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Foster Care and St. Vincent Family Services
As of 2021, there were 15,449 children in the foster care system in Ohio (HHS.gov), and 56% of these children were placed in nonrelative foster homes (Child Trends). At St. Vincent Family Services, we are working to increase the number of foster homes available for so many children in need across our community.
For those who have not had personal exposure to fostering, it can be difficult to fully understand the experience of foster children and the role of foster parents. Foster children are in need of a temporary home that will provide stability, nurturing, and healing, and can remain in care anywhere from a few days to several years. Foster parents open their homes and hearts to provide a safe and loving environment for children who are experiencing extremely challenging circumstances. There are many reasons that a child may enter the foster care system – sometimes it is necessary to remove a child from their home to keep that child safe, and sometimes it may be needed to simply offer respite to families. At St. Vincent Family services, our goal is to provide a healing environment through foster care, that allows children and families to work toward a safe and healthy reunification.
Foster parents can come from all backgrounds. To become a foster parent, one must be at least 18 years of age, financially stable enough to add another person to your home, and most importantly, have extra space in your heart for these children in need. Fostering can take many shapes and forms, including fostering to adopt, short-term respite for families in foster care and across the community, or fostering with the goal of reunification with a child’s biological family.
Fostering can be unpredictable, and as a foster parent, it’s important to be flexible to adapt to the needs of children. Often, the children who need to be placed in foster homes have experienced some type of trauma, meaning that they might present with more challenging behaviors. At St. Vincent Family Services, our foster families are provided with extensive opportunities to learn trauma-informed care and behavioral management techniques to help you in supporting and meeting the needs of the foster child in your care.
St. Vincent Family Services has been serving youth in the foster care system since 2013. Since the initial start of our program, our team at St. Vincent Family Services have become experts in providing consistent on-call crisis care, on-going training, and continuous opportunities to assist children in the foster care system. If you become a licensed foster parent with St. Vincent Family Services, our staff will be with you every step of the way – from your first piece of paperwork to your first child placement. St. Vincent Family Services has served more than 300 foster children throughout the years and has licensed nearly 1,000 families. We have witnessed firsthand the impact our foster parents make and express our deepest gratitude to foster families across our community who give of themselves and their homes to children in need.
Opening your home and heart to care for a child is not an easy task; however, with the dedicated staff at St. Vincent Family Services, you will never be on this journey alone. If providing children with a safe and loving temporary home is something that you have a heart for, please click here to learn more about our program and our upcoming informational sessions.
Theresa Van Dootingh, MSW, LISW-S, Foster Care Program Director