Coupons for Kids in Foster Care

April 1, 2012 at 12:35 am 43 comments

Today I was watching this show on TV about people who collect tons of coupons and buy so much stuff, it is almost ridiculous.  In this show, the people get hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of items at the store, but only pay like $10 because they use coupons.  I didn’t quite get why the people wanted to store 100 jars of mayonaise and 500 toothbrushes,  instead of donating some of it to soup kitchens or shelters

As I watched this, I thought of a series of coupons that ALL foster kids need while being stuck in foster care…

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1)  Dump a Worker

This coupon entitles foster kids to dump workers that suck.  Those that are non-responsive, disappear, lie, are burnt-out, and don’t care.  This card can be used multiple times, especially since the longer a kid is in care, the greater the risk of getting workers that suck.

Workers that don’t return calls… use the coupon.  Workers that don’t do required visits… use the coupon.  Workers that do not follow through with things they promised …use the coupon.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to record how many coupons kids use on each worker?  Geez, that could tell alot…

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2) It Didn’t Happen

Since so many foster/adoptive parents are focused on a child’s behaviors, this coupon entitles foster kids to make a “mistake” that will be ignored.  Instead of yelling, punishing, or spreading negative energy at your child, completely ignore the “mistake.”  In instances where behaviors are truly inappropriate and corrective action is needed, this coupon could be a reminder to use creativity and methods that force “togetherness” instead of separation.  Foster children should be given a new coupon each new foster home and perhaps even a few to get through the first weeks in a new foster home…

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3) Dinner of Your Choice

This coupon allows foster kids to choose dinner for a night.  What a great way to make foster kids feel welcome and accepted!  When a child comes to a new home, frequently he/she is required to get used to the “new family’s” food.  This coupon requires the “new family” to try the foster child’s favorites.

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4)  STOP

This coupon can be used to STOP bad foster parents from hurting foster kids.  It almost has “magic” coupon powers, as pulling out the coupon automatically stops abuse.

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5) Free Advice

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I often ask for advice about “life things.”  Growing up, I never had the stability or trust in people that I could ask questions or ask advice.  This coupon entitles foster kids to get advice when needed.  Ideally there should be a 24-hour advice line that foster children have access to contact, if they did not feel secure enough to ask the other people in their lives…  Advice kids mostly need probably focuses on body development and image, sex, school work, and bio-family issues.

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6) Freedom

This coupon is like a “get out of jail free” card, except that it applies to foster homes.  Foster kids can use this card to get out of foster homes that suck.  Foster homes suck for a variety of reasons:  abuse, neglect, foster parents who shame children, foster parents that are not interested in a child,  foster parents who speak badly about the foster child or the biological family, foster parents who do not “click” with the child, etc.   This coupon can be used to choose to move.

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7) Avoid an Ass-Kicking

Every foster kid who gets the luck of winding up in a group home or RTC needs this coupon.  Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that these places are safe, they are not.  I have written about fuck closets and bathroom beatings before.  Newbies watch out!  Younger kids watch out!  If you have something others want, watch out!  This coupon is used to avoid ass-kicking, either from a group home/RTC or in a foster home.  Every time a child goes to a new foster home or a new group home or RTC, this coupon needs to be given.

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8)  Forever Family

For every kid in foster care… so they never have to feel like me…

.

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Foster Parents… Don’t Forget Finance 101 May is National Foster Care Month? …Do you CARE?

43 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Krista  |  April 1, 2012 at 12:46 am

    This is a brilliant post, LT! I just wish that these coupons weren’t needed.

    Reply
  • 2. KimB  |  April 1, 2012 at 12:56 am

    I agree with Krista! This is a great post and very creative. You have such a talent for getting messages across! 🙂

    Reply
  • 3. abbys momma  |  April 1, 2012 at 1:05 am

    You made such cool coupons! What a good artist you are- combining just the right visual and the right message.

    BTW if it makes you feel better many ‘extreme couponers’ do give stuff to the food shelves. I agree though about hoarding things like mustard- just plain nuts.

    Reply
  • 4. Lisa  |  April 1, 2012 at 1:58 am

    #1 is the best!
    I love how these give the foster child some control.

    Reply
  • 5. SusanEAC  |  April 1, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Brilliant!

