Have you ever sat down over a cup of hot cocoa with a 9-year-old and just talked through the day ahead? Or grabbed a basketball and shot hoops with a young man who is facing important decisions about his future? Or even played a game of Chutes and Ladders with a three-year-old? It’s pretty amazing how those little moments can really mean the world to a child.
When we sit down and visit with our foster parents at CEDARS, these are often the moments we hear about. The many seemingly small moments that, over time, build into wonderful, trusting relationships. For a child in the foster care system, a trusting relationship with an adult is often missing. Unfortunately, many have experienced abuse or neglect at the hands of their primary caregivers.
“Foster families are so critical because they provide safety and stability during a time of real chaos for kids and their families,” says Michaela Young, CEDARS Foster Care Program Director. “When a child is removed from their home they are taken away from the known and placed into the unknown. Even when the known is harmful, that transition can still be difficult. What these kids need is someone to listen, learn about them, and care about them unconditionally.”
Children come into foster care for a variety of reasons. Their arrival to a new home may be planned well in advance or an unexpected move at 4:00 in the morning. Their stay may be short-term or long-term; some may even find a permanent home through adoption. CEDARS foster families provide all types of care to cover the needs of children including: Kinship or Relative Care; Traditional Foster Care; Respite Care; and FosAdopt.
Ultimately, CEDARS’ goal is to find safety and a permanent home for all children in our care, whether that means reuniting children with their families or finding a new home for them. Meanwhile, our foster families give children stability and room to grow as individuals. CEDARS’ foster parents become an integral part of our professional team. That means they have access to support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer monthly support groups and quarterly gatherings for our foster families. We also offer regularly scheduled training opportunities.
It is important to know that there is no “typical” CEDARS foster family. Our foster families include parents with children at home, single adults, couples hoping to adopt, and empty nesters. To help, all you need is a stable home, an open heart, and a willingness to reach out to a child in need.
Knowing that every foster family is unique, the CEDARS foster care team works closely with our foster families to determine the best placement for them. Some families prefer fostering infants, while others enjoy helping teens or keeping sibling groups together. At CEDARS, we are committed to providing our foster children and foster families the best experience possible. We enjoy walking alongside families as they uncover the rich rewards of seeing a child begin to relax and grow in their home.
But every week we turn away children because we need more families. We need more families willing to play a special role in the life of a child. If you have ever considered fostering and would like more information, please contact Michaela Young at 402-437-8870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.