I am always being asked why more foster parents do not want to care for infants or young toddlers. There is not an easy answer to this question. There are a number of reasons why a foster family may not take babies.
A number of babies in foster care are drug babies. Drug babies need more care and attention than other babies. You will have a number of sleepless nights while rocking a continuously crying baby. You may be faced with a baby that becomes stiff when you are holding her or has major muscle tremors both due to drugs. Fostering drug babies can be a major family commitment. We received a newborn infant straight from the hospital at three days old. She was a drug baby and needed a lot of extra care. She did better with having contact with someone, so my oldest daughter and son helped with her a lot with rocking, swinging her in the cradle, or my daughter pacing back and forth with her. With all the extra care, we all got every attached to her quickly.
Infants can also be short term placements since more family members are more apt to want to care for an infant. Babies are also easier to get attached to for the foster families and the thought of letting go can be too much at times.
A foster parent will receive the same reimbursement for an infant as a school age child. That could mean if a foster parent does choose to foster an infant they will most likely end up having to cover a lot of expenses. You have to purchase clothing every few months, diapers, baby wipes, bottles, baby food, formula and all the other little baby things. Most foster families also have to purchase all the major baby equipment that infants need, which is a major expense. The major thing is child care for the foster families. Yes, some places do have limited funds for the cost of some day care expenses. These funds are limited, meaning not a guarantee! Most of the time there is a waiting list for the funds; the trying to find a daycare that will accept it can take time. If a foster family really needs the help with daycare due to working full time, then most likely they do not have the time to wait. Working through the system for daycare funding can be a lot of work and a headache.
Another big reason is that a number of foster families are a two parent income and have to be to make ends meet. All of the above issues can make it very difficult for foster families were both parents work to provide care for infants in foster care.
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