Celebrating foster families
National Foster Families Week, which is being celebrated from October 17-23, is about acknowledging and celebrating the role of foster families and the significant contribution they make in our communities, said Diane Molloy, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association.
“It is a time to acknowledge their commitment and unwavering dedication to making a difference in the lives of children and their families,” she said.
Molloy said all parents want to do their best for their children, but sometimes, due to personal circumstances, they are unable to meet their parenting responsibilities. When this happens, she explained, children may need to be placed outside their home environment.
“All children who come to a foster home have experienced some degree of emotional turmoil in their lives. The role of a foster family is to provide a temporary nurturing home environment for children while their family gets help in working out the problems that resulted in the child having to leave home.
“Foster families not only care for children, they also work as part of a team with parents, social workers and others significant to the child in an effort to achieve the goal of family reunification. Foster Families love and nurture children all the while knowing that they will have to let them go when they return home to their biological family. How unselfish is that?
“ If this goal is not possible to achieve, finding a permanent home for the child becomes the priority which may mean that the child will simply continue to live in their current foster home or they may be adopted by their foster parents or another family.”
During Foster Families Week, Molloy encourages people to acknowledge the work that foster families do on behalf of children in our communities.
“Perhaps you could also consider what role you could play in supporting children and families. There continues to be a shortage of foster homes in our province and if you have ever considered becoming a foster parent, now is the time to take that first step,” she said.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association has two presentations that its staff can offer to a school, agency or group. The first is called “Different Kinds of Families,” and is a pre s e n t a t i o n for children/ youth; and secondly, “ Foster Care: What You Need to Know,” is a presentation for adults who would like to learn more about foster care in the province.
Molloy said the material contained in “Different Kinds of Families” specifically addresses myths about foster care and was developed to educate young people about foster care in an effort to reduce some of the stigma and stereotyping that young people in care can experience.