One of the challenges that has been enormous for us during our first foster care experience has been finding qualified baby-sitters.
In my state on an average Friday or Saturday night we would be expected to have a sitter who has passed 2 back round checks, been finger printed by the FBI and spent 4 full days in PRIDE training, done over two months, is over 18 and trained in CPR and First Aid. This is what my husband and I had to go through, along with about an inch of paper work to become foster parents.
Now I agree that we should have a well qualified sitter for our foster baby, but the above standards are almost unattainable for our family.
I have been surfing other foster care blogs and it seems that there are very different standards depending on the state you reside in. I must say I am majorly jealous of some of you who are in states where the standards for baby-sitters are more realistic.
I would be hard pressed to find any sitter who would meet the above standards with the exception of another qualified foster parent. I only know 3 other foster parents and they all have their hands full with their own foster children. It is not easy for a Mom of 4 to come over to my house to baby-sit on a Friday night.
We have stayed home every weekend that we have had E---. I feel such a sense of happiness and freedom when Mike is home on the weekend and I can do back to school shopping without a baby and stroller.
I was used to being able to leave my home whenever the need arose. My children are all old enough be home alone, and more often they are out with friends or at the Pool or school when I go out to run errands.
So, this foster care baby-sitter requirement has stopped me in my tracks.
I have to say I don't actually miss going out on the weekends, what I do miss is being able to run to the bank, grocery store or post office with out a car seat, baby and stroller involved. Although I do feel that for most single and married foster parents a night out every now and then is important to one's sanity and ability to be a loving, satisfied and happy foster parent.
It seems to me that these high baby-sitter standards are a deterrent to finding more foster parents.