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WIC question -- more of a morality issue than a financial one - Page 3

post #41 of 60

I am under the impression that while the child is a ward of the state (i.e. until the adoption is finalized) that they call some of the shots. I don't think you can (admit to) using donated bm. I donated bm to a mother who was fostering to adopt and she took the WIC formula because she didn't want to make waves. (And FYI, she pretty much spent all of her spare time assembling a huge network of donors. It was awe-inspiring.) But it might be different for straight adoption. Just, FYI.

 

I wouldn't personally take something unless I was going to use. Leftovers, fine. But dishonest behavior for charity is still dishonest. 

post #42 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

I am under the impression that while the child is a ward of the state (i.e. until the adoption is finalized) that they call some of the shots. I don't think you can (admit to) using donated bm. I donated bm to a mother who was fostering to adopt and she took the WIC formula because she didn't want to make waves. (And FYI, she pretty much spent all of her spare time assembling a huge network of donors. It was awe-inspiring.) But it might be different for straight adoption. Just, FYI.

 

I wouldn't personally take something unless I was going to use. Leftovers, fine. But dishonest behavior for charity is still dishonest. 



Wow.  That is fantastic that the baby got to have breast milk and very kind of you to donate.  I am really glad it all worked out for that mom and baby, but I would never ever suggest anyone do that.  The state calls ALL the shots until adoption as the legal guardian.  They can choose to immediately remove a child from a foster/pre-adoptive home if they find out about a child receiving breastmilk without approval/screening of the donor.  Many social workers and judges would consider this to be a serious health risk.  Having worked in adoption, I could see this being an extremely contentious issue.  I say this less in response to your post JudiAU, and more as a warning to foster parents who are considering using breastmilk without guardian approval--Do. not. do. it.  You are setting yourself up to have that child removed from your home.  Much better to continue to parent that child and use formula than use breastmilk and have them pulled from your home.  You cannot forget that the county can turn its back on children on a regular basis and make all sorts of plans to try to reunite children with biological parents and/or keep them in the homes of biological parents despite dangerous/unhealthy situation, but they are seldom willing to go to even .01% of the same lengths to keep a child in a foster/pre-adopt home if they have concerns. 

 

post #43 of 60

I have never heard of, nor can I imagine, any state allowing breastmilk to be given to foster kids. Donated, tested, or otherwise. While an infant in in the FC system, they are still their parent's child and their parents make medical decisions for them. You are also not allowed to nurse a foster child. You need to use formula for kids coming from foster care.

 

You will not get diapers, you will only be allowed to get formula and juice, sometimes babyfood/oatmeal. I think it's best to take what you need and not the rest. For us, we were given checks to use to pay for the food at the store, and I only ever cashed the part of the check which was for formula. I left the ones for juice and babyfood (we didn't give our FKs juice) and hoped the money would go back into the system for other kids.

post #44 of 60

 

Quote:
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.

Actually the stipend/reimbursement is not your FK's money. It's yours. There is a portion which must legally go to the child's clothing and personal expenses (here it's a about 1.50 per day) and the rest is your stipend for his care. You can bank it, spend it, whatever you want. Of course you should use it for the child's needs if necessarybut it's also perfectly moral to spend it on a TV or a car payment or whatever you want. It's a laughably low rate, considered on an hourly level, for caring for a child.

post #45 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

I don't want to get into personal finances, but that mystifies me. We got a whopping $40/month for DS when he was a baby. (I'm talking babies here, b/c we're hoping to foster/adopt a child under 2.) It may have been a little more ($50? $60 at best?) when he was tiny, but went down to under $40 by the time he was 18 months. His initial clothing allowance was $100, which more than covered his clothes for a few months, but I just don't see how that can cover disposable diapers, clothes every few months (especially shoes once they start walking -- and at that age the stipend drops), age-appropriate toys (especially b/c I don't want to buy a lot of toxic plastic garbage, even for a child who won't be staying with us), and whatever else the child needs. And yeah, once DS was 18 months, he did start classes that weren't free, etc. The stipend wouldn't even cover one of those classes, let alone also cover clothing and diapers for him.

