Annie’s Havens began as a foster care agency specifically helping children with developmental and medical special needs. We have branched out in recent years to provide care for a broader spectrum of children.
Special needs children and youth still remain at the core of why we are involved in the child welfare sector. Our special needs foster homes have a phenomenal reputation. We continue to receive several referrals each week for children with developmental/physical challenges and medical issues.
It is difficult to find homes for special needs children. These children need committed caregivers with experience. We have a great training program but experience is key to understanding the issues involved.
Helpful backgrounds include nursing, personal support work or caring for a close family member. Annie’s Havens also provides Personal Support Workers (PSW) for kids with higher care needs. Support hours range from 15 to 60 hours per month. The per diem is $80 - $90 depending on experience, education and wheelchair accessibility (i.e. two (2) children @ $80/day multiplied by a thirty (30) day month = $4800 - or $58,400 per year).
- Mobility issues (wheelchair, walker, etc.)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Global Developmental Delays
- Tube/Intravenous Feeding (G-Tube, TPN)
- Medically Fragile
- Palliative Care
Often it's asked, "Do I need to have knowledge in all special needs?". No. It is not expected that parents be a “Swiss army knife” catering to all needs. Most referrals are for children
with autism and mobility issues. A therapeutic background in autism is an asset for kids with ASD. Wheelchair
accessible homes are required for kids with mobility issues. All other issues are discussed during recruitment
and in the home study. Kids who are medically fragile or palliative are the most difficult. They require
a massive commitment as they are frequently hospitalized.
Not all kids need support staff. Support is provided depending on how much intervention is needed for daily care.
An 8-year old needs diaper changes and is unable to feed herself would have a PSW, for example. Another example,
a 6-year old is developmentally delayed and needs help picking out his clothes and getting ready for school
would not have a PSW. There are other factors as well which are not covered in these examples.
Adoption takes a long time for special needs kids. The more severe the special needs, the longer it takes. Finding
adoptive parents is not realistic for some of our kids. Foster parents need to be prepared to care for the
kids over a much longer period of time than others.