Two full-time careers, 25 foster kids
For the past three years, Bret and Janarie Cammans have managed to work full time careers, participate in multiple community activities and provide foster and respite care for more than 25 children through foster care.
The tale of just how these two came to be foster parents borders on something from Hollywood, it is a story that brings people with a talent for child care together with the children who need them most.
A few years ago, Bret and Janarie, who are both involved with Carbon County Emergency Medical Care, had been going on a great deal of calls which involved traumatized children. From overdoses to abuse, they had seen some very ugly things in a short period of time.
"One particular call I remember going on was life-changing," said Bret. "We all rushed in to an individual down on the floor in serious condition with his family frantically running around him. While all this was going on, I looked around the corner and saw this little girl. Inside the commotion, no one had noticed this little girl curled up in the corner."
Feeling that there was enough medical attention being given, Bret ran over to the small child and picked her up.
"I went over to make sure she was okay and to try and make her comfortable," he continued. "I got her away from the scene that was going on and [Price Police Officer] Susan Hyde was able to care for her."
According to both Bret and Janarie, that was more than they could take. They decided that night that they would do whatever they could to help provide for the children of this area in any way they could.
On the way home from that call, they decided to become involved with foster care.When it comes to being foster parents, the Cammans are a natural fit. They have four of their own children at home with them full time, forming a modern day Brady Bunch. However, instead of yours, mine and ours. Bret and Janarie oversee a home consisting of yours, mine and those in need.
"I just think that every child deserves a soft place to land and call home," said Janarie, when interviewed at their family home. "Just because I have four of my own doesn't mean that I can't offer love to anyone who needs it. These kids need somewhere to call home even if it's for a week and it means a lot to me to be able to provide that."
When it comes to foster care, there are several different levels of participation. From straight foster care, to foster/adoption, to those strictly seeking the adoption of a child, motivations and commitment levels vary. Bret and Janarie are foster parents and while they will care for children for years at times, they have no intention of keeping them. They provide a safe place while the child's family works through whatever it is that ails them.
According to Janarie, the Camman's home in Price is a safe haven where Castle Country foster children can grow and thrive while their parents work toward re-unification or a kinship adoption is worked out or another family is approved for adoption.
"We like to foster because we like to help the kids when they don't have a place to go," said Bret as several young children ran around his feet. "Sometimes we help out for just a day or two and it's nice for them to have a home that is warm, and they have warm water and they can shower and eat without having to worry."
The call which got Bret and Janarie involved with foster care happened just over three years ago and after taking eight classes over three months they began a foster processes which has seen 16 children spend time at their home. They have also provided respite care to six children during that time, making sure that other Castle Country foster family get a break when they need one.
They have two foster children at their Price home now and would not trade the experience they have undergone over the past 36 months for anything. According to Janarie the chance they took on being foster parents is one she hopes their story will encourage more parents to take.
There is such a need in our community and these are our community's children. If we don't do it, who is going to?" she asked.
The answer is someone from a different area, Eastern Utah Foster Care Representative Kobi Marchello has stated on several occasions that if a child cannot be placed in the Castle Country, they have to be placed somewhere else. If a foster placement is not available, there simply isn't anywhere they can stay locally, and once they move it can be hard to get them back.
"If you are considering it, give it a try," said Janarie. "Because you don't know just how much your actions can mean to a child's life and you will never know if you don't try."