 

So when I say "clothing and diapers" that's b/c that's all I see it being good for, if that. I have no concept of how anyone thinks they can foster for money and use the stipends for their family. It's not even enough to cover the kid(s) they're taking in!


in our state the stipend starts at roughly 500 per month and goes up to ~2000, based on medical needs.

 

post #46 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciascl View Post

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.

 



In NYC (perhaps it's different elsewhere), you MUST take all the items on your checks and you must use all checks. This may be a new rule, but it is current. I got a warning for not using one check for milk. I know I am supposed to use all of these items, but when the milk is too much I've given it to neighbors who have a lot of kids who are too old to qualify for WIC (and are quite poor).

post #47 of 60

Well if you have to take it what else can you do?

post #48 of 60

Also, it depends where you live, but in NYC you do not get diapers (though I have heard that some less scrupulous stores will let you buy diapers with WIC checks.. this is just a rumor, but it might explain the diapers the OP got). As I understand it, you do get whole grain bread or tortillas, cheese, milk, produce, whole grain cereals, and dried beans. This is once the child is off formula (or for a pregnant or breastfeeding mother). If you refuse the formula phase you won't get the other foods later. WIC in NYC does a lot to support breastfeeding, including providing free lactation consultants and breast pumps. 

 

I also think that if you don't use the checks for the formula (but do use other WIC benefits) it will possibly raise eyebrows and point to whatever you are attempting to do with donated breastmilk. As others have pointed out, the use of donated breastmilk for a child who is not your legal guardian might not be the best way to maintain foster parent custody. Also might not create the best case history for you as you move toward adoption.

post #49 of 60

This is more a post for people reading this later that are in these shoes than for the OP (who I hope won't mind the turns this thread is taking for the benefit of those that need the info--since the OP probably doesn't ;)  )
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

I am under the impression that while the child is a ward of the state (i.e. until the adoption is finalized) that they call some of the shots. I don't think you can (admit to) using donated bm.


While the child is a ward of the state, the state calls the shots.  Period.  The best you can do is to find a doctor that can document a reason for what you'd rather see done with the child when it comes to medication, etc. because you have absolutely zero rights.  Sad, but true.

 

But to the highlighted sentence: DO. NOT. DO. THIS.  Aside from the points APToddlerMama makes about your license being pulled immediately, please consider the welfare of the child in your care.  I know you THINK YOU ARE doing that by trying to get breastmilk into the child at all costs, but if you are not familiar with adopting a ward of the state then you seriously have no idea how you can be blindsided by a relative coming out of the woodwork when they find out this child will be no longer legally part of their family (and in truth, that might be the first time they know that's the case--or they would've stepped up sooner).

 

Think about what will happen to that child trying to transition from the breastmilk you've been giving them on the sly.  Think about what will happen if they have food allergies or reactions to the formula--and you don't have the time available with that child in your home to work it out.  We have fostered infants.  Issues with changes in a formula are COMMON.  These infants have often been medicated while in the hospital--which can damage their gut--leaving them with digestive issues that just need some time and attention to work out.  Why set them up for that?

 

I nursed my bioson until he was 5yo and self-weaned.  I am VERY MUCH pro-bfing.  But I have an adopted daughter who was a SafeHaven baby and a ward of the state for the first 50 weeks of her life.  She is a formula baby and better attached, just as healthy and developmentally far more on target than my son was at her age.  Formula is not ideal, but it is not the end of the world.

post #50 of 60
Thread Starter 

No, I definitely don't mind a little veering, as many of you are providing some great information about your own knowledge/experiences. It's really helping me to formulate some different expectations for when the time comes, since my own experience is obviously very limited and quite different from the norm.

 

I WILL NOT give any baby breast milk without the permission of the child's caseworker/until adoption is final. I'm going to have to do a bit more thinking about using WIC for the baby, although I'm leaning more towards it now.

