I am I began studying the subject.
I discovered there are a number of factors that contribute towards the lack of involvement from the Community.
1) Is not wanting to deal with the protocol. For some reason mostAfrican Americans do not feel comfortable with government employees (social workers) coming into our homes. Most of the Social Workers are Caucasian and if you have have grown up in the inner city such as myself then you feel uncomfortable with them entering into your home. I contribute it to cultural differences and the Media. There are monthly meetings with the social worker assigned to the parent(s). The children also have their own social worker and attorneys. These people are in and out of your home and it can be time consuming. In some cases the parents of the children in care also come to visit. The intrusions can be overwhelming.
2) The cost involved. Some of the children entering foster care literally have no belongings i.e. clothing and grooming supplies etc. Most Social services give the children a clothing allowance that is quite small. They are not eligible for food stamps(children up to five years of age can receive WIC) so food cost come from out of the parents personal budgets. Also toys books school supplies are cost that the foster parents inherit. The children usually have doctors appointments on a regular basis and traveling expenses are not reimbursed. The average pay is about $12.00 a day per child. That just pays for food not gas, electric, or the wear and tear of your home.
3) Behavioral challenges. Foster care parents have to become pseudo psychologist. Think about how you would feel if you were taken or stripped away from your home and in some cases separated from your siblings and not understand why. Most children know when things are not right at home but they grow accustomed to their environment. Many children are well aware of the neglect they experience but learn to adapt. So when they are taken away they begin to feel responsible. Did they contribute to the event? What did they do wrong? Did their course of action bring on the social workers? Did they talk too much and what about the parent that the child loves. The foster parents have to deal with the behavior and effects of the removal and the anger or guilt the children began to feel. If the child begins to feel secure in the foster home they feel guilt, after all no one wants to be disloyal to their parents. These situations can result in conduct that is difficult to deal with, no one wants children running away from their home or hear abusive speech and language dished out by a child that you are going out on a limb for. These children are so fragile anything can tip them off so learning how to communicate in a healing way is needed. Many of us are work very hard and when you come home you want your home to be your haven, having a foster child can be disruptive to your environment and family peace.
4) Influence on your own children. Many foster parents do not want the negative behavior of the Foster child to begin to assimilate into the lives of their children. Some of the children are exposed to drugs, sexuality, street ways at an earlier age and they can probably teach you a few things. Most Foster parents do not want their children exposed to those things prematurely. Time talking with your own children about some of the issues the children entering the home may have takes time and strict supervision is highly recommended