Friday, February 18, 2011

Foster Parent Friday - Don't you have crazy rules to follow?

I've heard a variety of these questions:
  • Don't you have crazy rules to follow?
  • I've heard you have to lock up your shampoo and stuff?
One question I haven't heard but wish more people asked:
  • You mean you have to double lock every medication in 3 different containers depending on medication type and so if you have to apply a cream 4 times a day you have to get into the double locked containers, unlock them, get the meds out, put the meds back, lock it and repeat 4 times a day? 
In general, the rules licensed homes have to follow aren't that bad once you get used to them, but yes, for sure, they definitely exist.  In Texas they are called "minimum standards" but there is nothing minimum about the size of the binder we have to hold them.  Minimum standards spell out everything from how you store medications and chemicals in your home to how often you feed the children in your home by age.  Most of the rules make perfect sense and should be recommended for every parent or home with children, standards like keeping weapons locked up and guns and ammunition locked up separately.  Other items can be a bit more nit picky - one that surprises some folks is that a licensed home cannot have a trampoline - other more strange things include the prohibition of johnny jump ups and the need to have a 1-1 ration when swimming with kids, who, by the way must wear a life jacket in more than 2 feet of water before they're 6 unless they're good swimmers.  (As a former life-guard and swim instructor I know it is nearly impossible to teach a child to become a good swimmer while they are wearing a life jacket, but I digress...).

Here are a few more minimum standards - summarized:
  • Medication Logs - you must complete a form that captures every medication you give the child, the dose, the day and time, the medication name, the strength, and who prescribed it each month and that must be submitted to the child's caseworker by the 10th day of the month and maintained in their records for 30 days.  Each dose given to the child needs to be recorded with the initials of the person who gave the medication.  This also applies to over-the-counter medication like tylenol or ibuprofen - which you must follow the dosing instructions on the package exactly - you can only stray if you have a prescription from the doctor.  Did I mention foster children tend to come into care ill?
  • You may not homeschool or put the children in private school.  Upon being of school age they must be enrolled in public school.
  • If a piece of baby gear is being used and it has a strap system of some sort, you must use it.  This makes sense for things like car seats but also applies to strollers (as the children age too), high chairs, and anything else with a safety harness system.
So yes, there are definitely rules to follow - they are so second nature to us now only 1 year in that it really isn't a problem.  The thing that we remind ourselves of is that every rule that is in there is there because it is needed - something happened that made them add each and every law, which is pretty scary if you think about it.

So, how do they know if you violate a minimum standard on a regular basis?  Sounds like a question for another Friday. 

And with that, I still made this in on Friday - with 18 minutes to spare.

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