 

Something someone else said a few posts ago made me think: Is this like a government contract, where if you don't use the funds offered one year/quarter they're not offered the following year? I don't mean that if I personally don't use WIC at first I can't use it later. I mean, if there are lots of foster moms like me who don't use WIC for their foster kids, will the pot of funds allocated for the program in my state shrink next fiscal year, or will the money be used for other kids? If it's going to shrink the pot, I'm taking it! I don't want to see other families have a harder time getting aid b/c X% of foster kids aren't getting WIC, so there must not be a need for that money, so they'll just put it over in another budget, like for painting highway lane lines or something. I'm not even sure how you can find this out, but I'd love to know.

post #51 of 60


WIC is not one pot with some people not getting checks because there is not enough $$. It is under pressure for cuts, at the federal level, however. You can google this, it is one of the programs targeted by the GOP in current budget debates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

 

Something someone else said a few posts ago made me think: Is this like a government contract, where if you don't use the funds offered one year/quarter they're not offered the following year? I don't mean that if I personally don't use WIC at first I can't use it later. I mean, if there are lots of foster moms like me who don't use WIC for their foster kids, will the pot of funds allocated for the program in my state shrink next fiscal year, or will the money be used for other kids? If it's going to shrink the pot, I'm taking it! I don't want to see other families have a harder time getting aid b/c X% of foster kids aren't getting WIC, so there must not be a need for that money, so they'll just put it over in another budget, like for painting highway lane lines or something. I'm not even sure how you can find this out, but I'd love to know.



 

post #52 of 60
Thread Starter 

I don't mean some people don't get checks, I mean if the government is keeping track of how many kids/families are in need v how many are accepting assistance, will the amount families are receiving decrease next budget year b/c they see "less need?" I would hate to think that families who are counting on that $300/month or whatever they get this year will be surprised by a reduction next year.

post #53 of 60

First, the checks are for specific food items (WIC is also an agricultural subsidy), not directly for cash amounts. Second, the threats to the WIC budget are more political than anything else, the whole program is under attack. Not because people in need are not using it, but because parts of the govt are pushing to cut large areas of social programming specifically of benefit to low income / working women and families. Medicaid is also up for substantial cuts (as are children's medicaid and child insurance programs). The amount of use these get is irrelevant to the likelihood that they will be cut.

 

My point was, you taking the benefits DOES NOT mean someone else can't get them (it's not a limited resource in that way). Nor does you taking them show demand for the benefits and support the ongoing existence of these programs for all families. The only way you can affect the ongoing existence of programs like WIC and their ongoing support for low income families, is through political action (vote, contact your representative). 

 

On an individual level, however, it's easy to be kicked out of the program for not following rules (because there is a lot of pressure to keep systemic costs down in WIC within each state). You can be dropped for pretty much breaking any of the rules (missing meetings, not using checks, TALKING ABOUT giving away / selling foods). If you are on a formula program, you should follow it to the letter, that's what they care the most about. Giving a gallon of 1% milk here or there to the neighbors because you can't finish it is also a violation, but I'm not sure how likely one is to be caught... 

 

If you want to follow the spirit of the WIC program you will accept the checks, buy the food, and consume the foods offered within your household.

 

If you want to support the program and it's benefits to the poor, you will VOTE and be politically involved!

post #54 of 60

 I've never heard of anyione here being dropped for not using all of the vouchers or not getting everything on each voucher. That's probably specific to different areas.

 

Our WIC office is wonderful. The staff is knowledgeable, I don't have to take nutrition classes (I could probably teach those,) and I get what I need when we need it. I, as a foster parent, am not required to use it but I do a lot of the time. Adopted kids who get Medicaid are eligible for WIC according to the rules so when we need it (like now,) I'm happy to get it. My kids have a blast using the produce vouchers at the farmer's market.

post #55 of 60

Yes, I think the requirement to use all the checks is probably area-specific. It IS a requirement in NY. 


