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WIC question -- more of a morality issue than a financial one

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 

We are getting licensed to do foster care, hoping for a baby we can eventually adopt. We are doing reasonably well financially, but would like to stay in the "reasonably well" category by not incurring thousands in adoption fees.

 

I know that whatever child is placed in our will be eligible for WIC and maybe other benefits. My question is, is it wrong to collect on WIC for the child, and then donate whatever we get in the form of diapers or formula that we don't need (we use cloth diapers and have a friend who may be able to pump for us if we can time it right)? It seems like stealing, even if it is going to be donated to a women's shelter/food bank instead of being sold for profit. But then, people who need the food bank/shelters are often in need of state-sponsored assistance anyway (even if they don't actually receive it), so it's a wash, right? WWYD?

post #2 of 60

You won't get diapers from WIC.

 

There may be a way you can get something else from WIC, if you explain that you do not use formula and that you won't be able to breastfeed. And you'll only get formula for the first year, anyway, and then you'll start getting food for the child. (Milk, cheese, etc.)

 

I don't think it's a bad thing to donate anything you don't use. It doesn't seem like stealing at all.  

post #3 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post
It seems like stealing ...


 

If it seems like stealing, it probably is stealing. Your gut is usually right.

 

I'm not completely clear on the situation. Are you collecting benefits simply to donate them or are you in need of some of them and donating the surplus? If you don't need something and aren't going to use it, then I do think it's wrong to collect. You would be taking resources away from people who need it and I don't think giving it to someone else who may also need it makes the situation right. If you want to decide who gets diapers, formula, etc., you should buy some with your own money to donate to whom you see fit. However, if you truly need some of the benefits, I don't think it's wrong to collect those. If you can't collect the benefits you need while also refusing those you don't, then I wouldn't consider it wrong to donate the unwanted extras that were forced upon you. I'm not sure how WIC works, so you'll have to excuse me if my assumptions are off.

post #4 of 60

I am vegan and get 32 quarts of soy milk a month as well as the other stuff and $16 of fresh fruits and veggies. The other stuff is cereal, bread and peanut butter, we sometimes keep the peanut butter.  My baby doesn't eat jar food so I don't see any reason to keep more than a few. I'll grab a jar if I know were going out and not going to eat so if he gets hungry he can have a snack, but other than that I give it all to the food bank. They also give me coupons with jars of meat on them even though I complain each time, I don't get that though.

So yeah, I don't know what they give 'formula' fed babies but for breast fed babies they start giving jars of food at six months. So you could probably get that depending on the age of the baby you adopt. Or maybe ask your friend who is going to donate milk to you if they could benefit from the WIC items even if they don't qualify!


Edited by mamayogibear - 6/25/11 at 7:14pm
post #5 of 60

WIC doesn't give out diapers.  You may not be "allowed" to give the baby donated breastmilk unless it is from a milk bank that tests donors and their milk.  I don't think it is stealing, you are getting benefits the baby is entitled to and it will help out on expenses quite a bit.

post #6 of 60

Outside of the morality of the situation, as PPs mentioned already, I would be surprised if a child placed in a foster situation would be okayed to be fed breastmilk that was not from an authorized milk bank. 

 

That said, I don't think it would be morally wrong, per se, but it doesn't make sense.  WIC is fairly easy to qualify for, so if you need it you can just get your own.  By taking it, and then just donating the items, you're basically just adding a step in the donation process, IMO.  I guess if you knew a family who really needed the help but did not qualify for some wierd reason, that could be moral?

post #7 of 60

I want to add that WIC isn't about "taking resources away from people who need it", in fact the opposite is true.  The more people who qualify and receive WIC the more money the government allocates to the program.

post #8 of 60

My daughter currently is a participant in the WIC program and when she was still breastfeeding/using organic baby formula I just didn't take the formula that was listed on the checks. The main purpose of WIC is to provide nutrition and nutritional advice for people at risk so in that sense, it might be best for people who qualify to actually participate in the program rather than receive formulas or food via an indirect process.

post #9 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

We are getting licensed to do foster care, hoping for a baby we can eventually adopt. We are doing reasonably well financially, but would like to stay in the "reasonably well" category by not incurring thousands in adoption fees.

