Every child deserves a home and family. Open your heart. Open your home. Become a foster Family.
Imagine being a small child – or maybe a young adolescent – and having your life disappear overnight, without explanation. Mom goes to court and doesn’t come back; the next thing you know there are social workers – kind people, but strangers – leading you away. You may never see that apartment, those toys, your “aunts” and “uncles” again.
When a child needs to be removed from a home it is deeply traumatic (no matter what the family circumstances) and always an emergency. This is where the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie steps in, offering placement and care 24/7, and helping to find the most supportive environment for the child. Unfortunately, the odds aren’t great; of approximately 400,000 children in the foster care system, 15% are in institutional or group home settings because of the shortage of foster families.
The lucky ones will find a foster family, where they can be loved, cared for and supported until the family can be united, or until the child becomes available for adoption. Foster parents play an essential role in providing temporary, safe, stable, supportive, and nurturing homes to children until a permanent solution can be found. In most cases, they work with social services or private agency staff to help reunite the child with their birth parents.
What does a foster family look like?
Probably a lot like yours … or your neighbor’s. Foster families may have one child or a half-dozen; they may have biological children or not. They are part of the community, but they are also closely linked to the Children’s Home, which continues to provide medical, professional and casework services to the child as well as respite and day care, as needed. Having the right team members is important to these children; that’s why we partner with The Children’s Medical Group for their healthcare.
What does it take to become a foster family? First and foremost, the desire, space and time to take in a child who has suddenly been wrenched from his or her home (no matter how bad it was, it is still “home” to them) and give them a new one. Prospective families go through an application process, participate in a home study and attend a 7-10 week preparation program to become a certified foster family. Once a family passes the screening, a child can be placed in the home and the family is given training, services (including seven different programs) and financial support to help both child and foster family cope.
Being a foster parent can be very challenging, but when you see how your guidance and love make a difference in a young person’s life, the rewards are, as the commercial says, priceless. Becoming a good role model to a child and his or her parents can benefit the whole community. And the connection you make with that child can last a lifetime.
To find out more about becoming a foster family, call the Children’s Home at 845.452.1420 or see them online at childrenshome.us.