Edited by matte - 7/5/11 at 10:55am
post #56 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post





Wow.  That is fantastic that the baby got to have breast milk and very kind of you to donate.  I am really glad it all worked out for that mom and baby, but I would never ever suggest anyone do that.  The state calls ALL the shots until adoption as the legal guardian.  They can choose to immediately remove a child from a foster/pre-adoptive home if they find out about a child receiving breastmilk without approval/screening of the donor.  Many social workers and judges would consider this to be a serious health risk.  Having worked in adoption, I could see this being an extremely contentious issue.  I say this less in response to your post JudiAU, and more as a warning to foster parents who are considering using breastmilk without guardian approval--Do. not. do. it.  You are setting yourself up to have that child removed from your home.  Much better to continue to parent that child and use formula than use breastmilk and have them pulled from your home.  You cannot forget that the county can turn its back on children on a regular basis and make all sorts of plans to try to reunite children with biological parents and/or keep them in the homes of biological parents despite dangerous/unhealthy situation, but they are seldom willing to go to even .01% of the same lengths to keep a child in a foster/pre-adopt home if they have concerns. 

 


FYI- Just to be clear. I am not advocating doing anything that would place your placement at risk. I had milk, she asked for it, I gave it. I know she had the child as of birth and that he was drug exposed which he "wasn't supposed to be." I don't know what the circumstances of the adoption of or whether she should have been doing it. I heard about it as an issue with adoptions, later, and brought it up in that context.

 

 

post #57 of 60



That sounds horrid. My WIC office is always friendly and clean and I think I've only been there once when there was more than two other families. Matter of fact, the other day it was just me LOL. This is not in a ritzy area or anything, but it also isn't a city either. I think WIC offices probably vary a lot by location. It is only open 2 days a week though but one day has earlier appointment and the other day has later ones (closes at 7pm). Also, you pick up checks every 3 months and they give you a 3 month supply. You have the option of an iron test at your Dr or there (I imagine you can opt out but I don't and since I've never seen a kid cry or even blink from it I figure it isn't something I care to fight and I'd like to know if their iron is low anyway).

They are also well aware that I breastfed DS till he was over 4 and am still BFing DD at 14 months... and never gave me any crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlBoyGirl View Post

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 #58 of 60

WIC offices vary widely, depending on the state and the umbrella organization through which they're run. Sure, many of the nutritionists are bureaucratic and their "nutritional" advice is far from anything that I believe, but many others are extremely dedicated and well-informed, and make the sacrifice of working within the system in order to have the access to people who might otherwise not be exposed to more holistic viewpoints. (I know one WIC nutritionist who leads classes in babywearing, cloth diapering, yogurt making... and they are attended by moms who might not otherwise be exposed to this stuff) In my experience, as a mom receiving the benefits (mostly for the free breast pump) and then, for a time, working there, the priority of the people who work for WIC is to keep their numbers up and maximize their access to "at risk" families. They don't care how many of the checks you actually use or what you do with them, and while they can't officially condone your donating the stuff you won't use, when you think about it, the stuff they offer is mostly the stuff that our government heavily subsidizes, leading to surplus, anyway (conventional dairy and cheap grains- industries which are entirely propped up by subsidies). Why not let it go to families who might use it? I wouldn't ever use the formula- and I can't speak for whether you'll be able to offer breastmilk to your foster child- but whatever part of the package you're not going to use, why not just drop it at the food bank? (For a mom in great need, even if she's already on WIC, it's not going to cover all her food costs, and that stuff could make a big difference; also, WIC is only available to families who are here "legally", so for immigrants without legal status, those donations could also make a huge difference). Again, none of this is legitimate- I certainly wouldn't tell anyone "official" that I did this- but I do it myself, and if it's stealing, then it's "robin hood" style stealing and I'm okay with that. The government is already paying for big agriculture to grow these surpluses, WIC can only maintain it's funding by keeping it's numbers up, and I'm certainly okay with passing those surpluses on to the truly needy. What I've done is used the things that we'll use- the vegetable voucher, the cheese (you can actually get Cabot, which is RBGH free), the rice, and gratefully accepted their breastpump, and pass on the rest of it to people who need and more than we do and will use it.