 

I know that whatever child is placed in our will be eligible for WIC and maybe other benefits. My question is, is it wrong to collect on WIC for the child, and then donate whatever we get in the form of diapers or formula that we don't need (we use cloth diapers and have a friend who may be able to pump for us if we can time it right)? It seems like stealing, even if it is going to be donated to a women's shelter/food bank instead of being sold for profit. But then, people who need the food bank/shelters are often in need of state-sponsored assistance anyway (even if they don't actually receive it), so it's a wash, right? WWYD?

Ok, I may be off on some of this because it all varies so wildly:

-we've applying to be foster parents and would get a specific amount per day to help cover the cost of diapers and formula if the baby needs them. This doesn't happen everywhere, so call and ask.

-you're adopting from foster care which generally takes a while to happen. While the baby is still in foster care, you receive a monthly stipend. I've read about some places that continue to offer the monthly stipend for awhile after adoption. I guess this is to encourage adoption when a child needs a home instead of keeping them as foster children...

-The US gov't is offering huge incentives to help cover adoption fees. Found this with minimal googling, I assume it's right: http://taxes.about.com/od/deductionscredits/qt/adoptioncredit.htm and for Canada: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns300-350/313/menu-eng.html

 

I say if you qualify for WIC (not sure of the guidelines) and would USE IT, then go ahead, sign up. But I don't get the purpose if you're taking it just to donate? It seems odd... Also, while the baby is in foster care you probably WILL NOT be allowed to feed it donated breast milk without permission from the biomom. Once YOU are the legal parent, you can feed the baby whatever you want but I believe the process takes a while. 

 

Your best bet is to look into the adoption tax credit etc. WIC is small potatoes compared to the savings there. Again, I have NO idea if the above info applies to you because it varies so much. You should call your agency to find out more. I'm actually surprised it hasn't come up yet. 

 

 

post #10 of 60
Thread Starter 

Good point about the BM.... I never thought of that.

 

To clarify, *I* don't qualify for WIC. Income is too high. But b/c the baby will be in foster care, not legally a part of our family yet, the baby will be on WIC. When we adopted our son, he was in foster care and on WIC with his foster family. He was placed with us at 4 months, but adoption wasn't final til he was 2. It was a very clear-cut case, just had lots of court delays, but since we knew he was "ours" from the start, I didn't do WIC, even though I could have. The foster mom dumped a carload of formula, diapers and baby food on us, and said, "Here's his WIC allotment for the month." I didn't use most of it. But the way she presented it, I assumed the diapers were part of WIC; if they're not, she must have used her stipend on them.

 

We did get a monthly stipend for DS, which was ridiculous b/c a) we didn't "need" it (we tried to refuse it, but they couldn't "do that" so we put it in a savings account for him) and b) it's not nearly enough to pay for disposable diapers, wipes, AND clothes, even if you shop Walmart on sale. And the stipend decreases based on when they feel the baby should be off formula/starting solids, but none of that is relevant b/c WIC provides the food, not the stipend.

 

Anyway, it really made me feel for the families who do need these services, b/c they are clearly lacking in organization (at least they seem to be here -- as someone pointed out, it's different everywhere). And I'm sure that there are so many families who use the food bank but can't qualify for other services, so I thought it would be a good way to donate. We are doing fine, but it is hard to find money in our budget to buy stuff to donate.

post #11 of 60

delete

 

post #12 of 60

edited after re-reading post

post #13 of 60

In 99% percent of this country, you will be expected to give the baby formula. It's best to just accept that going in because it's the way it is and it's perfectly fine. You can not look at my children and tell that they drank formula as infants. You just can't. They are perfectly happy, healthy, and normal children.

