Day 2: Medical/Licensing/Policy

Well if the title alone didn't turn you away, our most recent foster care class was all about the rules. What we can and can't do and say. And in an effort to keep this post a little interesting all while talking about a rather boring topic, I have decided to write mainly on the things in which the general population would perhaps find interesting.

Like for instance, did you know that as foster parents, we cannot cut the child's hair? We can maintain a hairstyle. But if a boy comes to you with hair to his shoulders, embrace you must. {However, I find long hair on a boy rather adorable.}

We are not permitted to talk about the reason's in which the child has come into care. So please, do not ask us. Because the answer will be something like "...because the child's parents are working through some issues...". Vague, I know. So please don't ask. 

Let's say that one of the children breaks a lamp. But you don't know which one did and no one is admitting fault. As a foster parent, we would not be permitted to punish all the children. Meaning, I couldn't send them all to their rooms as a direct punishment of the lamp being broken. That is called joint punishment and is not allowed.

No child over the age of two can sleep in the parents bedroom. Nor can the parent sleep in the bedroom with the child. I know that may seem like an obvious one, but how often do parents find their four year old asleep on the floor in their bedroom?

Only children of the same sex can share a bedroom. Each must have their own bed, and there must be at least 60 square feet of living space per child in the bedroom. Bedrooms must be a minimum of 80 square feet. 

All household cleaning supplies {including laundry supplies}, medicines, and any possibly hazardous household items must be under lock and key. No fancy cabinet latches. Luckily, they have these awesome magnet locks that are installed on the inside of cabinet doors that are considered lock and key. Some hazardous items that we didn't initially think about were the gas cans and the bottles of oil in the garage. Or the cans of paint in the basement. It's amazing how so many things can slip your mind as "hazardous" when they usually would not cause any worry. 

Within 30 days of the child being placed in your home, you are required to take them to a pediatrician for a well check. 

Any injury, no matter how small, requires an incident report to be filled out and must be reported to the case worker . A paper cut? Yep. A bruise? You know it. {And considering kids are prone to small injuries, it will probably turn into a nightly email.}

You actually can take the children on out of state vacations. Which really actually surprised me. Of course, you must get permission from the biological parents before you do so. We were informed that the biological parents are usually pretty reasonable when considering this. You are allowed to take the children overnight anywhere in the state without any permission. Everything from camping in the mountains to a weekend in St. George. 

We were just informed that because of our history of living out of state, our licensing may actually take up to two months longer. I know, super. But it's just a big reminder that they have put all of these policies in place because once upon a time, they didn't have them. And the foster care system was in shambles. And I will follow every single policy. And wait patiently for every piece of the licensing to come through because at least that means that the system, and every person involved, is doing their job to make sure that these kids are getting the best care possible in the worst possible situation.

{As a side note: Any examples above are purely for explanation of the policy/rule and are not necessarily something that we would/wouldn't do in our home.} 

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