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More details on Family Foster Care provisions in Health Omnibus bill

by The Big E on April 15, 2013 · 1 comment

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My Mom wrote an email to Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester) about the Family Foster Care provisions in the Health omnibus bill. We are concerned because provisions in the original language would eliminate the arrangement my step brother enjoys. My step brother lives with a family in a foster care set up because he has Autism Spectrum and schizophrenia. And he’s doing really well in it. Click here to read the follow up post I wrote.
 
Rep. Norton replied and my Mom forwarded the email chain to me.
 
Norton, as well as my Representative (Susan Allen) who also sits on the Health and Human Services Committee, both want to assure anyone concerned that objectionable Family Foster Care provisions will be removed.

I’ll reverse the order and put them in chronological order.

 

I have a step-son who has a complicated diagnosis of high-functioning autism plus mental illness. He appears to function well, at the moment. He has been with the same family care provider since 2004 and in that time has made huge strides in his ability to manage.
 
However, Congress has mandated standards for corporate settings that house folks similar to my step-son. And our state legislators want to force family care-providers to follow these same standards. The price to install the standards is very high and will result in the loss of our family care providers and the loss of thousands of jobs.
 
Although corporate care is needed and the standards for that care are needed, my step-son is an example of one who would deteriorate if he were to be placed in a corporate setting due to several factors. The inconsistency of the main care provider and the lack of a genuine family setting would not allow him to reach his potential.
 
We need to STOP and have some public discussion of this. Perhaps our legislators don’t know how valuable these family care-providers are to families like mine, struggling with loved ones who are unable to function in society. These providers are also a bargain for the state.
 
Sincerely,
[My Mom]

Norton’s response:

 

We actually have a moratorium on corporate foster care homes and are encouraging more family settings! There are rules that all must follow to protect the residents and a year or more of input from providers have helped form many of the new rules.
 
Is there some particular issue you are concerned about? I can’t figure out exactly what you are reacting to. Can you provide some specific concern or rule that is particularly upsetting to you or your son so that I might understand better?
 
Thanks for the note. I hope to hear from you further-
 
Kim

My Mom replied:
 

Hi Kim,
According to my step-son’s foster care mom, the care of my step-son will not be jeopardized. However, when the other young man moves on, she will not be able to afford the fees that the new rules say that she will have to pay in order to continue providing family foster care. Her name is Diana McCann and I believe that she has written to you about her concerns. What worries me is that many foster care homes won’t be able to continue because of the fees; I believe she was talking about thousands of dollars that these families can’t come up with.
 
She and, I assume, the other care providers aren’t concerned with meeting requirements as they already do that and plan to continue to do that. They are overseen by social workers, therapists, etc. And these homes only have a few residents in each so it’s not like corporate housing.
 
That’s my worry as that high fees and complicated standards will drive away these wonderful providers of care.
 
Thanks,
[My Mom]

Norton’s reply:

 

That makes sense, now.
 
There are changes coming, but there’s also a lot of misunderstanding out there. There is a 1% limit on any increases, for instance. SO much education will have to go on and if the federally required changes don’t work, we’ll make adjustments.
 
Thanks for note. I’ll pass along the concerns to others as we continue to work on the right language and rules.

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