Taking in foster children is a noble endeavor, IF you are doing it for the right reasons. But Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, one of the more high profile members of Ammon Bundy’s group of occupiers at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, said some things this past weekend that may make you question whether he is in the business of foster parenting because he wants to help underprivileged children, or if there are other reasons. His remarks will also make you question his priorities.
Finicum spoke to Oregon Public Broadcasting, telling the reporter that social workers came to his Arizona ranch and removed the four foster children who were living there. He said that the four boys weren’t removed at the same time — the first was taken away on January 4, with the last leaving on January 9. Finicum is a licensed foster parent with Catholic Charities Community Services. He said that his license has not been taken away, but that he would no longer receive referrals to care for foster children. Of course he blames the move on the federal government:
They were ripped from my wife. We are very successful (foster parents). Our track records are good, it’s been a good relationship. (Federal authorities) must have gotten to the governor, who told the state to get them out of there.
Then Finicum revealed two things that make you wonder whether he should have been in charge of foster children to begin with (not to mention his abilities as a rancher). First he said,
That [foster children] was my main source of income. My ranch, well, the cows just cover the costs of the ranch.
To that he added:
If this means rice and beans for the next few years, so be it. We’re going to stay the course.
Finicum has made out very well caring for foster children. According to OPB, in 2009 Finicum and his wife received $115,343 for foster care. At the rate that was in effect at that time, that meant that they cared for, on average, eight foster kids per day. OPB says that over the past few years, Catholic Charities has substantially increased the pay per child, which means that the Finicums have likely received even more.
So this is what we have: a rancher who makes most of his money off of raising children, not cattle, and who is now more interested in helping his friend’s misguided campaign against the government than he is in helping more of those children. Does anyone else see multiple problems here?
Featured image via YouTube screen capture