DES MOINES, The Iowa Department of Human Services has changed course on two hot button issues for foster parents.
The first–a rule that would have required foster parents to pledge to vaccinate their biological children.
The second–a rule that would have prohibited foster parents from using corporal punishment on their own children.
“D.H.S. met with federal partners that they work with, and just assessed how they could change some of that wording and still keep kids safe,” Dawn Luetje, Director of Foster Care and Adoption for Lutheran Services of Iowa said.
Luetje says many foster parents were concerned the Department of Human Services was potentially infringing on their right to parent their own kids.
“By all means, most of the families were saying they don’t actually use physical discipline, but they didn’t want to have anybody just telling them that they had to discipline their own biological children in certain ways,” Luetje said.
Tonya Bauman with Building Blocks for Kids says corporal punishment can have long-lasting negative impacts on foster kids whether they receive or witness it.
“Children in the foster care system are already traumatized children, and that could be a further trigger, and could lead them to feel a bit more unsafe,” Bauman said.
The corporal punishment ban has since been revised. Foster parents can use corporal punishment on their own kids out of sight from their foster kids–a solution Bauman says is a step in the right direction for Iowa.
“You can’t really tell a parent how to parent their children. They’re going to do what they feel is best for their family. As long as it doesn’t provide a safety concern, then parents have to do what they feel is right,” Bauman said.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, visit https://lsiowa.org/foster-care-adoption/ for more information.