Child/Adult Ratio Policy (1994)
Twin Oaks Community
The purpose of this policy is to create a ratio of children to adults in the community. This will give the community the ability to make long range plans. This policy will also give visitors a clear picture of the community’s commitment to having children here and that there are specific limits to the number of children we will have.
This policy is in four parts.
1. How to count people for the ratio
2. Establishing an upper limit on incoming families
3. Establishing an upper limit on members adopting/having children
4. Adoption and pregnancy approval process
and an appendix of the chart of the 1/5 ratio at various population levels.
1. COUNTING PEOPLE. All adult members, including residents and provisional members will count on the adult side of the ratio, however for every two thousand hours of pension budgeted each year we will subtract one from the adult side of the ratio and for every two thousand hours of recorded kids labor we will add one to the adult side of the equation. To stick with whole numbers, we will use one thousand hours as the cutoff point for rounding up or down. So, if there are seven thousand hours of pension in a given year, then four will be subtracted from the population count to get the ratio.
Children cross over from being children to being adults when they are working full quota on the farm (as opposed to going to school).
Adult population will be the average of the previous six months.
We will get the kid population by counting the kids. If any kid is a guest, or around for more than two months of the year they may be counted as some percentage of a kid. (That is, if a kid lives at Twin Oaks for six months out of each year then they will count as .5 in this ratio.)
Here’s an example, using our current figures (Nov. 94)
Pension hours budgeted in 1994 are 5,667 hours. 84 adults (minus three for pension hours) = 81 adults. 14 kids (not including Mary Ann. See attached previous paper)
14/81 = 1/5.7 That is, for every kid we have a working population of 5.7 adults (see chart at end of paper).
2. INCOMING FAMILIES. We will set 1/5 as the point at which we establish a moratorium on incoming families.
When we are accepting incoming families, we still might have separate moratoriums on certain age groups of children, or give preference to some age groups of children that we as a community desire for whatever reason (to fill our peer groups, to maintain gender balance, etc.). An important point is that we aren’t likely to take visiting families on a “first come, first served” basis.
It is also likely at times that we may be beyond 1/5 and invite families to visit and then put them on a waiting list to join Twin Oaks when there is space (either a child leaves, or adult population rises).
Incoming families won’t be able to meet the criteria for pregnancy and adoption approval beforehand, but they will be expected to meet some of those criteria while they are members (being involved in the child program, etc.).
3. CUT OFF FOR CHILDREN TO MEMBERS. This policy establishes a two tier set of criteria for adoption/pregnancy requests. The first set of criteria will need to be met by all members (or couples) who request an adoption or pregnancy. The second, stricter, set of criteria will need to be met once we are three children beyond 1/5 (according to the formula).
4. a. ADOPTION/PREGNANCY APPROVAL PROCESS
1) If planning on coparenting, at least one of the applicants must have been a member at least two years. The other member must have lived at Twin Oaks for at least a year.
2) At least one of the applicants (if planning on co-parenting) must have been a meta for at least a year and both must have gone through the meta training program (if any).
3) The applicants must be interviewed by the child board and meet any additional criteria that may be established by the child board (i.e. contracts for expenses, counseling).
4) Have the support of the metas for the adoption/pregnancy.
5) The applicant(s) (if planning on co-parenting) must plan on being involved in the child program, or to care for the child (that is, the applicant(s) can’t expect to be free of providing child care for their child).
b. SECOND TIER CRITERIA. Once those three spaces are filled, then adoptions or pregnancies will only be granted if one or more of the following conditions are met.
1) It is the first child of at least one of applicants.
2) The mother’s age is 40 or over.
3) One of the applicants has been a member for over ten years.
4) 50% or more of full members vote to approve the adoption/pregnancy.
c. SLACK. The number of adoption and pregnancy requests have always exceeded the number of actual children. That is, people don’t always get pregnant right away, relationships break up, adoptions don’t come through, so the child board must use their best judgment, on the basis of past experience, in estimating how likely various requests are to result in actual kids.
The child board is likely from time to time to approve many requests assuming that they all won’t happen, or that they all won’t happen right away. This could create a situation that takes us beyond these moratorium numbers, in which case there would be no more adoption or pregnancy request approvals until the community child population again dropped below the moratorium level.
d. THE INTENT OF THIS POLICY. The intent of this approval policy is to maintain the quality of the child program, to make sure that members are settled into the community, accepting of and accepted by the child care workers, aware of the magnitude of the decision they are making and to remove this often difficult personal decision from the realm of political debate. Once applicants meet the criteria above, the assumption is that their adoption/pregnancy request will be approved (That is if there is space in the child program as established in this policy).
e. PROTECTION FROM HARASSMENT FOR PARENTS TO BE. This policy creates several new limits for people planning on having a child. We also wish, through this policy, to remove the obstacle of personal harassment from the process of making a decision about adopting/ having a child.
If a member objects to this policy, or objects to another members adoption/pregnancy request, they may make their concerns known to either the child board or the planners.
On the other hand, if the concerns are with any aspect of the applicants ability to parent then those comments should be directed to the applicant, either directly or through the child board or process team.
If the concerns are about communal resources, or global overpopulation, or the gender or race of an adopted child or any other issue that is not specifically about the applicants parenting skill, then those concerns should be directed to an official body, not to the individual applicant.
Harassment includes things like: delivering unsolicited articles about global overpopulation (or other such articles clearly meant to discourage an applicant), delivering messages about the limited resources of the community, verbally or in writing, challenging an applicant to defend their decision to adopt or become pregnant.
If this sort of behavior occurs in an extreme or ongoing way, a member of the child board or process team or some other person chosen by the child board will approach the alleged harasser. If the behavior continues then a community feedback may be called.
Adult Working Population (Maximum number of kid spaces in the Community)
(Population - Pension + Kid Labor Hours) Cutoff for Visiting Families
77 - 15
78 - 16
79 - 16
80 - 16
81 - 16
82 - 16
83 - 17
84 - 17
85 - 17
86 - 17
87 - 17
88 - 18
89 - 18
90 - 18
91 - 18
92 - 18
93 - 19