When I was asked to write a blog [this being my first one ever] about why I work for the Family Care Network and try to “be the difference,” I was apprehensive, because the reason is very personal for me. It is something I have shared with very few people. Most of the people I work closely with at Family Care Network don’t know the reason for my commitment to this agency. Up until right now, I have chosen to share my story only with my closest friends and family. I guess I have been afraid of being judged; hopefully a very unrealistic fear. So, here’s my sto
Tag: foster care
First, a few years into working with children with behavior problems stemming from trauma, I began to notice how some kids developed a sense of hopelessness in very rigid homes/group homes. The more difficult a child’s behaviors were, the more restrictive the consequences would become; and eventually, the child would have no privileges and no areas of success. Once this happened, they had nothing left to lose and their behaviors would often escalate.
When my daughter first moved in with me as my then foster daughter, I was her 17th home. After just a few weeks, the testing began. It felt like a 24-hour a day attack; she was very determined to push me away. Even though I had every reason to be emotional, angry, frustrated, doubtful and full of fear, I quickly realized that my “rights” to these feelings were not doing me any good. I would imagine my girl getting on a daily roller coaster ride and I knew that I had to refuse to get on it with her.
I am so happy to be able to share about adoption this month! Not only is it National Adoption Month but FCNI is almost a licensed adoption agency, an accomplishment that took years to earn. This is also the month my adopted daughter and I celebrate the seven year anniversary of her moving in with me as well as her 20th birthday—so much to celebrate!
One of the founding principles of the Family Care Network is to “always do the very best for the children and youth we serve.” Key staff and I are always on the hunt for the most effective interventions, best practices and program models which will bring the most benefit to our clients; to enhance the wellbeing of children and families.
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.
May is National Foster Care Month, which means we honor the men and women and families who have dedicated their lives—their hearts and homes—to provide caring and stable homes for children suffering from trauma. There are a million different ways to celebrate foster parents—we could easily highlight the many sacrifices they make, the hours upon hours of training they undergo, the team-approach they embrace so they can provide the best care for children and youth or even the way they continue to give of themselves in the face of setbacks and uncertainties.
August marks the 25th year that the Family Care Network has been serving foster and high-needs children, youth and families in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Since our inception, FCNI has achieved many amazing outcomes, established vital community partnerships and worked diligently towards achieving our mission of enhancing the lives of children and families we serve. As we look back on these last 25 years, we do with a deep sense of accomplishment, but also a tremendous sense of gratitude to thousands of community members who have helped along the way.
Several people have asked me recently "did you ever imagine Family Care Network being what it is today?" That is a harder question to answer than you might imagine; and one I hadn’t really thought about before. No. Well, maybe yes…kind of? I’m not really sure! On one hand, absolutely not – there is no way I would have foreseen the Family Care Network as it exists today. On the other hand, I had a dream, a passion and an idea of what could possibly be.
In most of my 40 years of work within the foster care system, service delivery has, for the most part, been fragmented; each bundled nicely within its own silo. The thought of integrating, or terms like “seamless service delivery,” not only didn’t exist, but were discouraged. Bureaucrats were more interested in protecting their turf, budget, control…or whatever. The thought: “This is just the way we do things...” prevailed; and rarely did the question “can we do it a better way to serve foster children?” come up. The big losers were always the kids.