Now I realize that in many cases foster care is the only way to keep children safe but I also hear many stories from parents who, like me, felt pressured to place their children in care for reasons other than safety. Financial stress and medical costs tend to pop up often and I find myself wondering why the government isn’t doing more to keep families together in situations like that.
Alberta has a financial support program for people adopting certain children through foster care. I know that this is often a necessity since many children in care need additional resources to thrive but what about those children who aren’t in care for abuse or neglect? What about the children who are in care due to poverty or lack of resources for the natural family? I can’t say for sure that my son’s adoptive parents receive any financial supports for him but when I was pressured into signing the surrender I was told over and over how he was “too old” to be adopted by anyone other than his foster family and that if I refused to surrender he would be moved to another foster home and would be considered “unadoptable” due to his “advanced age”, he was 26 months at the time. According to the Alberta Child Services website The Supports for Permanency program has been put in place to ensure that families who wish to offer permanent, loving homes to children in care have the means to advocate for them and meet their unique needs. The program provides financial support to families who adopt or obtain private guardianship of children in permanent government care.
Available financial supports include:
- 100 per cent of basic foster care maintenance rates;
- additional needs funding of up to $70 per week to assist with the child’s emotional and behavioural needs;
- respite care of up to 576 hours per year;
- up to 10 counselling sessions per year;
- treatment of a child in a residential facility for up to 12 months; and
- reimbursement for the cost of transporting a First Nations child to the child’s band for the purpose of maintaining cultural ties.
- Adoptive parents and private guardians who currently have a Supports for Permanency agreement.
- All families who adopted or obtained private guardianship of a child in permanent government care after November 1, 2004.
- Parents who adopted a child between April 1, 1990 and November 1, 2004 and who have an “Acknowledgment of Special Needs” or a letter confirming the child they adopted has special needs.
These same supports do not apply to natural families when reunification is successful. How can that be? So if a stranger or foster family adopts the child they are entitled to financial support to offset the costs of raising a child with “special needs” but should the child be able to return to their natural family everyone is out of luck. Ahh bureaucraZy.
When I think that Jay’s parents may have been receiving financial aid to raise him my blood boils. Where was the financial assistance for US as a family unit? Where was the assistance to help him come home? The only financial assistance available to me was Welfare, for a limited time span of course. Adoptive parents can access all the same Government programs that I can if they qualify but they get this added bonus as well. Why is there no added bonus for keeping natural families intact? Surely it couldn’t have anything to do with adoption quotas or bonuses for social wreckers? Or could it?
Ponder that for a while. I lost my son due to poverty, poverty that could have been eradicated had I been given minimal community and financial supports for a limited time but they would rather pony up for 16 years than the 5 or less it would have taken me to finish some kind of training program and find gainful employment. Good job Alberta, I hope you also plan to pay for any therapy my son might need once he finds out how you ripped him out of his loving mother’s arms.