It’s hard to think about, but I have been working with Foster Families for over 40 years. It goes without saying, this is a group of individuals that I hold in the highest esteem because each one of them has made an indelible, positive impact on the life of a foster child. I have found no better, no more consistent example of sacrificial-giving and life-changing impact than what is accomplished by foster parenting. It is a real labor of love.
Several years ago, a young lady in her mid-thirties stopped by the Family Care Network office to see me. She had been a foster youth in our care 20 years earlier. We had a delightful conversation which culminated in her statement that she attributed her life’s success to her foster parents! This is just one of hundreds of similar stories were a foster parent or parents produced real life impact. Over the tenure of the Family Care Network, we have served thousands of foster children with a 90% success rate. Absolutely, this success is primarily attributable to our foster families. But, what is different about the Family Care Network which has enabled us to experience far greater success than many of our peer agencies, while working with foster youth with greater needs and challenges. Exploring this further I have arrived at two conclusions:
First, our foster parents are valued and esteemed within our agency. They are vital, key players in the healing process for a traumatized child or youth. They don’t just provide a safe haven and three square meals; but are encouraged to serve as a real-life examples of how to:
- be empathetic;
- handle crises and conflict successfully;
- have fun;
- show emotion,
- make mistakes and recover from them;
- be problem solvers;
- ask for help; and how to
- enjoy life to the fullest!
These people have lived their lives as open letters, seen and read by all. They are welcome partners in positively impacting the lives of foster children and youth.
Second, FCNI’s goes way beyond the extra mile to support, encourage and equip foster parents for success, because we deeply believe in the value and importance of our foster families. One of the things that I have treasured over the years is feedback from our foster parents thanking me for providing them with social workers and support staff who work very hard to make their job easier and more successful; and treating them with respect and as important team members Successful foster parenting is a team effort. It takes a unique, skilled foster parents surrounded and supported by dedicated professionals sharing a common goal – to help traumatized foster children begin to heal and have hope.
Right now, the Family Care Network has a serious, mission-critical need for more individuals and families to join with us in serving children and youth who have been victims of unfortunate circumstances. The children are there – but the families aren’t! Please think about how you can help us meet this need.
Is this something you can do?
Do you have friends, a club or social group who would be willing to let us share our need?
Any ideas you might have to help us fill this gap would be appreciated. Please spread the word that the Family Care Network has a great opportunity to make real life-changing impact on the lives of children and youth!