KVC Behavioral HealthCare is a Nebraska not-for-profit organization that was established in 2009. The mission of KVC is to enrich and enhance the lives of Nebraska families. KVC serves children and families in crisis in 19 southeast and eastern Nebraska counties.
Foster Parent Spotlight:
Meet KVC foster parents Paul and Justina Buser. Paul and Justina have been opening their hearts and home to children in the Lincoln community for nearly four years. Justina felt that she wanted to help children, and together, Paul and Justina decided that fostering children was a great way of doing so.
They have had very positive experiences with all of the children that they have fostered. They have had a total of 19 children placed with them over the last few years. Paul and Justina have primarily cared for infants and toddlers, but they have had a few older children placed with them through Respite Care. From the beginning, they decided to foster young children because that is where their hearts are, but at some point they have talked about focusing on teens once their own children are grown, possibly even teen mothers.
Through opening their home to these children, the Buser’s felt an instant connection with two of the children and decided to go through with the adoption process. They don’t believe it is in the best interest of a child to move from home to home, so they said it was an easy decision to adopt. The children fit right in with the rest of the Buser family. Another extraordinary factor is that the Buser’s maintain an open relationship with their adopted children’s biological parents and encourage the parents to write or send gifts.
Currently, the Buser’s have seven children: Two biological children, two adopted children and three foster children.
The Buser’s relationship with KVC has been a positive one. He said that KVC has been available to support them through the foster care process. Paul said that he has seen nothing but dedication from Sandra Gasca-Gonzalez, the President of KVC Nebraska, in providing an atmosphere where staff, biological parents and foster parents can have success.
One example of this is KVC’s development of a Foster Parent Advisory Board, which Buser thinks is a huge benefit to KVC’s foster parents. The board, which meets monthly, is made up of foster parents and for foster parents. The board allows foster parents to voice their concerns and it also gives KVC a chance to hear those out and address them. It is a chance for fellow foster parents to develop relationships and become involved in the process. Buser said it also becomes a place of support, encouragement, advice and resolution. In October 2010, they initiated KVC’s first Fall Carnival, where children could play games and dress up in costumes in a fun and safe atmosphere. The board is also in the process of planning more fundraising events this year that will go to benefit the children in KVC foster care.
One piece of wisdom that Paul offered is that “If you are having thoughts of being a foster parent, but are waiting for the ‘perfect time’ like when your kids are grown, don’t wait. There is no ‘perfect time’. I can speak from my own experience that it has helped our family grow closer.”
It is people like the Paul and Justina Buser that make a huge impact in the lives of these children. The Buser’s strive for what is best for children and exemplify everything that it takes to be great foster parents. KVC applauds their efforts and the efforts of all the other foster parents who are opening their hearts and homes to children in our community.
Becoming a Foster Parent
KVC firmly believes that children grow best in families, but when children cannot safely reside in their own home, it is best to place them with a loving foster family.
KVC offers a free series of comprehensive classes called Partnering for Safety and Permanency – Model Approach for Partnerships in Parenting (PS-MAPP) to prospective foster parents.
PS-MAPP is a 10-week course that meets once a week for three hours and is taught by a professional staff member. PS-MAPP is offered in English and Spanish. Outcomes of the 10-week course include: Working in partnership for the best interest of the children, reasons children come into foster care/feelings and behaviors they bring with them, different roles of foster parents and effective parenting skills, how children cope with the loss of family, how trust is developed and attachments are built, how to help children build self-esteem, and the importance of supporting the child’s connections to his or her past and how vital it is to be sensitive to a child’s kin, culture and community.
The objective is to have parents who have gone through PS-MAPP prepared, so when children are in need of a foster home in their area, they can be placed without disruption to their current school, friends and community. Providing children continuity in their environment will ultimately produce less trauma and will be better for their overall well-being.
Foster parents must also be able to meet standard requirements, such as being at least 21 years of age, having reliable transportation, meeting income guidelines and undergoing background checks.
For more information about how to become a foster parent or for upcoming training dates, please visit www.kvc.org or call 1-877-KVC-4-KIDS.