Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Child's Future: Determined by Economics

Foster Abba, over at The Final Maze has been writing thought provoking posts on the cost of special needs adoption. They have been banging around my head, but nothing jelled until a friend made the comment that the services her RADling needed were available in her town. So why isn't the child receiving them? Their state medicaid won't pay for them and they can not pay out of pocket.

GB is getting exactly what she needs from the school district. Our school district is better than most local school districts, but the real reason GB is getting what she needs is that we could afford a lawyer, and paid her almost seven thousand of dollars. Until three months ago, all of GB's psychiatric care was paid out of pocket because nobody competent accepted ANY kind of insurance. Thousands of dollars. I don't know exactly how much because I didn't want to know and am fortunate enough to be in a position that the money was available. We recently switched the girls to a provider who accepts our insurance. She wasn't taking new patients, but with finesse (yes, me), persistence, and a little outside help, we eventually got them in. It only took seven months. She has just the right experience and I am thrilled. Until this morning, I hadn't given the fact that the provider she belongs to doesn't accept medicaid. GB's medicaid waiver was approved last week. I applied now so that as an adult she would be eligible for all the DDSO services. Now, she could receive pca and respite hours and  social groups. Even without the medicaid, GB would have these services. I want DDSO services for when I am no longer here to take care of her.

Where am I going with this? The way the system works now, a special needs child may be looking at two very different outcomes for their life, depending on how much money their adoptive family has to pay for private services. That is wrong on so many levels. Society is responsible for these children and when they take on this responsibility, they we take on the obligation to do it right.

I wrote this from the perspective of an adoptive parent. I haven't been a foster parent for many years, but as I reread what I wrote, the argument holds up for foster children as well. If we take a child from their biological family, we take on the responsibility  and obligation to do it right.

Economics should never determine a child's future. Society has an obligation to provide what each child needs.


Sunday Koffron said...

"I haven't been a foster parent for many years, but as I reread what I wrote, the argument holds up for foster children as well. If we take a child from their biological family, we take on the responsibility and obligation to do it right." - Exactly!

Last Mom said...

The psychiatric practice I want to take our daughter to (affiliated with the University of Florida) doesn't accept Medicaid. I was filling too pay full price out of pocket (even though we really can't afford any where near their $240 an hour!). They refused to see her as a private pay because she has Medicaid. Crazy, broken system!

Struggling to Stand said...

This applies to ALL special needs kids. Either parents can afford quality private-pay services that can allow a child to have a real chance at life, or they can't and the child absolutely looses.
Why should society help bio children who happen to have special needs? (I'm praying I won't get slammed for this.) If a society refuses to allow a woman to abort a disabled child, then it has the obligation to help support that child. If a society has created medical care that can save a body but leave a brain in total disarray and will put the parents in jail if those medical services are not used, then it has an obligation to help support that child. If a society is created wherin you must be fluent enough at math to have a checking account and you must have reaction times that allow you to cross the street safely, and you must be able to read and write well enough to fill out a job application or else you can't get enough money to prevent starvation, then that society has an obligation to support those who cannot meet those criteria. It used to be the village elders took a seriously disabled child away from the mom and through whatever means, that child did not live. Because society used to understand the stunningly huge burden a seriously disabled child placed on the entire community. Now we say "HA HA HA! God didn't like you! HA HA HA! You gotta live with it! HA HA HA! I'm so glad I am not you!"
Yes, I get very upset / pissed sometimes. And yes, I owe my life and my daughter's life to people who do not think the way our legislators do. But a handful of the kindest hearts in the world cannot help but a handful of the millions of people who need help.
But, really, I think it is funny/sad that y'all complain as if there was a share of the pie you could have had ... The CEOs and Wall Street Execs ate all the pie a long time ago. Ain't none left for anybody who actually needs it.

FosterAbba said...

Although I think that the goal of providing services to every child in need is a laudable goal, the reality is that taxpayers at the idea. People tend not to want to pay for services that do not directly benefit them.

It's certainly a troubling problem, and I wrote about on my blog this morning.