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Monday, August 13, 2012

A Frustrating Fostering Rule

In the state of Arizona, you cannot be a foster family, unless you have completely vaccinated your own children.  You can agree to fully vaccinate your foster children, but unless you fully vaccinate your own children, you can't foster.  Period.  There are no exceptions, so even if you do not fully vaccinate because your child had an adverse reaction, it doesn't matter, you still cannot foster.  There are supposed to be a few exemptions, but based on what we have been being told from case workers and DES workers, they are not seeing any being made.

According to the article I will link to below, the reasoning behind the rule is because they want to limit exposure to diseases for foster children.  The problem I see with this is that, if the vaccinations the foster children are receiving are working, they can't catch anything from unvaccinated children anyway.  The other problem I have with this is that any child who goes to daycare or school, where they do allow vaccine exemptions, or the grocery store, or the doctor's office, or the park or the... well, you get the picture... can be exposed to a countless number of things.  There is always potential for them to be exposed to something, because you cannot keep them in a bubble.

There are, quite literally, children sleeping in CPS offices because they don't have any place for them to go.  The number of kids in foster care have gone up 20% while the number of adoptions through DES have gone down 35% in the past 2 years.  These kids NEED families.  I, personally, know of 3 families that want to foster, but are being turned away because of the rules about vaccinations.  These are loving, caring, and amazing families that WANT these children, and are being told no.   Some of them have even fostered in Arizona previously, but let their license expire, and can't get in under the current rules.  This really saddens me.  Though we are getting close to bring our Ramya home, I always thought that one day way down the line we may foster.  We were vaccinating on a slower, selective schedule.  At this point, though, we don't feel comfortable continuing Madi's vaccines after her seizure.  We may not feel like this forever, but for right now, we're putting things on pause.  Because of this, we will never be allowed to foster, unless the rules change.

Here is an article from our local news station on the rule:

I know that there are lots of opinions and facts on vaccines, and no two people will probably ever agree on what is "right" or "wrong".  I do believe, though, that we are doing a big disservice to our children by keeping them out of families that want them.  I am planning to write a letter to DES and our local Representatives requesting that they reconsider the rule and allow non-vaccinating families to children in crisis situations, as long as they agree to keep the child they are fostering on the correct schedule (which all 3 families I know that were told "no" all said that they were willing to do).  No babies should be sleeping in CPS offices when there are families that want them! 

If you would like to write a letter as well, here is the information:


... and...

Clarence Carter, Director of DES
Fax: 602-542-5339


Andy and Kiara said...

I'm so glad you posted this! It only takes a couple minutes to type up a 2 sentence email to the head of DES. I hope a few readers are willing to do that. :)

Andy and Kiara said...

I'm so glad you posted this, Jamie! It only takes a couple minutes to type up a two-sentence email to the head of DES. I hope a few readers are open to doing that. :)

S. Edgar said...

Well said, this post sums up our feelings. We just received the bad news. I'm thinking a petition to get their attention.