Emergency Placement Care providers offer a safe haven for children in need
December 18, 2012
The Emergency Placement Care program is always looking for new providers.
The process of becoming a provider entails a number of steps because it is necessary to protect the welfare of the children, but is not difficult, said Michelle Stosich, Family Advocacy Program manager for Wiesbaden Army Community Service.
EPC providers are people who provide 24-hour care in their homes for children who cannot be cared for by their natural family or legal guardian, Stosich said.
The idea of the program is to give children short-term care, generally not to exceed 90 days, until the situation warranting the placement is resolved or long-term care or placement can be arranged, Stosich said.
Many times parents need to stabilize their lives and receive education, Stosich said, and the children go back home to a much better life. "We see that happen, and it's rewarding," she said.
To become a provider, a person must meet the eligibility criteria, receive a background check, submit to a home evaluation and complete training requirements that include becoming certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Stosich said.
Providers must have installation access, be more than 21 years of age and be in good physical health, Stosich said. There is no requirement that providers be married.
Providers can live off post, but must live within the Department of Defense Dependents Schools bus system, Stosich said. Pets are also fine, and often can be therapeutic for children.
"We try to keep their lives as normalized as possible," Stosich said. "We try to have a minimal impact on their lives."
The program helps children who are infants through teenagers, and providers can tell the program manager which ages of children for whom they would prefer to care, Stosich said.
Some people are more comfortable taking care of younger children and some are more comfortable taking care of older children, Stosich said, and that is fine.
Without EPC providers, children who could not stay in their homes would have to enter the German social system, Stosich said.
The German officials who work in the social system always do a good job, but the language and cultural differences can make a stressful situation that much more difficult, Stosich said.
"We want to keep them in the community, and that's doing the best we can. If we didn't have EPC, we'd fail to do the best for our children," Stosich said.
EPC providers do not receive public recognition because of the confidential nature of the program, but they are an essential part of the community, Stosich said.
It is important that community members look out for abused and neglected children, Stosich said.
Anyone who suspects neglect or abuse should contact the Military Police, Stosich said. The Military Police emergency number is mil 114 or civ (0611) 705-114. The nonemergency number for the Military Police is mil 337-5096 or mil 337-5097 or civ (0611) 705-5096 or (0611) 705-5097.
One sign of abuse is bruises in places that children do not usually receive by falling down, Stosich said. Those places include inside arms or legs or on the neck or face.
Signs of neglect include an unkempt look, inadequate clothing for the weather, a fearful demeanor, isolation from friends and neighbors and lack of proper supervision, Stosich said.
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, along with other Installation Management Command garrisons, follows IMCOM's child supervision guidance. Parents and guardians can find the guidance at www.wiesbaden.army.mil/sites/services/CYSS/ArmyinEuropeChildSupervision.pdf.
Failure to follow the guidance can constitute neglect, Stosich said.
Anyone interested in becoming a provider can contact the program coordinator, Jim King, at mil 335-5254, 5234 or civ (0611) 408-0254, 0234.
Providers receive a reimbursement rate of $35 per child, per day, Stosich said.