private vs. public

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quite a few people have spoken with us or we've read/heard general advice about going with a private agency vs. going with the county direct. I thought for awhile that maybe we had made a mistake going with the county instead. Maybe we have still, I don't know. But there are several reasons why I feel good about our decision to go directly with the county. The first is that the county is the only agency that is non-profit. Private foster agencies, private adoption agencies, even adoption lawyers - all of these people are for-profit organizations. The second reason is that the county will go to private foster agencies ONLY if there is no available placement among their own homes or homes in surrounding counties. So, just as in foster-adopt vs. straight adoption licensing, if we are licensed directly with the county, we will get first priority when it comes to placing kids. The third reason why I have an initial level of reticence with private foster care is that it costs 3-4 times as much to place a child through private foster care. Whereas the payment for a child placed through the county would be about $20/day, when they place through private agencies, they are paying something more like $80/day. This doesn't sit tremendously well with me when we're looking at a system already strapped, a bad economy, and the possibility that funding will lessen depending on the financial direction of the government.

There are some advantages to going with private foster care. The most important that I can see is that you get a higher level of personal care. You will have your own case worker in addition to the child's case worker. You may be much more likely to get personal visits, prompt call-backs, etc. That extra money the county is paying to the agency is clearly going to pay for extra services which are provided to the families. Also, one of the primary places that I see private foster care playing a tremendously beneficial role in is with children who have more special needs - emotional, medical, whatever. In that case, the families who agree to take on the really hard cases will definitely need any extra support they can get. But in my case, at least the way I'm feeling right now - I'm more willing to fight with the system and take less personal service if that means that the county can save some money and hopefully provide needed services to the families that they care for. We'll see if my opinion changes as we continue this... :)

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I haven't read in awhile. Something reminded me this morning and it was nice catching up on all your posts.
    I wanted to tell you that my parents would have lots of information for you about having kids at home while keeping foster kids. They probably also have some wisdom with some of the adoption issues. Anyway, hope you guys are well!


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