4 Surprising Things You Can’t Do as an Urban Foster Parent

If you’re a foster parent, this list won’t surprise you. However, if you’re a mom who’s up-to-date on the latest parenting trends, it can be eye-opening to know that what some people think is essential to baby development, others see as a problem.

Here’s what’s not going to fly*:

1. Have a Montessori Bed

I have to admit, I want one.  I was lured into the idea by Laura Hartman’s blog “The Little Things We Do.”  I like the concept, the simplicity, and the idea of freedom. However, there’s no way my or any foster agency I know of would go for it. Mattresses on the floor make for sensational photography of foster children being neglected by their caretakers. It isn’t and won’t be an option.

2. Maintain your foster child on a gluten-free, corn syrup-free, no processed foods diet — or any kind of nutritional restrictions

Repeat after me, “At the foster agency she will be fed a Big Mac, a milkshake, curly fries, Doritos, and candy, candy and more candy.  I will support this.  It’s my job.”  While a child is at your house, you can prepare whatever healthy food you’d like, but you have to let go when it comes to family visits. I once had my 22-month-old vomiting after every visit from gorging on junk food, and the medical director’s response was, “Time to roll up your area rugs then.” In other words, I had to pick my battles … and this was one I wasn’t going to win.

3. Participate in a Preschool Co-op

My foster children are only allowed to be in other licensed foster homes without me, or in one of the state-approved daycare centers (where the highest rates of abuse are). My foster children will never be allowed to stay at your house for the day. The preschool would have to always be at my place.

4. Cloth Diapers

I would actually love to hear if there’s a foster parent out there who has gotten away with cloth diapers. Although I’ve never seen a rule in writing, it would be an issue. It would be an issue for the child’s family and the case workers. In fact, I’m getting a headache right now even thinking about the backlash to someone trying to show up to the foster agency with a baby in cloth diapers.

 *I can only speak to NYC, but I’m guessing there are some common trends across states.

More posts from Rebecca this month:

New Screen Time Rules For My Babies

4 Questions To Ask Your Child’s Case Worker Before They Leave

5 Lessons My City Babies Learned On Vacation

Free, “Let’s Play” App Released By National Nonprofit Zero To Three

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