Get out that #24 can o' Whoopa**!!!

  1. from the St. Petersburg Times
    http://stpetersburgtimes.com , 9/28/02

    Deadline today for foster kids to leave
    Supporters wait to see whether a foster family will be sued as a business by its homeowners association.
    By RYAN DAVIS, Times Staff Writer
    St. Petersburg Times
    published September 28, 2002


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Today marks the deadline imposed by Corinna and Steven Gourlay's neighborhood association for the couple to quit providing foster care.

    As word of the foster parents' predicament has spread, support has swelled, and so has concern among child welfare workers over the impact of a potential lawsuit.

    "If this becomes an issue where they get away with suing, it will just spark a whole big controversy about foster care" said Pam Gary, who works for the state-contracted agency that oversees foster care locally. "I have to spend countless hours calling, looking for homes that can take yet one more child."

    The Gourlays of Forest Lakes Estates near Port Richey have five foster children, as well as four other kids in their 1,700-square-foot home. According to their neighborhood association, foster care is a business. And deed restrictions prohibit businesses in Forest Lake Estates.

    A Sept. 18 letter from the association attorney gave the Gourlays 10 days "to take whatever steps are necessary to comply with the restrictions without legal action."

    The neighborhood association has given no indication that it plans to back down. If it receives no response from the Gourlays by today -- and the Gourlays said they have no plans to respond or to get rid of their children -- the association will decide whether to sue, said association attorney Donald Peyton.

    Association vice president Walt Lucas declined to comment Friday. He referred all questions to Peyton, who previously said the Gourlays appeared to be in it for the money.

    There are no complaints that the children have caused trouble in the neighborhood. At issue is the $2,028 a month the Gourlays receive from the state to care for the five children. The family said it spends the money on expenses, from food to vacations.

    "That's the stereotype," said state foster parent association president Suzanne Stevens, "that they're in it for the money. There is no money in foster care.

    "I would like to see them repair the damage to our walls and to our furniture."

    Pasco County has 310 foster children and 95 foster homes, according to Family Continuity Program, which is contracted by the state to oversee foster care in Pasco and Pinellas counties.

    "We just don't have enough homes for these kids," said Gary of Family Continuity.

    Tracy Stodart, Family Continuity's director of operations, said she doesn't see how the neighborhood association could possibly prevail -- she calls its threat to sue "ludicrous" -- but said the threat could have an impact.

    "It would be extremely unfortunate if folks who want to be foster parents now back off because they say, 'I don't know if my community supports me,' " Stodart said.

    If it proves possible for a deed restricted community to label foster families as businesses, the Legislature might need to rework the laws, said state Rep. Heather Fiorentino, R-New Port Richey, who represents Forest Lake Estates.

    "As long as the parents are doing a good job and the home has the capability of holding them, it's ludicrous to call it a business," Fiorentino said.

    Because of potential precedent of foster kids being banned from a deed restricted neighborhood, spokesman Owen Roach for the state Department of Children and Families said his agency likely would intervene if the association sues.

    Stodart said Family Continuity will provide legal assistance if the Gourlays can't find free help.

    But that shouldn't be a problem. Corinna Gourlay said she has already received pro bono offers from two lawyers, including former state lawmaker John Renke II.

    "To have an association view that as a business, first of all, that's not legally correct," Renke said. "Second of all, I think people in our society have to start having a heart."

    Local and state officials said they have never heard of a lawsuit being filed against a foster family on the grounds that it is a money-making operation.

    Jana Pitzer of Seminole County said her family came close to being sued in 1994. The association at her townhouse complex threatened her family, she said. Her husband, a real estate agent, responded by reading laws to the group. It backed off.

    Therese Morelli, 45, of Forest Lakes Estates said she hopes her neighborhood does the same. She said many residents support the Gourlays.

    "A majority of the neighbors," she said, "are very embarrassed."

    -- Ryan Davis covers social services and police news in Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245, or toll free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245. His e-mail address is rdavis@sptimes.com.
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   Sleepyeyes
    Humph!!
    Some people!!
    Calling $2000 a month for 5 kids a BUSINESS??!!
    The Association told the family to either move or give up the kids.
    And they had 10 days to comply.

