We were supposed to take this class after we were licensed, and it was scheduled a month after our last PRIDE class, but there have been delays in licensing, so we were in it tonight... unlicensed. As were the other 5 members of the class besides us.
This was mine and Jack's favorite class so far, and for good reason. This was the first class during which the presenters got down to the nitty gritty of what Foster Parenting is really like. The first days and weeks that your placement is with you and the requirements of a Foster Family.
Jack joked on the way home that he had no idea how families where both spouses have full time jobs would be able to comply with all of the requirements of Foster Parents.
The law requires 1 hour per week of parental visits for a child over 12 months old. For a child under 12 months old, up to 2 hours is permitted. So that means we will have to drive 60 miles round trip at least once a week.
The State requires that each child is taken to the doctor and given a full physical within 30 days of placement in the home. And within 90 days the child has to see a dentist if they are over 3 years old. Also you have 5 days to enroll them in school. They explained that what would probably be best for us to do was go to our local schools and introduce ourselves and let them know that we are foster parents in the area and that we may be getting placements that are of these age ranges and sort of find out what their registration process is like.
Almost every child will also be in therapy and will have doctors visits to monitor whatever medications they may be on for allergies, or adhd or what have you. So basically every week it will be a full time job just driving these children from place to place.
Jack and I are so thankful that our situation allows for me to stay at home to be with these kids and there for them 24/7. Also, with me staying at home, I will be able to do most of these running around things during the day while Jack is at work, so when he is done with work, he can come home and just be with his family instead of having to run all over the metro Detroit area for all these things.
They explained to us the way each of the three major counties in the area do placements (Macomb, Wayne and Oakland). They also explained the different visits and the different forms that we are required to fill out with each placement.
There are so many requirements and things that need to be done every day for these children above and beyond normal parenting... It's definitely going to be a huge challenge.
Obviously every child is different and therefore every case is different, so we cannot fully prepare for all situations, but this class definitely gave us a lot more things to think about.
We have a few more things that we need to get done for our licensing also, that we know about so far. Apparently it is not agreed upon across the agency what exactly the requirement is on escape ladders for our two story home. The worker who did the class said that it was one escape ladder for the whole top floor, but one of the couple's in the class said that it was one per bedroom (which logically makes more sense). Conversely, we are opening our homes to children that will likely be under the age where they would be able to utilize an escape ladder... but still we are required to have them. And in all honesty, it's pretty silly that we don't.
Our master bedroom would be fine to jump out of the window from, mostly because there is a bay window underneath that you can hang down and put your feet on, or if you had to jump straight out, you would land in a flower bed that has a few feet deep of top soil so it's like jumping into a snow pile (sort of). The other two bedrooms don't have as cozy of an escape route, so we definitely don't mind springing for $30 a pop escape ladders. If (God forbid) the house was on fire, you better believe that we wouldn't mind spending every last penny we ever laid our fingers on to ensure that we got out safely... so there is no reason whatsoever to scrimp on safety.
The licensing worker who lead the class went over each of the forms that we would be required to fill out and explained why in detail that each form needed to be fully filled out. To cover our tails when it comes to a problem, if there was ever a problem. Also to cover our tails as far as financially. She explained so many little scenarios that were super helpful and gave us things that we would need to do and watch out for, like never throwing any of the children's belongings away even if they are complete garbage, because their parents will want every single thing back when they go back home, so the best thing to do is just put it in a box and keep it safe until they go home.
I am so excited to go up north this weekend, but at the same time, I keep just wishing that I could stay home and get things set up around here. I am ready to be in a routine with kids and not just in the holding and waiting pattern. I know this situation that we are in involves a lot of patience and waiting, and I know all of this is in God's timing... but I would at least like to get some bedrooms set up.
My mom's bedroom in the basement is almost complete. We are almost at the point where we need to borrow our neighbor's table saw to cut the pieces of flooring to fit right around the edges. The floor looks great! We aren't going to have the trim up since we used up the rest of our budget on the floor itself, but the trim can go in any time. As soon as we are completely finished with the flooring, we just have to paint some of the trim (that as a matter of fact, might just wait until all of the rest of the trim goes in, I'm not sure. We also need to put in doorknobs and door stops. And then put the closet organizer thing in. And then move furniture!!