There has long been a shortage of foster homes in the state, but the number of homes has decreased even more the past two years due to families closing their license. The extra challenges and chaos of the pandemic and other events have impacted foster families also. ABCS has been highlighting the urgent need for homes as more children come into care on a daily basis. As a licensing agency, it is our role to help families prepare to foster and to walk alongside them through their entire journey.
The goal of Arms of Love Foster Care is to develop and maintain open, supportive relationships with foster families who feel called to the mission and ministry of serving hurting children and families with the love of Christ. Licensing specialists are key to these relationships as they are both a support and advocate for the foster family. They are sometimes the only advocate for the foster family within the system. Fostering is hard work with many demands. Relying on God, and having the support of a licensing specialist, can make the difference in families keeping kids in the home or disrupting.
It is normal and expected for potential foster families to wrestle with concerns. Families do not pursue getting licensed worry free. During training they are asked to name their fears and to focus on the hope of changing a child’s life. “Doing it afraid” rather than not moving forward because of fear. This was true for the Klein* family. They are a young couple with family connections to social work. They were not naïve to the hardships of foster care and made an informed decision to become foster parents.
In an interview, their licensing specialist asked what the most stressful situation for them would be. The Kleins were very open, sharing the fears that had almost deterred them from engaging in foster care. Their specialist asked how the family feels supported by others generally, as well as what would be supportive for them should their worst-case scenario come true. Unfortunately, that very concern became a reality just months after the Kleins welcomed their first foster child.
Because of their honesty about their fears and the established relationship with their licensing specialist, various supports were able to be implemented right away. The candid discussion with their specialist that took place nearly a year earlier was the basis for how they now worked together as a team to help their foster child. The Klein family is weathering the storm and wouldn’t change their decision to foster. “It’s scary to make the jump and foster. But then we couldn’t imagine life without the bond we had built with them. And we knew that we wouldn’t be alone in any of it.” We are grateful for the Kleins’ love for the children in their home and their commitment. Learn more about foster care at abcsfostercare.com.