Imagine being removed from your home as a child due to abuse or neglect and then separated from your brother and sister, because there were no foster homes able to take you all together.
Imagine being a teenager who has grown up in the care of DCYF and finding, that despite how hard you have worked to deal with being abused, you cannot leave your residential home because there are not enough foster homes.
What is already one of the most difficult things that can happen to a child… is complicated by a system of supports that does not have the resources to care for them.
Last Thursday, RI Foundation and the Annie E Casey Foundation pledged $95,000 to the state’s need to find foster homes for the kids of Rhode Island. Part of these funds will go to an innovative weekend at the Omni Hotel where prospective foster parents will stay at the hotel and learn all about being a foster parent.
The goal is to remove some of the barriers experienced by prospective foster parents, streamline the licensing process and identify homes for the kids that need them. For more information about the event, follow this link: http://www.dcyf.ri.gov/foster/index.php
The press release was additionally an opportunity for Governor Raimondo to announce her commitment of $1.4 million in her fiscal 2019 budget for daily foster care rates. “We have to commit ourselves to making sure every kid grows up in a safe loving environment,” Governor Raimondo reported at the press conference. “If we do one thing right as a state it’s that”. While adoptive parents, like Kim Zandy who spoke at the event, know that being a foster home is not about the money… the recognition of this reflects the state’s commitment to the children in state care.
As a foster and adoptive parent myself, I can tell you that being there for a child in need has been one of the most remarkable and humbling things I have done in my life. And I welcome the chance to share my experiences during the weekend at the Omni with those interested.