 

In some places, you will be required to put, or keep) a foster child on WIC. It's not required here so we go off and on as my financial situation changes. I would definitely use it for formula. That stuff is expensive. After age one, brown rice, beans, whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortillas, etc are part of the WIC package. WIC is just part of the "compensation package" you get  when you foster a child under five years old. My kids are adopted and I'll receive post-adoption subsidy for each until their 18th birthdays. I would NEVER turn that down.

post #14 of 60

To answer the morality question, technically you aren't supposed to give away, or sell, anything you get from WIC. However, I used to end up with a ton of milk and have donated that to needy families before.

post #15 of 60

I always got everything WIC offered.  If we absolutely could not use it in time we would start passing it out to family and neighbors.  WIC is offering some really healthy stuff these days.  I would get what you can use and donate the money you save.  If you get a stipend you can just start a college/adoption fund for your baby.

 

Also I would not count on being able to give him breast milk.  My friend did a private adoption and could not give breastmilk to the baby until she left the hospital, even though the birth mom gave permission.  I do not know of any foster parent personally who has been allowed to give breastmilk.  You may need those vouchers for formula.

post #16 of 60
.
Edited by kristandthekids - 1/16/13 at 4:52pm
post #17 of 60

You do not have to take the items on the WIC  checks. We would never use 8 1/2 gallons of milk a month so I often just decline it. Like was mentioned above you can lose WIC by giving stuff away.

 

I would also be very careful (I know this has been said too) about giving the baby breastmilk until the baby is officially adopted. Otherwise you are likely to lose the chance to foster or adopt again if you are discovered.

post #18 of 60
I'd talk to your WIC counselor, get the check to reflect as much as possible the foods your family can actually use, and just not buy any inappropriate items s/he insists on putting on there. As others have said, formula is probably what you'll end up feeding your foster baby, so the WIC will come in handy. I would not donate WIC items as a habit, but if it's going to go bad before you use it, sure.

Our family just had a foster child for 8 days, and social services very quickly sent a check for $100 to cover initial expenses (it was his first time in the system). So I feel you on the hesitation to use the benefit. Even though I spent more than $100 outfitting J, it will be a cold day in hell before I take government money to pay for the things I bought him. They were gifts from us to him. Since we don't need the money, it feels so wrong to take it that I am giving the money to his new foster mother, who can buy him MORE clothes. BUT, if our next placement is longer-term, there will be nobody to hand the money to. We could not cash the checks like idiots, we could start a savings account for the child and risk the money disappearing if he is later placed with unscrupulous folks - or we could spend it on clothes and toys. I imagine I will spend it on clothes and toys. It will be HIS money, after all - not ours to accept or reject.
post #19 of 60
I wouldn't do it, only for the fact that receiving WIC is a huge PITA! Even if you get to skip ahead all of the application process, just receiving it is a pain. At least for me it was because you have to go to the office every 3rd month I think to pick up the checks (in between they mail them) and the scheduling never works, they are always behind so you sit in crowded, dirty, germ-filled rooms of grouchy people and then the WIC people were always rude. Also, you have to bring your child so they can weigh them, etc. I know at a year old they do a finger prick and I absolutely refused to let them do that just so I could get some free food. It isn't worth it! If you want to donate, then look for formula coupons that you can give away. You can sign up at all the formula websites for free cans and for coupons. Anyway, that is just my two cents! GL with the adoption!
post #20 of 60

It doesn't work that way every where.  We always had to go in, every month to pick up checks.   It usually took about 5 minutes.  Once every six months they would weigh the kids and get a food journal, do a finger poke (honestly, i liked having this information and I feel a finger poke was a small price to pay for free food.  But I needed it.)  We had to meet with a dietitian once.  That actually did suck but that was still only about 15 minutes.    The offices were clean and the staff was friendly (but I didn't rock the boat much and tried to be pleasant.  I know they must hate their job most days).  I actually enjoyed and appreciated WIC so much that I have thought about going back to school for social work and/or nutrition in hopes of working in a WIC office. 

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