Foster mom enraged at lawmakers' failures
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) —
The latest failure to pass a budget in the statehouse has angered people across Oklahoma as they face massive cuts to essential services.
The ADvantage waiver program, the in-home support waiver and money for families providing foster care could be on the chopping block.
DHS is trying to cut $69 million from their budget. That’s after $80 million in cuts in the last two years. Foster parents are wondering if lawmakers even care about their children.
“This is not what we started out to do,” says Kristin Moore. “This is not what our life goal and our life plan was.”
Moore describes fostering kids as a journey.
“These kids are scared,” she says of the youngsters they foster. “They don’t have a home. They don’t understand why they’re there.”
The journey is full of ups and downs.
“Every single day we have children in our lives that we don’t know what the outcome of their situation is going to be,” Moore says. “But for that day, for that moment, we are mom and dad.”
She and her husband even adopted children they previously fostered, and they’re currently fostering three more.
“They need us,” she says. “And that is something that I couldn’t have anticipated is how important our behavior and our reaction to them and what we were able to provide to them was going to be.”
She’s been watching the statehouse stumble over proposal after proposal.
“They’re hurting the lives of elderly,” she says. “Of the mentally challenged that are out there. But for me they’re hurting my family.”
The Moores get a monthly stipend and free childcare, among other things.
“Childcare would be upwards of $4,000 right now for us if we didn’t have that resource available to us,” she says.
Could she and her husband, who happens to be a teacher, afford to foster without help?
“Absolutely not,” she says. “And I don’t know of anyone who could.
Broken children come into their lives, snatched from neglect or abuse, and good foster parents want one thing.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve broken down in tears,” she says. “Because you just want to fix it.”
But without the funding from the legislature, she’d have to turn future kids away.
“We are real people that are doing a hard job that are loving children every day,” she says. “And they are literally hurting our ability to be able to save these children.”