John W. Eyster: A need for foster parents once more

 

The THUMBS DOWN item published by The Gazette this week remind us all that there is a lack of foster parents in Rock County. It reminds us that the need for foster parents is increasing. I was quite surprised by the numbers: As of August 3, there were 134 children in foster care. That compares with 115 at the same time in 2014 and 104 in August 2013.

I confess that I am a foster father with my wife right now because my own son's 3 boys were placed in emergency foster care earlier this year. With lack of foster placement available in Rock County when the emergency placement was ending, we realized that we needed to be foster parents again.

My wife and I were foster parents years ago when we were living in Hebron, WI serving the Hebron United Methodist Church. We had a teen-age foster youth and when he left, we accepted two children along with a parish family that accepted two of the siblings. After we moved to Rock Co., our foster children returned to their biological mother. We are grateful that we've had life-long special relationship with these “sons” since then. We experienced the satisfactions along with the challenges of being foster parents years and years ago.

The day after Mother's Day this year, we became foster parents again. This time our own grandsons whom we received on the basis of Kinship Foster Placement working with Rock County Human Services Division of Children, Youth and Families.

While it is very satisfying to be the foster parents of our grandsons, it is very demanding since the boys are very young (4, 2 and 15 months). As foster parents, we have the boys 24/7 with some respite time. The very valuable benefit of being GRANDPARENTS is that the grandchildren GO HOME. Just ask any GRANDPARENT!

We have the experience of parenting two children with JOY & GRATITUDE! We KNOW that parenting is best for YOUNGER persons. We KNOW that there is need—a DESPERATE NEED—for YOUNGER PERSONS to be willing to be involved with children and youth as FOSTER PARENTS.

As Catherine Idzerda notes in her informative article, “Wanted: Good homes, warm hearts for Rock County kids” published online Aug. 13, there are various types of foster placements, including the short-term “receiving homes” which take children for up to 30 days and “respite homes” which provide weekend care for biological parents and/or other foster parents, in addition to the “regular” foster home with longer-term placement. Sometimes a child in foster care becomes available for adoption. This situation would be of special interest to persons wishing to adopt. Persons interested in getting more information about foster parenting are invited to contact Jennifer Wilson at 608-757-5476.

My wife and I urge YOU to consider what YOU may be able to do for children in Rock County who, as The Gazette article announces need, “GOOD homes and WARM hearts”!

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