Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is WIC Worth It?

I've never bothered to apply for WIC with any of my other foster kiddos.  It always seemed like way more trouble than it was worth, but I thought I'd give it a try this time with Monkey.  Foster kiddos are automatically eligible, and you don't have to go through all of the income-verifying stuff, so why not?  So the week after Chunky Monkey arrived, I gave the WIC office a call to find out what I needed to do.

Gotta say, one thing I have noticed during my time as a foster parent is the way people treat you as soon as they find out.  Hospitals, doctors' offices, different agencies and organizations, and now the WIC office...  When I compare the way they treat me as a foster parent verses the way they treat the other people there, I feel bad for everyone else.  I'm sure part of it is that they don't want to make things too easy because there are many people who do take advantage of the system, but there are also people who legitimately need the help while they are doing everything they can to get back on their feet, and I hate seeing those people treated like poo on the bottom of someone's shoe.

Anyway, I digress...

When I called the WIC office, I told the woman who answered the phone that I was a foster parent who just got a 2-month-old baby boy and asked what I needed to do in order to get his benefits started.  Her tone changed immediately from hard and abrupt to helpful and conversational.  I told her about the question on the spelling of his last name, and she looked him up in the system to see if he was already receiving benefits.  She is the one who told me the correct spelling of his name!  She asked me to fax in his placement paperwork and said that she would call me back to schedule an appointment as soon as she got everything entered.  She called back in 5 minutes, and we made the appointment for the following morning!  Somehow, I get the feeling that it probably isn't quite that easy for everyone else...

So first thing the next morning, I loaded up Monkey and headed over to the WIC office.  We were a little early, so I made the drastic mistake of sitting down to wait.  My Facebook status that morning I believe was something along the lines of "First time I've decided to use WIC for a foster kiddo, and now I know why. The chairs are STICKY!!! I need another shower. :("  After some conversation with some of my friends, I had almost come to the conclusion that WIC might not be worth the extra money that I would need to spend in personal hygiene supplies and laundry detergent, but I decided to hold off on that decision for a little while and see it through for the month.

When they finally opened up and let us in, again they were very friendly and accommodating as soon as they found out I was a foster parent.  While I was waiting for them to finish up, a woman (maybe 20 years old) walked in with a 0,1,2, and 3-year-old!!!  She was carrying the baby in its carseat, and the 3-year-old was holding the hands of the 1 and 2.  Apparently, she was ten minutes late for her appointment.  I was the only other person in the office, and they told her "You're late.  You're going to have to reschedule."  Seriously?!?  Cut the girl some slack!  I was impressed the girl made it out of the house at all with all of those little kids!  Ten minutes late is NOTHING!  But again, I guess they don't want to make things too easy.  So she decided to sit there and "wait for a slot to open up" with all four little ones in a completely empty office. 

Gotta admit, I was pretty happy to get out of there with my little card and 2 1/2 months worth of WIC benefits for Monkey.  I had my online "assignment" to be completed before I go back in July in hand.  I do think it's a little silly that foster parents have to take the same classes as everyone else when it comes to WIC.  I mean, really?  I think foster parents have more training than just about anyone on the planet already!  Luckily, the WIC classes will count towards my yearly training requirements so I guess I won't complain too much.  But with the training classes and the sticky seats along with having to listen to the workers talk down to everyone else, I still wasn't sure it was going to be worth it.

And then I went to the grocery store and got $140 of formula absolutely free... 

Hmmm...  I can use coupons for the extra personal hygiene and laundry supplies.  WIC just might be worth it after all!!!  ;-)

9 comments:

CherubMamma said...

I used WIC for a little while with one of our foster kids many years ago. I ended up quitting it about 6 months into the program. Like you, I noticed how they treated everyone. I hated the two-faced approach. It really, really bothered me! Also, the additional health appointments became a pain in the neck. I was already taking my little guy for all his well-child checks. It seemed redundant to have to bring him to the WIC office for the same basic check.

It's a good program in theory. But it ended up not being worth it to me.

Penelope said...

We did it with Lil Bit since he was already in the system & Mom was receiving benefits although he lived with us. However, WIC denied us coverage when Lil Bit's order from removal supposedly "expired".

It was good while it lasted, especially for the formula. If we get another baby, we will probably apply, but not otherwise.

Carrie said...

WIC was a life saver for us when we were placed with four month old twins. We were saving $500 a month in formula!

Endless Love ~ Amazing Grace said...

We use WIC each time we have foster kids that meet the age.

Varner's of Frisco said...

Sounds like it is worth it to me. Here is a link to help you only spend $5.00 on the personal hygiene (includes tic tacs) http://thekrazycouponlady.com/2011/06/11/cvs-extreme-couponing-week-of-612-5-00-or-less/

MamaFoster said...

when we had all three little girls it was totally worth it. now that we are down to one i will probably stop once it expires. if we get a baby i will def. use it tho

Siggy said...

I didn't use WIC with our first foster baby because of "pride," and the fact that we do not financially need it. Then I realized that it's just a benefit for them like the Medicaid they're on or the board payment that buys their clothes, etc, and I sure as heck would not quit them from Medicaid, LOL!(We've had medical needs babies) I wish I could say that I've noticed I get treated better, but in my case, they treat me like crap, and I want to say "LOOK! Im not an ignorant person...Im a FOSTER MOM who has cared for more kids than all the women in this building put together, and I KNOW how to feed a baby, for pete's sake." I had an argument with the nutritionist about why I do not give apple juice to any of my children. According to her, they NEED a serving of fruit juice per day. (Really? A whole apple doesnt count?)

Honestly, though, the biggest reason I would quit going would be to not have to sit next to people complaining about how long they have to wait for their FREE food. We usually have to wait for 1-2 hours at appointment time, and while it is irritating, I don't complain, because free is free. Beggars cant be choosers, I say.

Diane said...

I have used WIC off and on for about 8 years depending upon the ages of my foster children. For infants under 1, the formula benefit is well worth it! I have experienced the "better" treatment at the WIC office you describe (but luckily not the sticky chairs). Some of the staff recognizes me and been very accommodating, especially once when I showed up the day before my appointment because I had written it down wrong. They have also cut me some slack on the required classes.

DannieA said...

where do you all live man? The WIC office Tigger goes to is very nice to everyone that walks through the door. Now there was one time where I was 10 min. late and I had to reschedule because it was one of those foster classes (they do segregate the classes by foster parents and the rest of the parents) and that was a pain, but other than that it helps out with some basics....way useful when formula is involved.

My only thing was that I'm too truthful, so I had to start lying about giving a bottle to my over 1 year old because they would give me a hard time...hello people, I'm hispanic albeit very americanized 1st generation born woman, I had my bottle til I was 6 and have never had a cavity in 33 years and counting, and so don't lecture me about a 16 mo old still taking morning and night bottles ok? She was able to drink from a straw during the day so there and I just took her to the dentist and she has perfect teeth :) ha ha!

I know this is an old post, but just wanted to comment. LOL I keep taking Tigger to WIC because she still qualifies due to her medi-cal insurance even though she is now my daughter...because they have my foster family number in the system so when I get another placement I won't have to re-do everything.

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