Cel­e­brat­ing fos­ter fam­i­lies

The Compass - - SPORTS -

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.

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