ARTICLES . . .
Foster Parenting - Helping a Child in Need
- by Joyce Tormey, Children's Friend
Foster parents provide a safe temporary home for someone else’s child while the birth parent/s is receiving the help that they need. The children in foster care come from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, and family compositions. The one common thread is that they are either abused, neglected or both. Neglect may be failing to take care of their basic needs, educational neglect or medical neglect. Abuse may be physical, sexual or psychological. If children cannot remain with their parents, efforts are made to first place children with a relative. Efforts are also made to keep siblings together.
Foster parents may be single, married, partnered, or related to the child. They must be over 21 (unless related) and a resident of the state of Rhode Island. They must have a valid driver’s license and pass state and federal background checks, a Child Protective Services check and a medical examination. They also must complete training on foster parenting, a home study and meet other qualifying criteria. There are several forms of foster parenting such as: respite care, kinship care, full time care, therapeutic care and foster to adopt care.
Foster parents receive a monthly stipend from the state, have the medical expenses of the child covered, have a support system of social workers, receive on-going training and are invited to attend social events. Funding for day care may be provided to working parents. The foster parent/s is provided a worker who conducts home visits and offers a constant source of knowledge and support.
The decisions to reunify a child to their birth parent/s or guardian rely heavily on the court. It was reported in a recent article in the Children’s Voice that in the year 2002, 51% of the children spent less than a year in foster care.
Parent/s that commit to making the necessary changes in their lives have their child/children returned to them. Foster parents give birth parents an opportunity to work on their issues with the goal of having a better life for their child/children. The day of reunification is a celebration not to be forgotten. Every child has a right to a safe, nurturing environment. Every child has a right to flourish physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. All of us have an opportunity to help children. Foster parenting is more than helping a child -- it provides hope to their family.
Joyce LaFrance Tormey, Children’s Friend, 401-276-4318
Content Copyright 2014 RI Family Guide. All rights reserved.