As the director of the Department of Health and Welfare, one of the most meaningful things I do is sign legal adoption forms for Idaho foster children. I always do it at the end of the day because it leaves me very emotional. I have read every one of the over 1,000 adoptions that I have signed, and I consider it an important, humbling part of my job.
My role in the adoption is at the end of an often overwhelming and sensitive journey for children. The journey includes social workers, navigators, and other DHW employees as well as external partners such as the court systems. But more importantly, it includes foster, adoptive, and kinship families – who have welcomed children into their homes with open hearts and open arms. (Kinship care refers to family or other close relationships.)
This past week, DHW received an email from a kinship foster family, and I wanted to share a few words from it with you. The family explained their current situation, but mostly, they wanted to thank those who helped them through their kinship care experience.
Here is part of the email:
"The Child and Family Services team really was listening and found a way to let us know they were hearing our voice. The amount of support for the kiddos and for kinship families is truly amazing. I’m not sure I can express enough how much support we’ve had in ensuring our kiddo’s safety, security and specific needs.
Thanks to all of the support we have had throughout this process, our kiddo has had the opportunity to grow and flourish beyond ordinary means."
Why foster care is important
Although with their family is the best place for a child to live, some parents can’t provide a safe home, and because of that, a child could be placed in foster care where they are provided safe, nurturing homes when their birth parents are unable to provide for them. A foster home gives the child an opportunity to develop trust, self-esteem, and the opportunity to learn life skills while their parents work on resolving the safety issues in their home. When a child is placed in foster care, the department makes every attempt to place the child in a kinship foster home.
As a reminder, there are currently thousands of children in Idaho who are living with and being raised by relatives or other close relationships that aren’t in foster care (known as kinship care).
How to become a foster parent
Currently, Idaho has a critical need for foster families so that children will have a safe place to live and go to school while their parents get the help they need. Becoming a foster parent is a big decision, but if you are called to do so, we are here to help.
Read more about becoming a foster parent:
- DHW Voice Blog: Idaho needs foster families! Can you help?
- DHW website: Child and Family Services and Foster Care
For those who have made the decision to help children through kinship care, foster care, or adoption, I appreciate your calling to love and support Idaho’s children.
I hope you have a safe and healthy weekend.
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