    Reply
  • 6. ScarsRunDeep  |  April 1, 2012 at 2:32 am

    I know I wish I had those coupons when I was in the system. It would have been helpful in some hairy situations… LT, I have been reading your blog for half a year now and It helps me remember that there are some people out there who have gone through some shit like me. You have helped me because you can relate to me. Thank you. I’m glad I am not alone and your not alone either.

    Reply
  • 7. Cesarea  |  April 1, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Aaaah! LT, these are awesome.

    Reply
  • 8. Cookie  |  April 1, 2012 at 2:56 am

    These are excellent coupons, but like it was already mentioned, it’s sad that kids need these coupons. I wish the world was a kinder place.

    LT, you’re a very creative person, but you’re also very caring. Posts like this one show your care and concern for other kids in foster care…I read this post and see the shining light on your beautiful heart.

    Reply
  • 9. lee1978  |  April 1, 2012 at 7:26 am

    You are a very creative and amazing writer LT! And those coupons would be way more useful than 100 jars of mayo! (I can’t figure those shows out either!!)

    Reply
  • 10. YW  |  April 1, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Great, creative and sad post.. are you working with fosteragencies in your area ?/ I really think you should, I am so sure they can really use your help to improve fostercare in your area.. it maybe a small start but if you can help 1 kid to not go through what you went through how great would that be!
    if they have local MAPP classes maybe you can be a speaker at one of those classes.. maybe talk to KC if she can go with you or talk to dr Val if you are ready for something like this. you can teach so many not only your blog readers with your background your way of teaching and sharing your story, your life..
    take care LT.. keep those creative juices flowing ! You are an artist for sure.. do you paint or any other form of art? maybe take an art class or photography class? did you buy a camera yet?? take lots of pictures with your pets and have KC take pictures of YOU with your pets.. cant wait to hear about that..
    ciao
    YW

    Reply
  • 11. carlisle  |  April 1, 2012 at 11:48 am

    LT, your idea is brilliant. I read the coupon for dinner-of-your-choice, and I thought, that is exactly what is needed. You see, it has been my observation that many people, many parents, simply don’t know how to love. It is super weird, but it’s true. I’m not saying these people don’t need serious help,like therapy. But I think a coupon book for kids from parents is a great idea, because I think encouraging all kinds of nurturing is a good idea. To a certain extent, love is a learned behavior. Or at least expressing it is.
    Coupions could be given to new foster and adoptive parents, they could even be designed and put together in a little booklet and sold in toy stores or in any kind of children’s boutique. I think it would be a small investment of money with no overhead—super cheap to make—but could potentially pull in some decent cash. If the coupons were nice to look at by themselves, like as art, that’d be neat, parents could save them as a pleasant memory or put them in a photo album for the child or whatever. You could sell them in scrap-booking stores too.
    Just an idea. I think the possibilities are exciting.
    If you wanted me to, I could ask around, my dad and stepmom are in business for themselves. Maybe they’d have ideas on the business aspect.
    You could put a little note on the back about who you are, a little autobiography, another way of advocating for foster kids. Just like with any other kind of book.

    Reply
  • 12. Splintered  |  April 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Very cool. I so enjoy how you relate what is happening in your current life to the foster care system. This post, the poems, and the analogies, are all brilliant. Maybe you should go into advertising because you are gifted at using creative ways to get messages/ideas across to people! As others have said: good coupons, sad that they are needed.

    Reply
  • 13. Crumble  |  April 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Very create post – sad that these coupons are actually needed.

    I do have a question – should workers or anyone tell a child the truth about a parent? Should it be only when a child asks? Should someone try to explain what happened? Or just let it go?

    For example: if a mom disappeared with a new boyfriend and abandonned the child to be with this new man – what should the child be told?

    If Grandma is still in their lives (but can not take the children) but is a shit-disturber (for lack of a better word), and tells the children things about their foster family that isn’t true (let’s say in this case that the foster family really does care about the kids – genuinely, but Grandma is telling the kids that the foster family just wants the money etc). What do you tell the kids when Grandma trashes the family? What do you tell the kids when Grandma tells them that Mom is coming back, and she is trying hard to see them? (When that isn’t true, because Mom isn’t even in the same area anymore!).

