When you hear about the extreme need for foster parents in Arizona, you'd assume that's because not enough people are volunteering to help. But CBS 5 News found that isn't the case.
The Apilado family seems picture perfect, but things weren't always that way.
"Well for our family we started out as new parents wanting to follow all the rules, and it ended up being a very bad thing for our family," said mom, Gina Apilado.
The Apilados vaccinated their baby girl but quickly realized something wasn't right.
"She had vaccines at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months and by the time she was 8 months old, she was covered in full body skin infections from head to toe. So she ended up in the hospital, we almost lost her," Apilado said.
That's when Apilado found out her daughter was allergic to the vaccines. She said she wasn't willing to chance it, so she and her husband decided not to vaccinate their youngest daughter three years later.
"I'd never tell another family what to do with their kids. I think it's up to everybody to make their own decisions. But for us, vaccines are not an option," she said.
Fast forward a few years and the Apilados have moved to Arizona and decided they want to help a child in need.
"There are a ton of foster kids that don't have homes. And there are a lot of kids who are in group homes and there aren't enough foster families and some of them even end up sleeping in CPS offices, and it's heartbreaking," Apilado said.
As they started contacting agencies and filling out paperwork, they got some bad news.
"Well the regulation states that each child in the home, referring to our biological children or anyone in the home under the age 18, must be vaccinated appropriate based on the health and age of each child," she said.
Since their daughters haven't been fully vaccinated, the Apilados can't be foster parents.
"Now vaccines I think can be a good thing, but it's not for everybody. And it's sad to me that good families are being turned away from helping children in need for this reason alone," Apilado said.
The state said the reason for the rule is that often times kids placed in the foster care system aren't in the best health, which puts them at risk from the get-go.
"I think that a child coming into our home would have the benefit of organic natural foods, good nutrition, a wholesome environment and supportive family. I don't believe there's a risk," Apilado said.
CBS 5 News has been asking questions about this for a few weeks now, and late last week the state said they're working on a medical waiver so families like the Apilados would be able to apply for an exemption from the rule.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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