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NON-PROFIT HAPPENINGS - August 2005

Fostering Families in Moab -
Foster Parents provide Nuturing Homes

by Deborah Lindner, Utah Foster Care Foundation

“The intense and tender joy of watching a child grow and improve is so incredible. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it.”
- Foster/adoptive parent

Why would you take someone else’s child into your home and care for them?

“It is as rewarding as parenting your biological children,” says Jill Dastrup of Moab. “While in foster care, children need the safe, nurturing, and consistent environment that families can provide.”

Jill and husband Carl, a band and choir teacher for Grand County High School, have been foster/adoptive parents for eight years. They now help recruit other foster families for the Utah Foster Care Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves Utah’s children by finding, educating and nurturing families to meet the needs of children in foster care. The Foundation is statewide, with an office in Moab to serve Grand and San Juan Counties.

The Dastrups have helped numerous children in foster care by providing that nurturing home environment. Being a foster family has brought some pleasant surprises. The Dastrups now have adopted five children from foster care, ages 14, 13, 11, 10 and 8. Jill and Carl have also helped several other children reunify with their biological families.

Foster/adoptive families serve an important group…children who have been neglected or abused. There are 2,000 Utah children in foster care at any given time. In rural areas, the need for foster parents is especially acute. In Grand and San Juan Counties, there are 61 children in foster care, with only 19 licensed foster/adoptive homes.

“There is a special need for families who will welcome sibling groups into their homes so brothers and sisters can stay together,” says Jessie Dudley, the Foundation recruiter based in Moab. “When a child in foster care is placed with his or her sibling, there is less trauma and greater success for that child.”

Children in foster care also adjust better when they are placed in homes in their neighborhoods, so that they can attend the same schools and be close to their friends and family.

“It is important that we have foster/adoptive families in all parts of Grand and San Juan counties,” continues Dudley. “Local residents have the opportunity to help children in foster care right in their communities!”

Foster/adoptive families receive free training and are reimbursed for the cost of providing care. You can be single or married, you can be a stay-at-home or working parent, you can rent or own your home, and you can specify which age group and/or gender would best fit with your family. There is also an active foster family support group called the “Peanut Cluster” in Moab that helps nurture families with children in foster care.

“If you are ‘on the fence’ about whether you want to become a foster/adoptive parent, I can say there is heartache, but also a lot of love that you get from doing this,” says Jill Dastrup. “You are sad when children leave your home, but you are happy to see them reunified with their biological parents.”

Businesses too can be highly effective in getting out the word to their employees and customers interested in becoming foster/adoptive parents. Here are some ways local businesses can get involved:

• Provide foster care brochures in your waiting areas
• Hang posters in lunchrooms and other public areas
• Include foster care information in your employees’ paychecks
• Schedule a short presentation on foster/adoptive parenting for your employees
• Publish human interest stories on foster parents in the company newsletter
• Sponsor a chalk art square at the Foundation’s annual Chalk Art Festival


Jessie Dudley

 

For more information about becoming a foster/adoptive parent or on how your business can help, please contact Jessie Dudley at (435) 259-3345, local toll-free at (877) 506-4666 or at www.utahfostercare.org.

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