    I know there are all sorts of factors, like age appropriateness etc… You said in this post that the bio family should not be put down… I get that. So what should workers/foster families/ etc tell the children if their Mom is a prostitue too strung out on drugs to fight for them?

    Sorry if this was not the proper place to ask this. I guess what I would love to know is how do we tell foster children the truth without hurting them, and should we tell them the whole truth? And should we go against what other people (like Grandma) may be saying? Should we tell them Grandma lies?

    This may be too complex and issue with too many variable to actually address. Please erase this comment if you feel that is best.

    Reply
    • 14. SM  |  July 12, 2012 at 5:41 am

      Tell them the truth. Lying to the kids or watering it down will only make them more hurt and angry. Don’t trash the bio parents, but be real. And remember- the case records and stuff aren’t always accurate, so if a kid tells you something, believe them (I know far more about my case than aby of my foster parents have- they dont really tell them abything in my county.) Be kind, and be gentle. I think you shoul definitely tell them something, and if they ask for more details, give them. How much do you like having information withheld from you? And in the Grandma lies thing… Yes. They might not believe you, but the kids deserve truth.

      Reply
  • 15. Foster Mom in Training  |  April 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I needed to know these things, LT. Thanks for sharing. I’m so sorry you experienced these things. 😦

    Reply
  • 16. Cheryl  |  April 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks, LT. This is a helpful post. 🙂

    Reply
  • 17. Mary  |  April 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Excellent!…This post belongs in every Foster Care Training Class!…
    xo

    Reply
  • 18. Ross  |  April 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Another AMAZING post as always. Thank you for your insight. Can I still your coupons idea and print some out, specially the food one to help my foster children feel more welcome???
    Thank you
    xoxo

    Reply
  • 19. Instant Mama  |  April 1, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Love this one…every single one. My kids and I would be especially be appreciative if we could have #1! You have such awesome ideas.

    Reply
  • 20. Dinah  |  April 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    So, you, LT, would limit sweets to 50% of the meal. I don’t believe that for a second!

    Reply
  • 21. Mom Meets Blog  |  April 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    What an amazing post! You are truly gifted and insightful. Great ideas!

    Reply
  • 22. hazy55  |  April 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Wow, what an interesting idea! I really like these. I can think of a worker who would have had a stack of coupons 😀
    I like the freedom coupon. The child gets to do the dumping and the foster parents have to feel the rejection. Interesting role reversal!

    Reply
  • 23. Grandma Tammy  |  April 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    LT don’t know how you do it. When each thing you posted on here made me laugh. God Bless you for this blog. I have my grandson read some of this stuff to see how some / or most live in foster care. He things CPS is wrong for doing this stuff to children. If life was so bad with the parents when why can’t they live with loving grandparents as he does.
    I can’t answer his question…but maybe you can help him to understand where are Everyone’s Grandparents.
    This question is from a 12 year old boy. Who is learning how lucky his life is with us. Thank you LT for this beautiful blog..If I was face to face with you..I would Hug the shit out of you.

    Hugs to all you foster children
    CPS let those children live with the grandparents please

    Reply
  • 24. michelle v  |  April 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    great post 🙂

    ♥ michelle

    Reply
  • 25. MamatoMany  |  April 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Great post…

    Reply
  • 26. Linka  |  April 1, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Genius, LT, pure genius! Blessings!

    Reply
  • 27. butterflysblog  |  April 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Sweet LT – this post is so true, and so sad because it is true. The graphics are really incredible in this post. I always knew you were talented, but wow. Very impressive! Yay LT!!!
    -Butterfly

    Reply
  • 28. Steph  |  April 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Love the concept!! These make me want to laugh and cry at the same time, thinking about how they are needed in a system that is meant to keep children safe. You need to write a book or self-help guide for people working and caring about foster children.

    Reply
  • 29. Concerned FM  |  April 2, 2012 at 1:18 am

    Awesome!

    Please don’t ever stop blogging. YOU are helping ME through a very difficult time after our foster children were taken away.

    Reply
  • 30. Becca  |  April 2, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Excellent post!

    Reply
  • 31. Toni  |  April 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

    LT, you are so creative! I love your blog and always look forward to your next post. I don’t comment much, because my words seem small compared to yours, but I read. The coupons I clip save money, the ones you created save pain and suffering!

