We are excited to announce the successful launch on August 15th of our first ever online fostering panel series. People interested in exploring fostering have a new opportunity to gain the insights, inspiration and real-life perspectives as America’s Kids launches a fall series of free, nationwide Fostering Info Panels. To register for upcoming events or discover more ways to help children in foster care, visit americaskidsbelong.org
Panel 1 Explored What It Means To Engage Foster Care
The series kicked off with a panel discussion called, “What It Means to Engage Foster Care.” Moderated by Founder and President Brian Mavis, the panel included child welfare experts, active foster and adoptive parents, and a U.S. Navy officer who is a former foster youth.
“You hear about homelessness, human trafficking and other social wounds but you don’t hear about foster care [the origin of many of these],” Mavis said. “I want to emphasize that when you step into foster care, you are going upstream. You’re helping kids not experience more trauma.”
With this perspective panelists shared practical information and inspiration to encourage prospective parents to take the next step to foster. Scott and Bethany Telle, active foster parents, spoke candidly about the difficulties of facing so many unknowns, but reminded participants that becoming licensed as a foster parent does not mean saying yes to every placement.
Acknowledging common concerns about lack of time, getting too attached, and the effect on children already in the home, foster and adoptive mom Courtney Williams shared that fostering “has grown our children in numerous ways for the better, and they still choose it (after 12 years).”
As for getting too attached? “It is your job to get too attached. That’s what these kids need,” Williams said.
She explained that many people who do not feel ready to foster can make a difference by serving as part of a foster family’s support system. Mavis agreed, adding, “[Fostering] can be messy, but it doesn’t have to be lonely.”
“Empathy for the child is what makes a good foster parent,” child welfare expert Louise Cooper agreed. “Because just being removed is trauma in and of itself.”
Dairius Kawewehi, a former foster youth, summarized the conversation saying: “It’s not providing just a home – a physical structure – but having wholehearted care. A space where the child feels safe.”
Upcoming Events in the Series
- Aug. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET – Become A Foster Parent: The Licensing Process Through Your First Placement
- Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m. ET – How to Thrive As a Foster Parent
- Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m. ET – What Does It Look Like to Care for The Highest Needs in Foster Care?
- Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. ET – What Does It Mean to Engage Foster Care?