Letter to the Editor: Not all have smiles
At this time of the year, many of us focus on the holiday spirit and the smiles we want to see on children's faces. We don't like to believe there are unpleasant things going on in the lives of some families in Utah. And, that not all children have smiles on their faces.
The sad reality is that because of circumstances we can never fully understand, some parents turn their frustrations, inadequacies, and anger on their children. Other parents are caught up in dangerous addictions and don't see the fact that they are neglecting their sons and daughters. Every day in Utah, in every community, Child Protective Services workers do their best to intervene in these cases, to give the parents a much needed time out/reality check; and give the children an opportunity to heal, while in foster care.
"Foster care changes lives" is not just a trite statement; foster care truly saves and changes lives. The changes impact the children most. Children are offered an opportunity to heal, to learn, and to grow in a healthy environment while their parents get the help they need to be safe caregivers again. The change that most parents experience when faced with losing their children permanently is life-altering. Seeing a family reunited and healthier is extremely gratifying.
People often ask why there aren't more foster families in Utah, given the altruistic culture here. There are no cut and dried answers, but I like to believe it is because people simply don't know there is a need. At Utah Foster Care, it's part of our mission to educate our communities about what foster care is and why we need more foster families. We find those families through community outreach, presentations, media, and social media. We train families, using research-based curriculum that prepares them to meet the special emotional and behavioral needs of children in foster care. We then nurture and support those families through the licensing process and beyond.
Children need strong foster families in every neighborhood of our state. The best scenario would be to keep children in their same schools, with the same friends and supports they've come to depend upon. Sometimes the interaction a child has with a teacher is the safest relationship they have. Why split up a good team? More families are needed in the "pool" so that the most appropriate placement decision for each individual child can be made.
Now that you know there's a need, here's the next step: Visit www.utahfostercare.org or call 435-636-2010 for more information.
If you'd like to help in other ways, our web site also has information on making an end-of-year donation to programs that benefit Utah's children in foster care.
Utah Foster Care stands ready to help you determine if foster care is right for your family. Foster care changes lives; let it change yours.