Opinion

Foster parenting can help carry out resolutions of hope

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DOVER-FOXCROFT – Many of us have entered this new year with hope and an expectation that this blank slate of 365 days will offer us the opportunity to enhance our lives. We resolve to work toward new goals and to breathe life back into unaccomplished ones. We consider how we can become a better version of ourselves and often that leads us to consider our relationships with others. Following the good will of the holiday season that often opens our eyes and hearts to the struggles others encounter, many of us stand poised, ready to learn more about how to become involved in worthwhile causes and prepared to commit time and energy. Becoming a treatment foster parent is one such worthy investment.

In an ideal world, every child would have parents who are willing and able to love, encourage, teach and protect their children from harm and abuse. We know that sadly this is not true for many youth. In those extreme situations where children cannot safely remain in their parents’ care, youth are placed in foster care with adults who are willing to care for them while parental and child treatment needs are being assessed and issues of permanency are being resolved. The reality of this situation is that the need for safe, caring and healing homes surpasses the present capacity of licensed homes.

While the need is most profound for adults willing to foster teens and larger sibling sets, those interested in providing care for individual children or younger children are also encouraged to apply. We know that compared to children who lack involved or interested adults in their lives, outcomes are much better for youth who have even just one adult who believes in them and who can offer unconditional positive regard, guidance, concern and an investment of time. This safe adult could be a coach, a teacher, a youth pastor, a neighbor, a foster parent ….

Some who read this will be concerned about taking the next step because it is outside their comfort zone. Perhaps others will think this would be a wonderful idea but will procrastinate in moving forward because they do not have enough information to make an informed decision. Others will be wondering how their own decision to foster could make a difference in regard to the size of the existing need. To the last concern, I would ask folks to imagine what would happen if just one family from each of our local communities stepped forward to make a difference for just one child; that movement would make a difference for approximately twenty children. That is significant! Anthropologist Margaret Mead once remarked, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This quote still echoes the truth years later.

If you are beginning 2018 and are searching for a purpose that could result in a transformative, life changing experience for not only a child but for yourself as well, please call Community Health and Counseling Services (CHCS) at 802-3101 to receive more information about how you can make a difference. We will answer your questions, explain the process of becoming a foster parent and let you know what supports we offer to support you in providing this much needed service. Help us create unburdened childhoods where youth can live up to their full potential, where they know that they matter and that they are not defined by what they have experienced in their lives.

For more information regarding available services, please contact the Dover-Foxcroft office or visit CHCS online at www.chcs-me-org to learn more about the agency’s programs.

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