Family hoping to foster children runs into problem with the state

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- A Valley family has a lot of room in their home and hearts for more children, especially those in need.

The Van Tienderen's are hoping to adopt a child, but there’s been a slight snag in their plan.

“It breaks my heart that some kids don't have a family, but it's just halted now,” said Susann Van Tienderen, 27. 

Susann and her husband Dan’s hopes of fostering children and then adopting them were recently dashed because their daughter’s aren't fully vaccinated for philisophical reasons, not religious.

According to a spokesperson with the state’s Department of Economic Security, or DES, the state requires that each child residing in the foster home have all childhood immunizations appropriate to the child's age and health.

“I feel like if I knew every ingredient that was in each shot I would comfortable to make an educated decision,” said Susann.

The family selected what they believe to be the most important vaccinations for their children and had them given to them.

According to DES's website, as of 2011 more than 11,000 children were placed in out-of-home care due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Of these children more than 2,000 had a case plan goal of adoption.

African-American teen boys are in need the most of homes.

The Van Tienderen's would love to adopt two boys.

We’re also told by the state spokesperson that the immunization rule is to prevent foster children from exposure to childhood diseases.

Susann questions why her children's vaccinations matter if the state's kids are already vaccinated.

“If they're fully vaccinated I don't quite understand what their fear is,” said Susann.

Dan, 29, teaches special needs children at a Valley high school.

He's also studying to get his master’s degree.

“I think that when you're looking at what's in the best interest of children that don't have families, it would be much better to put them in a family that really wants them,” said Dan. 

3TV was also told that the couple can request an Alternative Method of Compliance (AMOC) on behalf of applicants that elect not to immunize their children against childhood diseases, which can be submitted by the licensing agency along with the home study. 

Susann says she was told by a representative from an adoption agency that most of these applications have been rejected.

The couple still has hope and has spoken to each other about fully vaccinating their girls.

“I don't think it’s right.  We thought repeatedly should we vaccinate our kids so we can move on with this because we want to do it. But at the same time why should we be forced to do something that we don't necessarily agree with?” questioned Dan.