    Reply
  • 32. JL  |  April 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    LT, I get the “seriousness” of this post, but it made me laugh out loud too. You do have a great sense of humor in the way you present things! I have a question for you. I don’t know if you’ll be able to answer, but my husband and I have just completed the foster parent training process, and could have children in our home in the next week.

    I want to know your thoughts on this: Our trainer emphasized the fact that the goal of foster care is to reuinte biological families if at all possible. So what are your thoughts on making a foster child feel welcomed, loved, wanted in our home while he/she waits to see if bio mom and/or dad can get it together? And if bio mom/dad are “bad” but working on getting their act together, how do we succesfully communicate our love and commitment, but our sincere desire to support the bio family staying intact? If you’ve got some thoughts, I’d love to see them. 🙂

    Reply
  • 33. maesie  |  April 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    i love these coupons and think they could be a great idea!
    Right now I’m a worker.. I may be burnt out, but I still care about my kids and make sure they have what they need… can you make another coupon for good workers to give to crappy workers who don’t do their jobs? I’m lucky to be at a good agency with workers who really care and put in the extra work to make sure our kids are taken care of, but I’ve met too many incompetent people.

    I’d like to share you post on my blog for foster parents to give to their kids – and see if my agency may be interested in enacting some of them.

    One day, when I’m a foster parent, I will print these out and give them to my kids.

    Reply
    • 34. LooneyTunes  |  April 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      i love it. workers policing other workers.
      i think being burnt out is part of the job… the turn-over rate is high. but its because the conditions are poor. seriously high case-loads with no restrictions, underpaid, some places lack mentoring, and not enough vacation for rejuvnation.
      working with hurt kids and messed up bio-parents and a variety of difference foster parents is hard.
      people can’t be at their best when they are stressed.

      you can use my posts.
      the only thing i ask is that the link to my blog is shared too, so that other people might come and read and comment, etc.
      peace

      Reply
  • 35. Heidi  |  April 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I LOVE THIS LT!!! I am gonna have to make some of these up and print them on real card stock. Its always nice to let kids once in awhile screw up without making it such a big deal, hell we all screw up even as adults and we usually know it and don’t need to be reminded of it. Oh and the advice and dinner is just a great communication tool…

    Reply
  • 36. SM  |  June 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I coulda used the get out of a bad foster home coupon a couple of times…
    I’ve never been sent to a group home…
    I would die…

    Reply
  • 37. Deborrah  |  February 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    wow…you said it all…
    I often wondered if I was the only one who felt these things when I was a f/child.

    Reply
  • 38. kristengordonKristen Gordon  |  November 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I am a new foster parent. ( Totally green ). Your blog is so helpful in reminding me how a child feels at my home. I know I can’t understand how it really feels if I have not experienced it first hand. Please keep posting. You are helping a lot of parents and children.

    Reply
  • 39. KimBehrenz  |  April 30, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I love these coupons and would like to share a few with prospective caregivers and my colleagues (I am an adoption social worker), with your permission.

    Reply
  • 40. Jessica  |  May 3, 2014 at 12:49 am

    It would be great if more foster parents spoke up about how bad these kida want to go home, but they dont cuz they’re getting paid. Just like the social workers all it is about the money. Believe me I know my babygirl is in foster care cuz of a false allegation and tells me that mom got mad, mom spanked me, mom throughout my toys. First of all im her mom and no one touches my kid im fed up with these horrible people!

    Reply
  • 41. VA  |  May 29, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    I’d love a set of coupons that I could actually give to a new foster child (if we ever do get to foster.) I’ve had trouble expressing myself/asking for things in the past, maybe a small book of coupons would be a cool icebreaker?

    Reply
  • 42. Madelene K. Dage  |  September 27, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Highly descriptive article, I loved that bit. Will there be a part 2?

    Reply
  • 43. daleenc  |  April 2, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Wow…this is an amazing post!!!

    Reply

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I know that means you can't take my writing without my permission. If you do, something can happen.
Plus, that is just a real shitty thing to do -- take someone's thoughts -- so don't do it!

I am happy if you want to use my writing to help those involved in the foster care system, but please, leave a comment asking if it is ok and letting me know.

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