A quick rundown of how the WIC program works now, because it's changed a little bit over the past year (I have no idea if the children's packages differ for foster families as part of the stipend)- they offer checks for food (the aforementioned conventional dairy stuff, cheap grains "cheapest available" eggs) as well as a few other things, the most valuable of which is a token $10 fruit-and-vegetable voucher) to the mom through pregnancy and the first six months of the baby's life- if the mom chooses to breastfeed, she receives a much larger food package, rather than formula, as well as unlimited free breastfeeding support. If the baby is formula fed, the mom still receives food for those six months, but less of it. The baby gets formula, and starts getting his own food checks starting at six months, when the mom is no longer eligible (even if she's nursing...), the baby continues to receive food until age five (but less- and far less than the pregnant moms).

 

post #59 of 60

WIC is great. Every little bit helps even $10 a month in fruits and veggies-organic allowed .

I would eat baby food myself because it is easy to carry and provide an instant fix to low blood sugar. I'll take the baby food but I wont feed that to my child. If you have to be out its easier than extra lunch to carry.

You dont have to buy everything on the wic coupon to start with.

It is a federal fund and and they made it hard to get here in MD. Whatever amount you don't purchase stays in the federal fund for other families. But if you want to donate that's good too because it isn't easy to qualify sometimes even if you need it and it is not emergency food. Some ppl are needy and cant provide all the proof they want to get aid. I have been there and have had to go without because of some bureaucratic BS. I went hungry. I had headaches. it was really hard. I was working too so i had to go through life hungry with a headache in my secret shame

post #60 of 60


In NYC WIC is available to people of any immigration status: no social security number is checked, and no ID is necessary.

 

Just FYI!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilbur View Post

WIC offices vary widely, depending on the state and the umbrella organization through which they're run. Sure, many of the nutritionists are bureaucratic and their "nutritional" advice is far from anything that I believe, but many others are extremely dedicated and well-informed, and make the sacrifice of working within the system in order to have the access to people who might otherwise not be exposed to more holistic viewpoints. (I know one WIC nutritionist who leads classes in babywearing, cloth diapering, yogurt making... and they are attended by moms who might not otherwise be exposed to this stuff) In my experience, as a mom receiving the benefits (mostly for the free breast pump) and then, for a time, working there, the priority of the people who work for WIC is to keep their numbers up and maximize their access to "at risk" families. They don't care how many of the checks you actually use or what you do with them, and while they can't officially condone your donating the stuff you won't use, when you think about it, the stuff they offer is mostly the stuff that our government heavily subsidizes, leading to surplus, anyway (conventional dairy and cheap grains- industries which are entirely propped up by subsidies). Why not let it go to families who might use it? I wouldn't ever use the formula- and I can't speak for whether you'll be able to offer breastmilk to your foster child- but whatever part of the package you're not going to use, why not just drop it at the food bank? (For a mom in great need, even if she's already on WIC, it's not going to cover all her food costs, and that stuff could make a big difference; also, WIC is only available to families who are here "legally", so for immigrants without legal status, those donations could also make a huge difference). Again, none of this is legitimate- I certainly wouldn't tell anyone "official" that I did this- but I do it myself, and if it's stealing, then it's "robin hood" style stealing and I'm okay with that. The government is already paying for big agriculture to grow these surpluses, WIC can only maintain it's funding by keeping it's numbers up, and I'm certainly okay with passing those surpluses on to the truly needy. What I've done is used the things that we'll use- the vegetable voucher, the cheese (you can actually get Cabot, which is RBGH free), the rice, and gratefully accepted their breastpump, and pass on the rest of it to people who need and more than we do and will use it.

A quick rundown of how the WIC program works now, because it's changed a little bit over the past year (I have no idea if the children's packages differ for foster families as part of the stipend)- they offer checks for food (the aforementioned conventional dairy stuff, cheap grains "cheapest available" eggs) as well as a few other things, the most valuable of which is a token $10 fruit-and-vegetable voucher) to the mom through pregnancy and the first six months of the baby's life- if the mom chooses to breastfeed, she receives a much larger food package, rather than formula, as well as unlimited free breastfeeding support. If the baby is formula fed, the mom still receives food for those six months, but less of it. The baby gets formula, and starts getting his own food checks starting at six months, when the mom is no longer eligible (even if she's nursing...), the baby continues to receive food until age five (but less- and far less than the pregnant moms).

 



 

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