News and Tribune

May 17, 2013

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: May 18-19, 2013


newsroom@newsandtribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — May is National Foster Care Month

Way back in college I was an English major. I loved literature; I loved a good story. I tended to stay away from numbers. Math was a different kind of language and did not always resonate with me. With National Foster Care Month celebrated in May, I find it impossible to tell the story of foster care without referencing the numbers. In Indiana there are approximately 15,000 children in the care of the state.

To serve those children there are a finite number of people who will even consider becoming a foster parent. This number is unknown, but of those who pursue it and become licensed, 40 to 60 percent will quit fostering within their first year.

Why?

Providing care to a child who has experienced trauma, loss, abuse and neglect is challenging. Even with quality training, the experience of living with a troubled child who exhibits troubling behaviors can be overwhelming for the caregiver. The reality of living with a child such as this can prove too much for many and I do not judge those who have tried and found it to be more than they could handle.

What I know for sure is that those who foster and have success are a rare and special breed. I know that they need support from their community, friends, family, and others who foster — those who have walked in the same shoes and know the challenges, joys, and heartaches. They need caring staff in their lives and they need on-going training and support. They need occasional breaks from fostering to re-charge their batteries. They may not admit it, but they need to be appreciated for the work they do, the sacrifices they make, and the lives they change.

On any given day there may be as many as half a million children living in foster care in the U.S. It may be that you are just the one person one child needs in his or her life. You might be the first person to provide a sense of family, an experience of safety and nurturing for a child who desperately needs that experience.

Maybe fostering isn’t the path for you, but you have other gifts to offer through volunteering, donating time, or providing financial support.  I would like to invite you to Family Ark’s Foster Parent Appreciation Event on May 18 at our campus on Noah’s Lane. I welcome you to learn more about our programs and services and to meet some of the fine folks who are being family to some of Indiana’s neediest children. Come and celebrate with us between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. For more information, call 812-282-8479.



Mike Karman

Foster Parent Specialist

Family Ark , Jeffersonville