A major concern we had in completing the foster care classes was a form that we had to sign about discipline of children placed in our care. In signing the form we were giving our word that we would not spank the children. We have never used excessive spankings with our children, but it is one form of discipline we have used when our children have lied to us, been disrespectful, or exhibited willful disobedience. There are many other forms of discipline that are effective and that we use frequently, but my husband and I believe as it is stated in the book of Proverbs that if you "spare the rod, you spoil the child". The Bible also teaches that the rod of discipline is useful for "driving out foolishness" from the hearts of children.
However spankings have been misused by some parents. They have beaten their children and called it a spanking. This has given spankings a bad name, and it has even been called child abuse. Unfortunately good parents have been accused of abusing their children just because they administered a well-deserved spanking. A beating and a properly administered spanking are two distinctly different things.
We really struggled with whether we could sign a paper stating we would not do something that God saw as a fitting form of punishment. However, we could see how spankings could be detrimental to children who had been physically abused. These children would have a hard time understanding the love behind a spanking. It would recall terrible memories for them.
After much discussion we came to the point where we felt we could sign the paper. We realized that during the time we had a child in foster care she was in state custody. We were not responsible before God for not doing something he saw as profitable. The state was responsible for that decision. However, we were responsible before God for not keeping our word that we would not spank her if we signed the paper. So in good conscious we signed the paper that had presented to us the first hurdle in becoming licensed foster parents.