Foster mom recruits others to open their homes to children in need

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The generosity of the Billy Andrade-Brad Faxon Charities for Children has enabled non-profit Family Service of Rhode Island to hire an experienced foster mother to assist in recruiting loving homes for Rhode Island’s children in need.

“May is National Foster Care Month, and we’re pleased to announce that, thanks to the Andrade-Faxon Charities for Children, we recently hired a foster mom to help us find homes for Rhode Island’s children in need,” said Margaret Holland McDuff, agency CEO. “Elaine Gabellieri, of Cranston, and her husband have welcomed foster children into their home for years. When a potential foster parent speaks with her they are talking to an expert who deeply understands the day-to-day life of a foster parent.”

Foster parenting is a source of joy for Elaine and her husband.

“My husband and I first became foster parents five years ago when we learned that there were many children in Rhode Island looking for loving homes,” she said. “We found it a great joy to help transform a child who needs love and support into a happy, healthy and thriving individual. Being a foster parent is very fulfilling. And our older kids enjoy it too! They love helping out, and it’s a learning experience.”

Any adult in Rhode Island is eligible to become a foster parent. “Foster parents can be single, couples, or married, and Family Service of Rhode Island is particularly outreaching to potential LGBTQ foster parents,” she said. Comprehensive training is provided to potential foster parents, as is 24/7 support after a child is placed.

Some foster parents prefer caring for children who only need a short-term stay, while others look at foster parenting as the road to a permanent relationship, even adoption.

“We match the needs of the children with foster parents who are committed to meeting their needs,” she said.

Anyone interested in learning more may call her at 401-331-1350, ext. 3313, or email gabellieriel@familyserviceri.org. While children of all ages are in need of loving homes, there is a particularly strong need for families to open their hearts to older children.

Adding a foster parent “voice” to the agency’s foster parent recruitment efforts reflects best practices, said Greg Wright, who heads foster care recruitment at Family Service of Rhode Island. “When a potential foster parent calls he or she can speak with someone who lives the life of a foster parent each and every day. Who better to speak with?”

Family Service of Rhode Island is a statewide non-profit human service and education organization. More information is available at www.familyserviceri.org.

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