Foster Care & Gun Ownership

Blogger Peter from Firearms & Freedom and his wife are currently going through approval to become a foster home, and he discovered an interesting requirement by the licensing agency for potential foster families in Wisconsin. They mandate that potential foster families sign a form that they will not actually carry their firearms, even if they are lawfully licensed to do so, while they have a foster child in their presence.

He has written to his state lawmakers about this issue since it seems a bit irrational that this agency considers the best place for a firearm to be out of the direct control of the owner.

Since my mom was a social worker for her entire career, I asked if she knew of any cases similar to this or related policies from Oklahoma or Virginia. She could not recall any kind of policy on this subject, especially since those who have undergone the multiple background checks are likely to be good homes for kids in need of one.

I find it interesting because this is a case where potential overreach by a social services agency in making this demand of gun owners could end up creating a more restrictive legislative policy that may not handle the sensitive nature of foster placement well. (And I have no issue with Peter seeking assistance from his lawmakers since the licensing agency is, in my opinion, overreaching on this issue with a blanket ban.) I wouldn’t be opposed if potential foster families were asked about their status as a gun owner because I do recognize that there are a handful of kids who workers probably wouldn’t want to place in that home. I also wouldn’t be opposed if social services agencies developed a general safety concerns manual/pamphlet and made potential families sign off that they have reviewed it, and it could include issues/concerns on firearms storage and possession in the home in the same manner that it might cover pool safety or any other safety issue. But telling gun owners that they shouldn’t ever possess their firearm for self- and (foster)family-defense while in the presence of a foster child isn’t the way the handle the situation.

8 thoughts on “Foster Care & Gun Ownership”

  1. The place across the street from me was a foster care home for a while. Judging from some of the thuglets that passed through it, the operators would be well advised to go armed.

  2. If you don’t get a foster kid before they’re 6 years old, you’re going end up with a broken and damaged kid who will never be right.

    1. And fortunately there are some people far less judgmental who have the opportunity to help out children in need.

      Look, I’m not ignoring the fact that many foster children do end up in quite a bit of trouble. But I also don’t believe in blanket statements like this because I know for a fact that there are plenty of cases where they are absolutely not true.

      1. Yeah, because the 6 years I worked for a social services agency I didn’t see the nightmares that well meaning (but misinformed) people went through when they fostered kids who were damaged beyond repair. That point of no return was right around 6 years old. Kids younger than 6 can still be molded into decent well behaved young adults. The ones older than 6 got bounced from house to house due to anger issues, running away, and criminal behavior.

        The Mennonite foster families we dealt with were the smartest ones, and also the most successful with the kids. They never took a foster kid who was older than 5 years old.

    2. The two most “broken and damaged” foster children we’ve ever had were 2 years old and 5 years old. I won’t go into what their specific issues were, except to say that one was a direct danger to our biological children.

      Most kids (foster or not) are pretty resilient, and can be helped to recover from nearly anything. To say they’ll “never be right” is shortsighted and dare-I-say highly inappropriate.

      As foster parents, we’re not therapists. Our job – according to our trainer – is two things: 1) provide, and 2) protect. Very simple things, but you’d be downright AMAZED what positive changes a little safety and consistency will bring out in these kids. Look up the “attachment cycle” to learn more (just a Google Images search should give you the idea). It helps the older kids, too, not just babies/toddlers.

  3. As foster parents undergoing certification, we were never asked if we own or keep firearms in the house. We had an in-home inspection, but it only covered areas the kids would be spending time in, and the safe is in another room.

    As I said in a comment above, our job is to provide and protect the kids. Sometimes that means protecting them from their biological parents, many of whom are substance abusers (not a blanket statement, just an observed fact). Imagine a meth-using parent who wants to take what you have, except that in this case it’s not money – it’s their kid.

    Thankfully, that’s a worst-case scenario, and even though we’ve dealt with too-curious (to the point of stalker-ish), irate parents, we’ve not had to deal with that. However, carrying a firearm isn’t about preparing for a sunny day in the park; it’s a worst-case scenario provision. Convincing yourself that “it can’t/won’t happen to me” is identical to the belief that “crime doesn’t happen here”. In the real world, you hope and pray it doesn’t, but you prepare for the possibility.

  4. So the State says NO GUNS ALLOWED if one has Foster Kids, but it’s Okay if there are Biological Children present?

    Someone better get this Trashed up there, before the Antis come out with a Bill Banning Firearms in the Home if there are ANY Children Present. They could argue “Well, we already HAVE Precedent because we Ban them from Foster Care Homes…”

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