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© Gail Underwood Parker

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Focus on Fostering: Raise Your Voice

May is Foster Care Month. Chances are that sometime this month the agency you work with will send you a card or sponsor a dinner or do something to thank you for the work you are doing as a foster parent.  Some agencies do it well.  Some not so well.  I am fortunate to be with an agency that does it very well indeed.

What are you doing for foster care month?  Yes, yes, I know that taking care of your kiddos should be enough, but think about it.  Are you doing anything to change some of the ongoing administrative and policy challenges of foster care?  One of the biggest problems with that is that just doing the care demands so much time and energy that there is little left for activism. Enrollment in the National Foster Parent Association is only a tiny fraction of the number of foster parents nationwide.

Usually my Tuesday post is a strategy or tip for helping with the day to day business of fostering the children in our care.  Today I urge each of you to find any way possible, large or small, to find your voice and raise it.  There are literally millions of us... We need to be heard if foster care is to change.

We need to be vocal and active.  If we don't speak up ourselves, how can we expect others to speak up for us.  Remember... we are not speaking for ourselves, but for the children.  We deserve a better system so that we can be and do better for them.  They deserve a better system and better outcomes.  We all deserve a better image and public perception.  Let's raise our voices at least this one month a year. [ If you are too busy.... perhaps you can wear a blue ribbon and use that opportunity to answer questions about foster care.]

And, if your agency does a good job for you... Tell them!  Better yet, tell the people who fund your agency exactly what things they do that work, that make life better for you and your kiddos. Tell them!

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