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A Bad Deal for Georgia's At-Risk Children

By       Message Eugene Elander     Permalink
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 Like Martin Luther King, Jr., in his famous 1963 speech at the Mall in Washington, my wife and I also have a dream -- but ours is much more modest than Dr. King's dream.  He dreamed of a day when America would be a nation of equality, justice, and fairness.  We dream of having a child in our home whom we can care for and nurture.

Neither dream has yet come to fulfillment -- and it appears that ours will not happen now, if ever.

In our case, unfortunately, the issue is primarily one of very low funding for the care of at-risk children in the State of Georgia.   Being basically retired with limited funds, we cannot take on the responsibilities of caregivers if we have to subsidize those duties.   In Georgia, that would definitely be required, as compensation for taking on an at-risk foster child is around fifteen dollars a day, which has to cover most expenses such as food, travel, and incidentals.   Some agencies have limited travel reimbursements, but the one we approached has no such provision. We could not break even on these arrangements, and are not in a position to subsidize them.   So, reluctantly, we've had to drop our child-care dream.   Meanwhile, Georgia has a drastic shortage of foster-care families.

 

The reimbursement level for at-risk foster children in Georgia is pretty much in line with the shameful wage paid for child labor in some Chinese factories, so perhaps Georgia should cut out the middlemen, so to speak, and ship its foster children to China where they can work for the peanuts now paid for their care here at home.   That does not seem like a good idea to us, but until a decent level of compensation is paid to those willing and able to provide excellent and compassionate care for those children, the State of Georgia has abdicated its responsibilities to and for them.   With the present State budget crisis, it is unlikely that such compensation will increase any time soon.    We wish the best of luck to Georgia's foster kids -- they will surely need it here in the Peach State.

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Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)
 

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