Foster care is the temporary care provided to children in the custody of Protective Services.  This care can last from overnight to over one year.  Children need foster care when they are abused, neglected or their parents are not able to safely care for them.  If no kin is identified, available or appropriate, children are placed with foster parents on a temporary basis.  Foster parents provide safety, stability, and a nurturing and loving family environment for vulnerable and hurting children.  It is important to keep children in their own communities and schools whenever possible.  Foster parents are asked to work with the child’s birth family to promote and encourage successful reunification.  Foster parents are ordinary people making an extraordinary difference in the lives of children and their families.  Foster parents care for children of every age, race, color or national origin, while meeting their basic day to day needs.  A successful foster parent works closely with child welfare professionals and others to support and assist the child and birth family as the agency seeks reunification or another permanency plan.   Foster parents learn trauma informed parenting techniques to meet the needs of each child for healing, while building resiliency and helping youth develop healthy self-esteem.  Foster parents share their hearts, homes and their family experience.

Why are foster parents needed?

Every day, children come to the attention of Protective Services because of concerns for abuse, neglect or dependency. Very often, the impact of parent/caregiver addiction has led to an unsafe environment for children. Other family problems including mental illness, lack of family supports, or violence between adults in the home, can lead to a child needing out of home care.  These children range in age from birth to over eighteen years, are primarily Caucasian, and are often part of a sibling group. Parenting teens also need a foster family who will provide mentoring support to the minor parent and their child.  Most children experience some level of behavioral, emotional, or learning challenges.  Nearly all have experienced trauma impacting their daily functioning.  All of these children need someone to provide a family setting offering physical and emotional safety and unconditional love and acceptance.

Some children stay in foster care for a while until they return to their parents, relatives, or kin. Others will move toward adoption. Regardless of why children enter foster care or how long they remain, they need to know they are special and have their hopes and dreams nurtured to grow into the very best they can be.  Fairfield County is especially in need of foster and foster-to-adopt families for teens, parenting teens, siblings, and children with physical, developmental or emotional challenges.