Mylissa Bode Washington 0

Repeal WAC Requiring Influenza Vaccination for Foster Families

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This petition isregarding the new WAC requiring foster parents and their immediate family members to receive the influenza vaccination.

As licensed foster families, wework really hard to get licensed and to technically comply with the rules of being licensed. Now there is a new WAC requiring that foster parents and all their immediate family members get the flu shot every year, while oddly enough social workers, visit transporters, and biological parents are not required to get the vaccine. The foster kids themselves do not even receive the vaccine unless approved by the social worker or biological parents. This makes no sense.

As licensed foster parents, we have already put a lot of energy and time into becoming licensed. For those of us with placements, it is a wonderful journey, but not one that comes without a price. Our families pay an emotional price when we bring these kids into our homes. If any of you are licensed and take kids yourselves, you understand this all too well. The time for all the appointments for these kids, the time spent away from our own families in our own homes teaching boundaries and structure and social skills, the emotional toll of stress and frustration with the system and the uncertainty takes its toll every day. Sometimes we wonder if it is even worth it; then we see these kids flourish before our eyes and realize that it is. However, when new requirements are adopted that go against our own beliefs, and especially ones that only we have to follow, it starts to tip the scale of not worth it.

We welcome these kids into our homes with lice, scabies, behavior issues, and zero immunizations themselves, and we are now required to get the flu vaccine which arguably is not even really a vaccination; it is an educated guess on what strand of flu will come out that year. If any group of people in this scenario are going to be the most burdened, you would think it should not be the ones volunteering their time, energy, and good parenting skills to help others. We are the ones the State has decided are competent to make decisions for these kids whose parents are unable. Yet, we are the only ones being micromanaged in doing so?

Some foster parents are now deciding whether to continue their license or not when this new WAC takes effect on January 11, three days from today. This is going to be a huge problem for the State if families choose to not receive this vaccination by the end of February when licenses will be pulled for non-compliance.

Where will these kids going to go when they get removed from foster homes that are now unlicensed? Why are we wasting resources for licensors to go back to licensed homes with placements or open beds for placements to make sure they all have their flu shots instead of them spending their valuable time licensing new homes? If we lose even one foster home because of this new WAC, we have failed these kids. If one new home does not get licensed because the already maxed out licensors have to go back and check for the flu vaccination in licensed homes instead of doing new home studies, we have failed these kids. This is an embarrassment and an unacceptable failure of the most precious thing we have, kids.

Please help us to do something about this new requirement taking place on Sunday, January 11, 2015 or this State may have a big problem on its hands come the end of February when homes will start to get unlicensed because of this new WAC.

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