Foster homes are urgently needed for abused and neglected infants now under care at a local Catholic Charities Institution, Department of Human Resources officials announced last week.
The infants are among 200 children, including 90 infants, whose families are being investigated by DHR and the D.C. Superior Court for possible abuse and neglect.
The court has ruled that 15 to 20 infants, now being cared for at the St. Ann's Infant Home, 4404 Wisconsin Ave. NW, were abused or neglected by their families, said Betty J. Queen, director of the family services bureau of DHR. Final court action is pending on the other cases, she said.
"The majority of the infants go to St. Ann's or foster care parents who take in infants," Queen said. "We try to move them into (foster) homes because we think it's better for the kids."
DHR officials said the infants need to be placed in short-term foster homes with a full-time parent between the ages of 21 and 60. Prospective foster parents must be able to present proof of financial and family stability, and should live within a 10-mile radius of the city.
Queen said foster parents also are desperately needed for youths who, according to court rulings, have been abused or neglected and to "build up a reserve of other infant homes."
For children under 12, foster parents receive $253 per month to cover child care expenses and $125 as an initial clothing allowance. The length of placement can range from a few weeks to several months or perhaps even years. The average stay in a foster home is five years, and some children eventually may become available for adoption, DHR officials said.
Queen said that natural parents of foster children have full visiting rights, unless the courts suspend those rights to protect the children.
In past years, most foster children in te city have been at least 12 years old, Queen said, She attributed the recent increase of younger children who need foster care to a broader child abuse and neglect law passed by the D.C. City Council more than a year ago.
Under the new law, parents unable to temporarily care for their children can ask DHR to remove their children from their homes, Queen said. The police and DHR protective service workers also can remove a child from a home, if the child appears to be neglected or abused. Within 90 days the child must be returned home or DHR must file a court petition for alternative placement for the child. Previously, only the police had the authority to remove children, Queen said.
The Washington chapter of the National Council of Negro Women has donated $1,500 to DHR to aid the department's recruitment service for foster homes. Half of the money will be used for promotional materials, and the remainder will be used by the Social Rehabilitation Administration of DHR to buy clothing and school materials for children.
The city has placed 2,100 youths in foster care. About 400 of them have special health needs or other problems. DHR now has 900 foster homes.
Persons interested in learning more about becoming foster parents should call 727-0894.
In other DHR matters, department officials have announced that the D.C. Education Assistance Office has $1,031,574 in student grants to be distributed for the 1979-80 school year.
Applicants must have lived in the District 15 months and must be enrolled at a school for a full academic year on at least a half-time basis. In addition, students should be in good academic standing and be able to prove a need for substantial financial assistance. There are no age or income requirements.
The average grant is $1,100, and the smallest is $400. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. However, students who have received the grants in the past will be given priority over new applicants.
Application forms are available in financial aid offices of local universities and high schools. The forms should be submitted by June 15 for previous grant recipients and by July 15 for first-time applicants.
Additional information can be obtained by writing the Education Assistance Office, Room 1005, 1329 E Street, NW, or by calling 727-3688.
DHR officials also announced:
Revised rules for certifying medical suppliers and pharmacies to provide services to Medicaid patients. Under the revisions, more pharmacies and medical suppliers are expected to be certified.
Completion of a list of brand name drugs and their equivalent generic brands to be distributed in pharmacies throughout the city, following a 30-day review period. The development of the generic brand list is required under the D.C. Drug Information Act of 1977 as a measure to help consumers save money.
A free rabies clinic, scheduled from April 30 to May 5. Free vaccinations will be provided by 23 veterinarians at 11 locations. District residents can bring their pets to the 11 clinics between 6 and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. until noon, Saturday. For more information, call 673-6700.