So, how do we reduce disruption in foster care in our state?
I have been receiving requests for placement for between 7 and 15 children every day, Monday through Friday, for more than ten years now. So many of those referrals are for children who are being asked to leave their foster homes. What I noticed was that many were having to leave for the same reasons: an overwhelmed foster parent, and a lack of understanding of challenging, trauma-related behaviors.
It’s easy enough to ask foster parents to ‘just hire help’, but did you know that on average, foster parents in our state receive just $26 per day for each child they foster? That is less than you would pay to have a dog stay in a kennel. In addition, it is also a challenge to find a child care helper who is available when needed, and one who is equipped to handle the special challenges that foster care brings.
Our answers to that? Well, we will work with a trusted, local nanny agency to provide trained and background checked temporary nannies as needed to help foster families stay afloat. We can dispatch these nannies in a hurry, to satisfy that foster family’s particular need. Also, we partner with local housekeeping businesses to help tame the mess that comes from lots of little bodies and too little time.
When foster families struggle to understand their foster children’s complicated behaviors, the overwhelm can become so great that it feels as though there is nothing else to do but give up. But if there is someone who can be there for them, someone with years of experience and expertise in trauma, we can change that. Foster Family Assist works with Kristi Saul from Adoption Parenting Inner Circle and the Post institute, to provide phone coaching and group support for foster families.
- A donation of just $25 can provide an hour of childcare help for a struggling foster family.
- $100 allows foster parents to have a date night- maybe the first in a year!
- $79 provides a month of expert phone coaching and group support.
- $35 provides an hour of housekeeping.
There are answers in our reach. I firmly believe that when we offer our foster families tangible, immediate support when they most need it, we will see far fewer of our children moving from foster home to foster home.
It starts with us.