A call for foster families
To the Editor:
In February of 2016, in the state of Rhode Island, there were 478 children who were not given the privilege of the comfort of a home. They are, instead, living in group homes or shelters. Children are removed from their homes as victims of abuse or neglect far too often, and these same children are just regular kids. They are the children running around your neighborhood on a warm summer day; that one child who is the loudest, albeit slightly off-tone, singer in the church choir; your child's best friend; the little girl outside of your local grocery store selling those Girl Scouts cookies we all love to eat; or the MVP of the Little League team. These are just children you see every day who need loving homes.
In my time being the foster care recruiter at Devereux, I have found out the hard way how difficult it is to find homes for these children, not because folks are unwilling, but rather because they just do not fully understand how big of an issue this is in the state of Rhode Island. As the smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island is rising to be one of the top few states that have children in care per capita.
Foster care is not easy. Many foster parents face challenges daily; from toileting and tantrums, to a child who is unable or unwilling to effectively communicate his or her feelings. These behaviors are byproducts of the severe trauma these children have experienced. They are victims of physical neglect, emotional and physical abuse, medical neglect, educational neglect, homelessness, substance abuse…the list goes on. The basic need for these children is merely a happy, loving and safe home – something I can admit I, myself, have taken for granted.
This holiday season, I am urging the Rhode Island community to look deep within their hearts and have that conversation with their family members; to ask themselves, “can we give back to a community who needs us?” Howard Zinn, historian and peace activist, said, "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."
Devereux Therapeutic Foster Care-Rhode Island