Gathering with others dedicated to serving children, youth and families from around the nation is always inspiring, and this year’s Family Focused Treatment Association’s (FFTA) yearly conference was no exception. In attendance were policymakers, foster care agencies, healthcare providers and foster parents, all gathered together to encourage one another and to become better equipped in the work we do to serve our nation’s most vulnerable population: foster youth.
Category: Voice of an FCNI Staff
Hi, my name is Natalie Watson, and I’m obsessed with foster care! I can’t wait to one day be a foster parent, and here’s why….
I recently started a quest with my 16 year old son to complete three endurance obstacle course races within one calendar year. The shorter of the races is three to five miles with 20-25 obstacles; and the longest is 12 to 14 miles with 30-35 obstacles. Then there is one somewhere in the middle of those two. One really important piece to know is that you don’t really know how far the race is or which obstacles you will encounter until race day. Some obstacles are even kept secret from you until you round a corner and see it in front of you.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Education exposes young people to a broader world, a world full of opportunity and hope.” -Christine Gregorie
Emergency Shelter Foster Care is just that--an emergency. The name implies that something has happened; something that is putting a child’s safety at risk and the only immediate solution is to move that child into a different home, away from whatever is causing them or triggering their trauma. As you might imagine, being placed in Emergency Shelter Foster Care is very difficult for a child or youth, and the likelihood that they will need a lot of extra hands and support is very high.
Have you ever found yourself with “what if”? We often use the saying “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack” when searching for Resource Parents (formerly called Foster Parents), and there is good reason for that. Many of you may think we’re on the hunt for loving, kind people who have a hefty dose of patience when we’re recruiting for Resource Parents. Great Resource Parents have virtues in spades, so please don’t get me wrong when I say this, BUT what foster youth really need are adults who can take ACTION.
Hazel* turned eight in foster care. Previously, she had been living with her mother who struggled to keep her safe and provide for her. Caught in a cycle of domestic abuse, Hazel had been exposed to many traumatic instances, all of which left an imprint on her emotionally and developmentally. Before care, she had a lot of difficult behaviors, including being combative with her peers and mistrusting the adults in her life.
No one’s path in life is straight, without mountains to climb and valleys to cross. For foster youth, their mountains often appear much too early in life--oftentimes at birth. And without a community to look out for them, to help them weather and cross the difficult terrain that surfaces through not fault of their own, they can be left to wander, uncared for, for life. Too often, these individuals become victims of their circumstances, suffering cyclical consequences of a lifepath they never got to choose.
March is National Social Work month, and we want to honor this challenging, rewarding and vital career by spotlighting how our Social Workers don’t create strong families and youth, but rather, they uncover and equip the strength that already exists within them. Social Workers see the hope, the potential and the ability to heal that a hurting family or youth cannot, and works to help them remove barriers to unleash these truths so they can heal, flourish and achieve their goals.