Missouri Proposes Adoption/Foster Care Subsidy Cuts
In an effort to curb state spending, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt is supporting cuts that could affect more than 4,000 Missouri adopted and foster children. The proposal would cut children's subsidies for families with incomes over twice the poverty level - but nowhere is the severity of the children's needs addressed in the initial report.

If this is indeed implemented, it could severely reduce the number of families who will be able to consider adopting and fostering children with special needs. With the critical shortage of adoptive and foster families in every state, it's hard to see how this move considers the best interest of children.

Joe Kroll, executive director of NACAC (North American Council on Adoptable Children) - one of the foremost advocates of adoption of children from the foster care system - is quoted as saying, ""It really is about the children's needs and we have to understand that financial solutions that look at adults' incomes and don't look at children's needs, don't make a lot of sense."

As a reminder, this is the same state (Missouri) that offers a [URL=http://forums.adoption.com/showthread.php?t=148846]$10,000 state tax credit[/URL] on in-state and out-of state (including international) special needs adoptions.
Missouri's budget cuts
I live in Missouri and for 15 years ran an home daycare. One of my clients was a foster mom of a child born with a drug addiction (birthmom was an addict). This foster mom went on to adopt this child and to this day receives a subsidy - funny thing is the child has NO medical problems from the birth addiction - she has NO learning problems in fact does exceptionally well in school. So why are the citizens of Missouri subsiding this family? Maybe a better solution would be to get a current medical evaluation and reduce accordingly.

I do not believe in a blanket cut but do believe there are families receiving tis money who do not need it.
Well I am going to be watching this closely. My boys were adopted from Missouri and the subsidy, although very small, has been a great help in finding the kids the resources they have needed.

Jen
before the debate begins
Before the debate begins I would like to state very clearly that I am NOT opposed to the subsidy as long as it is needed by the adoptive family for financial reasons and as long as there is some medical (either physical or emotion including learning) reason for the family to recieve it. The mom I spoke of in my early post does not financially need the assistance nor is there a medical reason for the child to receive it.

This is definitely a fine line for the state. I too will be watching closely.
I think the reality is that having kids adopted save Missourians a whole lot of money. The subsidy we get is a pittance to what it would cost the govt. to keep the kids in foster care. What was explained to us when we were informed of the subsidy agreement (after we agreed to adopt the boys without knowing there was a subsidy) is that the subsidy is to encourage families that might not otherwise consider adopting, to consider it because some of the financial brunt of parenting is bufferred.

Also, regarding special needs, many, many special needs are not apparent to outsiders. Attachment issues, behavioral issues etc may not be visible to acquantences, outsiders or even extended family members (if I had a penny for each time someone has said to me "Your kids are just so amazing considering their past" I would be rich).

Parenting drug exposed children is NOT the same as parenting non-drug exposed children. Also, some disabilities only come out as the children age, go through puberty or experience more difficult school related issues.

Pulling the subsidy now (which is much smaller than in some other states) is only going to hurt the kids and their families. Seems a strange response to me!

Jen
Not all emotional issues can be seen. As a adoptive parent in MO, I was asked not to work in order to adopt the children I took in and their subsidy was paid for that reason. These cuts will affect the care my children receive. These cuts will hurt the children and families in MO. In the long run, it will cost the system more. More kids will likely end up housed in group homes as their parents cannot meet there needs. Many of these children have so much emotional turmoil that they require a stay home parent. Cuts in subsidy will reduce the number of families able to do that.
The kids will receive less of the early interventions they needs and more will end up in the juvinile justice system again costing tax payers more money.
A child in a facility might cost the state as much as $300 to $400 a day where as that same child's adoptive family gets $360-$650 a month to care for the child. If the child needs 24/7 care emotionally or physically, which will cost the state more?
It's unethical to balance the state budget at the expense of children that have already suffered so much abuse and neglect. I think the Govenor can do better then that.

I urge all Mo voters to contact their senators and sign petitions to stop letting the government use children to solve their finacial problems.

Lucy
child's adoptive family gets $360-$650 a month to care for the child.


Wow! Wink Obviously I should of negotiated harder.

Jen Smile
[url]www.ProtectMoChildren.com[/url]

This site has more information on this change to Missouri subsidies.

Jen
I said $360, but I think it's $260 on the low end.
TV news reporting on Missouri parents
I am certain this issue will inflame parties on both side, but may I say how incensed I am at a news report I heard today.

The reporter stated (as I remember) that if this legislation is enacted, some (foster?) parents will not be adopting, with the inference that it is all about the money. Sounds like a veiled threat to me.

If logic can be applied to that statement, it sounds as if these adults think they are doing good for the kids, but whose "bottom line" is about their "bottom line".

So which is it: the money.......or the kids?
It IS about the kids, and ours will be affected if cuts are made. We adopted 2 under the age of 2, and went into it with an agreement with the state. Believe me, the subsidy is not enough to make or break us, but the daycare allowance is. We're looking at $1200 a month in daycare alone. I carry the insurance for our family and since my husband is a state employee he is also looking at potential cuts.

It may be easy to look at us and say, "you knew what you were getting into", but we did NOT go into fc to adopt, and while we couldn't love ALL four of our children more, we may have had to make the tough decision not to adopt without the agreement. That, IMO, would have been a tragedy for two children who knew no one but us as their family since birth. I partially blame the state to begin with for dragging these cases out for so long. We had prior fc's who went up for adoption and we chose not to adopt, but after nearly TWO years, we felt we had no other option....we were as attached to them as they were us.

In the end, I am very thankful that things worked out the way they did, and that we finalized before all of this. I may quit my job and stay home....then not only will our achildren qualify for Medicaid, but our bchildren will as well...AND we'll end up getting the subsidy after all. MO may be saving money in one category, but will increase spending in the long run if this passes.
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