    What do you think about this situation and how it's being handled??? (And what kind of 'person' would even think this was a problem, anyhow????)
  4. by   Lausana
    2000/5 foster kids, 11 people living in a 1700 sq ft home? If they were running a "business" they certainly aren't making any money. This just makes me sad, and embarrassed that there are human beings like those neighbors out there.

    I certainly hope no neighbors have a garage sale or a tupperware party, or God forbid regularly sell Avon from their home...

    I hope they don't comply, and that they courts squash this crap as soon as it gets to them.
  5. by   Rustyhammer
    What a bundh of BULL!
    Somebody's karma is going to catch up to them.
    -Russell
  6. by   ptnurse
    How sad that there actually exists in this world people with nothing better to do than harrass little kids. These kids have obviously already had a hard time in life or they would not be in foster care. The nerve of some people!!
  7. by   Robin61970
    What a load of CRAP!!!!
  8. by   BadBird
    That mentality seems to rum rampant in Fl, one of the many reasons I am glad I moved out of that state. The "Condo Commandos" mentality! Probably a bunch of old grumpy retirees with nothing else to do but complain about a family situation that works. I have seen first hand many bitter retirees whose family come to visit maybe once every 3 years (they can't stand them, as a daughter said to me), bored from retirement or widowment and bitter at the world. I truly believe they are only happy making others miserable. Poor kids, god bless the foster families!
  9. by   kittyw
    Come on... taking in some children isn't a business!!! Do they have a business license??? What a load of crap. They ought to be grateful that some families are willing to open up their hearts and homes for these needy children.

    Kitty
  10. by   Sleepyeyes
    ok, folks--here's more==

    Neighborhood wants foster family to get rid of children

    http://wtsp.com/news/news.aspx?storyid=116

    Port Richey - A neighborhood association is threatening to sue a couple if they don't kick out the five foster children they're caring for.
    An attorney for the association says the family is breaking the rules by operating a profit-making business.

    The kids range in age from two to 14. The state's child-welfare agency sees it differently. The agency says Steven and Corrine Gourlay are one of the few families that want foster children, the kids nobody else will take.

    The Gourlay's have three children of their own.
    They say they aren't making a profit. He's a grocery truck driver and makes about 40-thousand dollars a year.

    His wife is an unemployed licensed practical nurse. She says she spends most her days driving the children to their assorted therapy appointments.

    The state pays the Gourlay's a little more than two thousand dollars a month or about four hundred dollars per child.



    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
  11. by   Sleepyeyes
    I'm not sure if I'm madder that this is happening to these folks because she's a nurse, they are doing some children a wonderful service as well as providing for their own, or because I have a lotta kids myself.

    Whatever....
    In this area, working private duty could net her way more than $2000 a month...

    I'm glad I haven't lost my grip on common sense like these Homeowners Association folks apparently have.
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Sep 28, '02
  12. by   Rustyhammer
    Sleepy,
    I can't figure out your avitar. Is that a guy falling off a mountain?
    -Russell
  13. by   Sleepyeyes
    ooo,,,, i wondered if you could tell.... here's the real deal




    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Sep 29, '02
  14. by   DebsZoo
    Oh, I could type a book on this.
    Let's look at some bare $$$$$ facts:
    When you increase your home by ONE child, your food bill is usually up by 1/3, and, if a baby, figure in diapers and formula.
    Your electric goes up, more laundry to wash and dry (water bill too, plus extra to heat that water to wash the whites correctly)
    Clothing bills go higher, as we all know, children do NOT stay the same size for long at all.
    Basic needs, paper products, cleaning supplies, safety items for the house........all go up.
    Gas for every trip to the county offices for that "have to be there" meeting, once, twice, often more a month..........
    every trip to Dr.s, therapists, birth family visits..........any trip deemed necessary by the county you provide foster care for.............
    Added mechanical bills to keep those cars needed for those trip in safe repair............................
    And extra car seats (nope, they don't just fall out of the air)





    Money being profited in foster care????
    Where were these people born?????????

    Beyond belief, that people could actually call fostering a business.........


    Sad, sad, sad....................







    Sorry for the rants...........................have fostered for 15 years here.............and so often, the same has been said........if you haven't been there, how could they possibly know, or understand?

    It's called love.................compassion.......desire to make life a little different for a child..........and in the process, gain the knowledge, that maybe, just maybe, you've contributed something good to one child's life.............

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