Celebrating foster parents happens in a variety of ways. In these three stories, Kim Northrop and Liz Pieros, are dropping off foster parent appreciation gifts to Serena, Zina, and Bernadine while conducting health and safety reviews.
Serena has been licensed with Service Alternatives for 18 months. She has provided respite and placement for several children. In October, a 16-year old youth (TF) in Behavior Rehabilitation Services was placed with Serena. TF had a history of running away, self-harming, and had been in several foster homes. Within six months of being placed with Serena, TF started full-time, in-person school and started earning good grades. He joined the high school football team, started driver’s training, and got a job. TF has stabilized so much that he has transitioned out of behavior rehabilitation services and remains in Serena’s home. Serena has provided the structure to help TF learn critical life skills.
Zina has been a foster parent with Service Alternatives for seven months. Zina’s daughter, Cheyann has been licensed with SA for fourteen months. Zina provides respite almost every weekend. She believes serving foster children is one of the best things she has ever done. Zina showed Liz the craft room she created for the foster children and the activities she has planned. On respite weekends, Zina occasionally takes a foster child on a camping trip for a new adventure.
Bernadine has been licensed with Service Alternatives for over 23 years and has provided respite and placement for hundreds of children. In 2016, Bernadine’s husband Kenneth passed away. Bernadine could have closed her foster care license, but she decided to continue providing a loving home to children. Bernadine’s family has followed her example. Her granddaughter, Baylie, is in the process of getting licensed in Sunnyside. Bernadine is 81 years old and lives with her granddaughter Kandyce. When Bernadine decides to stop fostering, then Kandyce will get licensed, so the child that is placed with them will not have a disrupted placement. Bernadine has been an ideal foster parent, so Kandyce has learned from the best!
It is so encouraging to see community members engaging with our programs and more foster families joining in! To all the foster families, we so appreciate all that you do. We couldn’t do this work without you.