Did you know that there is a Foster Parent Bill of Rights? It was done by the National Foster Parent Association in 1973.
The rights are as outlined below…
Foster Parents have the right to:
1. Be treated with consideration, respect for personal dignity, and privacy.
2. Be included as a valued member of the service team.
3. Receive support services which assist in the care of the child in their home including an open and timely response from agency personnel.
4. Be informed of all information regarding the child that will impact their home or family life during the care of the foster child.advertisement5. Have input into the permanency plan for the child in their home.
6. Assurance of safety for their family member.
7. Assistance in dealing with family loss and separation when a child leaves their home.
8. Be informed of all agency policies and procedures that related to their role as foster care giver.
9. Receive training that will enhance their skills and ability to cope as foster care givers.
10. Be informed of how to receive services and reach personnel on a 24 hour day 7 days a week basis.
11. Be granted a reasonable plan for relief from the role of foster care giver.
12. Confidentiality regarding issues that arise in their foster family home.
13. Not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, race, color, creed, sex, national origins, age, or physical handicap.
14. Receive evaluation and feedback on their role of foster care giver.
That’s it. That’s all of it. While I’m glad that this bill exists, it is far to vague, and does not cover foster parents to the extent that they need. Let’s face it, the world has changed greatly since 1973.
This statistic from the National Foster Parent Association is frightening-
It is estimated that as of 1997 there was a 1 in 8 chance of having false abuse or neglect allegations made against foster and/or adoptive parents. This number is growing and in some areas of the nation has increased by as much as 400%.
Several states have decided to enact a state specific bill of rights.
• New Mexico
On the same website that you can read the basic bill of rights, they have the state specific ones as well.
A couple of years ago, I met a phenomenal lady. She had been trying to get a state specific bill of rights pushed through in Wisconsin for several years, with no luck. She had even written the document, and had presented it to legislators. It went nowhere.
She gave me the document she had written, and I have been trying for the past 2 years. I’m meeting with the same results she is. I have had a few politicians respond, and show interest, but I have not been able to get it past that.
If you are a foster parent, and your state needs to be protecting foster parents, tell your legislators.