Another View: You are today's foster parent
When a child needs a temporary home in our county, who will be there to care for them?
From time to time, we read or see stories about families who generously provide a home to 10 or more children. Those stories make news because they are, in fact, unusual.
But every day, hundreds of other families provide loving, stable homes for children in our foster care system – one child at a time.
These foster parents quietly make a huge difference and impact in the lives of these children. They aren’t superhuman. They are retirees, work-at-home moms, teachers, construction workers and bank tellers.
By day, they do their jobs. At night, they read bedtime stories, help with homework and assist the children in healing.
Nonprofit organizations that serve children in foster care in Placer and Nevada counties kicked off a 100-day effort to raise awareness about the need for more local foster parents and to invite you – yes, you – to consider becoming a foster parent.
There are more than 200 Placer County children in need of foster care and more than 100 in neighboring Nevada County. Unfortunately, far too many are placed outside of their county and far from the people they turn to for support – teachers, neighbors, church community, friends and mentors. And far from their parents who are trying so hard to repair their lives so that their children can come home.
There are many reasons to become a foster parent. The fundamental one is the chance to make a difference in the life of a child.
Foster homes provide parenting for children who cannot safely stay with their own families, many of whom have asked for help with parenting during times of crisis.
Importantly, foster parents don’t go it alone. They work as partners with birth parents, teachers, case managers and therapists.
Foster parents receive financial subsidies to offset the cost of caring for the children.
In foster homes, children receive:
• Physical care such as clothing, food and shelter
• Emotional care, including love and inclusion in a family
• Nurturing of both intellectual and emotional development
• Guidance and supervision
Jane is one Nevada County mother whose children needed help when she was in crisis. Jane had fallen into substance abuse to numb the layers of pain in her life.
When all of her children were taken into protective custody, she hit bottom and resolved to change.
With the support from the children’s foster families and Nevada County Child Protective Services, she did the difficult work of leaving her substance use behind.
Her children received loving care from the foster families. They joined with Jane in celebrating her recovery and the restoration of their family. They all continue to care about each other and visit from time to time.
As we’ve celebrated National Foster Care Month in May, it is the perfect time to consider whether your family could grow to include a child in need. We have created a special website – www.URTodaysFosterParent.org
The rewards of foster parenting are great – and the impact you can have on a child’s life lasts a lifetime.
Gail Johnson Vaughan is executive
director of Mission Focused Solutions, a Grass Valley-based foster care advocacy organization spearheading a foster parent recruitment campaign in partnership with Placer and Nevada counties and The Sierra Health Foundation.
For information on local
foster parent opportunities, contact:
Environmental Alternatives: (530) 273-7120
Placer Kids: (530) 887-9982
Sierra Forever Families: