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Foster Awareness Month Opens Conversations About Who Can Be Foster Parents

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Foster Awareness Month Opens Conversations About Who Can Be Foster Parents

May is Foster Awareness Month and Youth Villages is shedding light on foster parenting.

Foster Parent Trainer and Recruiter Calista Barberi said this month is a good time to have open conversations about what kids need and what kinds of people can be foster parents.

“We’re not looking for the Orphan Annie story at all. But we are looking to make sure someone can cover their bills without needing the stipend from foster care. Otherwise, as long as you can provide a safe and loving home we would love to talk to you more about becoming a foster parent.”

Barberi said there are more kids in foster care than there are homes available. She said current fosters have added beds into their homes just to accommodate current needs.

Barberi said all sorts of families can foster. She said there are classes to get you started.

“So if there’s a family that feels like they can provide,” Barberi said. “If they have an extra room like they have a kid that’s just moved off to college or moved out and they want to provide that loving environment for a child, that’s our ideal environment for a kid.”

Barberi said she commonly gets asked if a single person or a same-sex couple can foster.

“And the answer is absolutely,” Barberi said.

Barberi said another common question is, am I too old to be a foster parent?

“I will say some of our most successful foster parents are retired couples.

Barberi said they also have some very successful older folks who never had children but they finally have time to give that loving environment to kids.

“So that’s our other demographic that has been really successful. They are single adults or dual income no kids but they want to help kids who are already in the system who need the extra level of support.”

Barberi said the other side of fostering is support from Youth Villages.  She said they have on-call staff that is dedicated to answering the phone even at three o’clock in the morning.

“If you have an issue come up and you don’t know how to handle it, you can call our staff,” Barberi said. “And we will answer the phone, and help you through that no matter what the issue is.  And we have someone in the home once a week during the day.”

Barberi said Youth VIllages does what they say they will do and that includes providing support for foster families in the home.


The post Foster Awareness Month Opens Conversations About Who Can Be Foster Parents appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.