Ok, from all my online reading and research, I'd say that at first glance, we have a pretty decent system in place. They were honest about what we'd be getting into and didn't do a lot of sugarcoating (imo) but from the sounds of it, things seem to be in place if we need help, they said we're allowed to refuse any kid we want if we feel we can't deal with it, that it's good to set clear boundaries for us and the kids so that they're not moved a lot etc. One person left during the meeting, a lot of people where surprised by some of the info and DH said he learned a lot.
The parents WOULD know where we live, look through our house to see where their kids are staying, come to pick them up for visits etc. They said it's very rare, but if the parents are angry/possibly dangerous then they'd keep that info confidential. If something happens where the parents won't bring the kids back after visits, are late, etc, there's supposed to be a number we can call 24/7 and they will deal with it. We don't get involved. We live in the country but have one nieghbour RIGHT beside us. Their house is 20 feet from ours. I'm feeling very grateful for that now!
As for the age old money question, it also looks decent. We're taking in kids under 5 years old so I focused on the rates for that age but they go up per group. The basic rate is just under $25/day. They said this amount is to be used for household expenses like gas, groceries, heat, electricity etc. Then the kid gets $5/day which is JUST for them. For older kids this could be an allowance (which the kids should sign for, to show they received it), it covers clothes etc. It can be given daily, weekly or saved up to go buy a winter wardrobe etc. But we have to show receipts proving this amount was spent on the child and everything that was bought with this money moves on with them. The social worker said that after awhile the kids may not need much (younger) and that one family had $400 saved up when the kid was ready to go home so the foster parents asked the kid's parents if they needed anything so ended up buying furniture and stuff for the kid's bedroom at home. I thought that was a great idea! Also, babies get $2/day for formula and $2/day for diapers. If they're on a more expensive formula due to health reasons, you just hand in your receipts and get reimbursed for the exact amount. This is what I mean by them being decent. Assuming it's easy enough to do without a lot of running around. Special needs are another rate increase.
I am relieved that they are so specific about the money. I feel like it's such a touchy subject and I'm glad that they have rules about where and how we're supposed to spend it. I know it sounds crazy but with the whole "they're doing it for the money" thing floating around, I feel anxious about where the line is, how much to spend on the kid vs how much towards bills that increase because they're in your home. I'm not saying we'll stick to JUST $5/day, but it's nice to have guidelines.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting so much money. I'm sure there will be times where we're spending our own money on this (getting set up, any special events, outings etc sort of above and beyond the normal day to day stuff) but I'm relieved about it too. I've always made less than DH and now that I don't work at all, I would feel guilty if we were constantly going in the hole because we're following my dream. This is all my old baggage, DH is fine with it!
So all in all, a very informative meeting. The next step is to fill out an application form that they'll mail. Who knows when I'll get it though, what with the postal strikes going on!
Quebec, Canada (added to have this post show up in searches!)