Thursday, January 31, 2008

What the *&@%* are they thinking?

Okay, I know that's a bit of a drastic title. But I am just livid. Let me explain. I work part-time at a local foster care agency. I have worked in this field for about 5 1/2 years. I know that foster parents have one of the hardest jobs out there. They care for some of the most neglected, abused, abandoned children in our communities. They sacrifice a normal life for themselves and their biological children in order to serve the children who have had so many difficult experiences.

But that is not what I am upset about. I'm upset at Govenor Baldacci and the DHHS who are proposing DRASTIC cuts to the foster care and adoptive families. The state has a budget shortfall - I understand that. I also understand that there are a lot of ways to cut the budget, such as adminstratively and through unnecessary programs. But what the state is planning to do is to cut foster care reimbursement rates by 30%! Not to mention that they have already cut the respite and rec funds that took effect immediately.

Unfortunately, the state doesn't seem to recognize that cutting foster parent's reimbursement rates is going to do several things:

  1. Foster parents will either not take new placements and/or have to relinquish their current placements. This is not because foster parents are "in it for the money". It is because it requires money to support these children, many of whom have several mental and physical health issues related to their previous histories of abuse and neglect.
  2. As a result of the first event, more and more children will end up in residential, hospitalization, on the streets, or in correctional facilities. That, in the end, will cost the state hundreds of thousands of more dollars. The state says they will utilize kinship families more as well as "continue to support foster families" in ways other than financially. This falls on deaf ears when foster parents are experiencing the second cut within the past 4 years.
  3. Children who do remain in foster homes will have less support and intervention since many foster parents who currently stay at home to take care of these children will have to go get a full time job to survive. That means that the children will end up in day care and other places that really can't meet their needs. The foster parents are highly skilled, trained individuals who give so much of their lives for these children. So now, they are going to have to go out, get a job, and only be able to work with the children 2-3 hours in the evening instead of being available whenever the children need them. (Note: most of these foster families have one parent working while the other parent stays at home with the children due to the number of appointments and services the children have).
Even if you are not involved in foster care yourself, you probably know someone who has been a foster parent or who has adopted a child. These cuts are also affecting people who have adopted and received an adoption subsidy. They signed a contract with the state and now the state is changing that contract by lowering the subsidy. I encourage everyone to speak up and contact the state legislators who will be voting on this budget soon. Tomorrow there is a hearing at the State House and there will be testimony from foster parents and others involved in this situation. But the more people speak up and write to the decision makers, the more chance we have of making a change to this ridiculous budget proposal.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ever Have One of Those Weeks?

Have you ever had one of those weeks when nothing seems to go right? Yup, I have.

That's all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Working Out

So in my quest to work out 3 times a week, I had it all planned out to go to Planet Fitness today. I had packed my bag of clothes, brought my Access bar, and my ipod. I even remembered my earbuds, which I always seem to forget so I end up just staring up at the tvs without any sound while I work out.

I had a long day at work involving a lot of paperwork. It actually went by quite quickly and I got a lot accomplished. But my shoulder was sore the whole day and I just wanted to work out to help loosen up my muscles! So I drove to the gym after work, got out of my car and started walking towards the doors. Then I looked in my bag, which felt a little light. Well, that's when I realized I had forgotten something incredibly important - my sneakers! And it wasn't like I was wearing shoes that could work for the gym - I was wearing my black dress boots. Not gonna happen.

So I promptly turned around and went back to my car. I drove home and opted for one of my workout videos. Not the same, but at least I did something.

Lesson learned: Don't forget your sneakers when you got to the gym!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Moxie was lost... and now he's found!

Scott and I are at a marriage retreat this weekend, so our dogs are staying with other people. Mia is at my mom's, and Moxie is some wonderful people from our church's home. Last night, apparently they had friends over for dinner and Moxie had lots of fun playing with them. When they were leaving, Moxie and the other 2 dogs were outside. Well, when the friends started driving down the driveway, Moxie decided he had so much fun that he wanted them to stay. So he ran after them. And he ran and ran out the driveway. Ahhh!!

Scott R ran after him, but he was gone. Then Karen and Scott went looking for him until super late (or early in the morning). They called us this morning to tell us that Moxie was missing and they still hadn't found him. Well, I called home since our number is on Moxie's tag. Someone had called and said they found him, but it was not clear whether they were going to hold onto him or leave him by the road or what. So I tried calling the guy, but I couldn't reach him. We talked to Karen again and told her that, and she also called the local animal control to find out if anyone had turned him in.

Well, it was a rather emotional morning since I didn't really know if Moxie was okay or not - if he was out in the woods somewhere, laying beside the road, or safely inside someone's home. This afternoon while I was out in Camden, Karen called to say the guy had called back. Apparently they had taken him home and let him stay in a crate in their heated garage. They had also fed him!

I was soooo thankful that he is found!! Yay! I am so glad and now I don't have to worry anymore...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

SNOW Much Fun!

Anyone who lives in Maine knows how much snow we have right now. But for those of you who don't live here, it's A LOT! Here's a few pics of the fun we've been having with snow lately. (Note: Fun does not involve driving in the snow, shoveling the snow, or paying to be plowed out every other day!)