To cap off Foster Care Awareness Month, we asked our amazing Foster Care Team to answer some questions for us about the ins and outs of Foster Care. We got some great responses! If you’d like follow-up information, visit our website or fill out an inquiry form here or call us! We’d love to help you in any way we can!
What are the most common reasons/excuses that people give for not becoming foster parents? How would you respond?
Fear: “We’ll get too attached.”
Kelly: The best foster parents are the ones who attach to the children! That is how the kids can begin to heal, by becoming attached in healthy relationships. It’s true that it make it very hard and painful when the children leave the foster home. But to be able to help a child go home, and to have given them tools to grow into their future is amazing to be a part of. While it’s hard to be a foster parent, it’s harder to be the child.
Adam: I would encourage everyone to remember how important family is. To be able to play a part in helping reunite a family is one of the greatest things you could ever be a part of.
Angela: I would say, “Great! Let’s go!” Children NEED a positive, strong attachment in their lives. They need someone to show them the unconditional love they may have never seen before. They need someone who will go the extra mile and advocate for their needs. If that child is reunified with his/her biological family, you can be excited that not only is the family healthy and restored, but that the child now has a bonus family that will love him/her forever!
Stephanie: Crossnore and DSS provide support to help foster parents navigate shared parenting with birth families to help build relationships and keep connections through the child’s time in foster care. Typically, when relationships are built on solid foundations, then reunification can feel positive (although certainly bittersweet). Ultimately the foster parents decide to foster because the child’s need for safety and love is more important than their own emotions about the child returning home.
What is the greatest need in foster care?
Angela: More foster parents. It seems simple, but the fact is that children are coming in and there aren’t enough full time homes for these children. Children are being moved from temporary placement to temporary placement, sleeping on DSS couches, and sent counties away from their homes because there just aren’t enough homes.
Stephanie: More foster parents willing to take children and youth older than the age of 10, large (3 or more) sibling groups, and children with higher medical and behavioral needs.
What is involved in becoming a foster parent?
Kelly: All together there are about 42 hours of training (TIPP/MAPP classes, CPR, Medication Administration, & Safety Care) required for becoming licensed. Each family will have a couple of home visits with Crossnore staff to complete safety inspections and talk with each member of the family.
Gina: They will also need 3 personal references, pet vaccinations, proof of education, proof of income, economic assessment, a fire inspection, background checks, finger printing, medical exams, a copy of their driving record etc.
Kelly: Families should be prepared to spend around $150 for background checks and inspections, plus the cost of any adjustments needed in the home for safety (ie setting up a bedroom, cost of installing fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, getting lock boxes for medications etc.)
Why choose Crossnore?
Adam: Crossnore offers training based on current research on trauma-related care. To be able to help children and families affected by trauma, it’s crucial to be well trained.
Sandy: Crossnore is an agency of excellence that is trauma-informed. We are able to provide a greater amount of support than a DSS agency. We also receive referrals from all over the state, not just one county like DSS.
Lisa: Crossnore can provide a more intimate relationship with families. We carry smaller case loads so we are able to be more present for our families by supporting them throughout the whole process – being there to advocate for their needs in the home, attend meetings and court hearings with the family, and to be in the home more than just once a month. Monthly support groups are also offered.
Shelby: Crossnore is family focused. We take time to match children and families to prevent disruption. We go above and beyond to support the needs of our families.
What would you say to a person who is considering foster care?
Adam: Thank you so much for even considering fostering. It takes a wonderful individual to open their home and hearts to our children.
Alex: This is a high calling, with a difficult path to walk. Your heart will likely ache like it hasn’t before. And despite that, you will not regret the decision.
Angela: Do it! Or at least have a conversation with a professional. Not your friend’s cousin’s neighbor who once heard about foster care. Talk to someone knee deep in it every day. Come to an interest meeting. Come to MAPP training. Read Reframing Foster Care by Jason Johnson.
Sandy: It’s one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever love.
Shelby: Go for it! It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding to get to be a major part in the heart change of a child.
What are the benefits of fostering?
Alex: You get to change the life of a child. You get to step into the gap for them. Not only do you provide their basic needs – home, warmth, food, love – but you get to help a child feel comfort and security in a time when they have experienced trauma and heart break.
Gretchen: It won’t be easy, but if God is calling you to this, we will be here to help you in any way we can. God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.
Shelby: The reward is seeing a child grow and heal from trauma. It’s opening your heart and mind to something bigger than yourself.
Your passion is for you, your purpose is for others. Your passion makes you happy. But when you use your passion to make a difference in someone else’s life, that’s a service. That’s a purpose. – Jay Shetty
Our foster care folks did such an amazing job answering our questions, we will have future posts coming up featuring more of their great insight. If you cannot foster at this time, see last week’s post for other ways you can help. Our Winston Salem campus will be having an informational/interest meeting this coming Monday, June 3rd, at 6:30pm. For more information on that, email Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org.