Families First of Florida believes that foster care is about more then a child “doing their time”. It is about creating life time relationships for these children: people they can trust to give them guidance and safety. We understand that we heal from the supportive relationships. Even if the home is temporary, the relationship is for a life time. Families First of Florida understands the importance of being a Foster Parent. We provide training and a continuous supportive relationship with our Foster Families to ensure the children in foster care get what they need. Here is a story from a child who was in the Foster Care system:
(Story originally from http://www.imafoster.com/2013/03/importance-of-foster-parents.html)
“There are a lot of discussions that can arise when bringing up the topic of foster care. We can discuss the hardships of child abuse, living in foster care and aging out. There’s a lot of focus on what’s broken in the foster care system and the trouble that foster kids face when aging out. This is all rightfully so. Foster kids aren’t just abused, removed from their home and everything is fine because they are away from the abuse. Foster kids often face ongoing trauma from their past and into their future. Every day you wake up you realize you’re a foster kid. There are constant reminders. You feel alone and like you’re against the world. That is why foster parents are so important!
Coming into foster care I didn’t want parents. I wanted to do “my time” and go out on my own. At only 15, I was a typical teenager that thought I knew everything. I knew a lot since I had been through a lot but I needed guidance. The only people there for me on an everyday basis was my foster parents. No matter what I had been through I wasn’t an adult. My foster parents reminded me this, and they let me know it was ok to be a kid. I had felt responsible for my brothers for so long I no longer felt like their brother but more of their keeper. They let me know that this wasn’t my job; I shouldn’t have to be an adult or do the things I had done in the past. I was a brother. I was a 15 year old kid. It was time to rebuild my life.
As foster kids we need structure, our world has been chaotic up until this point and in some ways will continue to be. The great thing about my foster parents was that they taught me how to do things on my own. They understood what kind of world I was going to be facing. Everyone in foster care has seen the aging out statistics, it was important that my foster parents teach me to survive on my own. I was taught to cook, clean, handle bills and manage money. My foster parents were a huge help getting me ready for the real world. I attribute much of my success to them. They not only pushed me but watched over me to make sure I kept my nose clean
So where do these foster parents come from? Not everyone is cut out to be a foster parent. It’s important that the foster parent is ready, willing and able to provide for their foster kids both physically and mentally. Kids that are in foster care have been through enough hardship, abuse, and/or neglect to last many life times.
Being in foster care isn’t just riding out the journey until your case goal destination. Foster parents are there everyday with the child, through the ups and downs of not only life but life in foster care. As all parents know, it’s hard enough to be a parent under normal conditions. Imagine having a child that has come from a broken home, has often developed bad behaviors, stressed about life, and scared. Foster care parents have to deal with not only the stresses of their everyday life, but those of their foster kids, and also the many things that come along with foster care. It takes a special person to be a foster parent. It’s not for everyone and I have much respect for those that take on the challenge. I thank you for helping us. I know first hand how important it is to have a good foster parent.”