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The Iowa Department of Human Services sent out a letter late last week to the Des Moines area about new licensing requirements for foster parents in Iowa. The new rules will be effective Sept. 1, 2020.

The letter says the rules were modified in alignment with the federally mandated Family First Act.

Under foster care licensing rules, ALL children who are household members must be up-to-date on immunizations.

“Applicants must provide a written copy of an immunization record for each child in their home to their RRTS caseworker,” the document says. (RRTS means RecruitmentRetentionTraining and Support of Resource Families)

All household members who are caregivers must have up-to-date whooping cough vaccines unless contrary to the person’s health. Documentation will be required.

“Your Four Oaks/LSI caseworker will be reviewing the assurances agreement with you at your next face-to-face visit and will be effective Sept. 1, 2020. Each applicant will be required to initial each statement and sign the form. This will be done on a yearly basis moving forward.”

Other assurances included in the foster family assurances agreement include:

*We will not use any corporal or degrading punishment on ANY children in the home. Corporal punishment is any form of physical discipline in which a child is spanked, paddled or hit on any part of the body with a hand or instrument.
*Weapons must not be transported in any vehicle in which the child is riding unless the weapons are made inoperable and inaccessible.

“Iowa DHS and the RRTS Contractors agree the updated licensing standards are reasonable, achievable and will, most importantly, increase safety for children placed in foster homes,” the letter says.

Pastor Sam Jones of Hudson is a licensed foster parent in Iowa. He believes the new rules go too far.

“This is a significant attack on family liberty to be able to choose the ethical and moral upbringing of their own children,” Pastor Jones told The Iowa Standard.

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall