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Foster Friends: Backpack Drive 2016

Foster Friends: Backpack Drive 2016

During the summer months of June and July, we would like to see if you would consider being a part in our BACKPACK DRIVE!

It is our goal to provide backpacks full of supplies for as many of our foster families as possible by the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. 

If you are interested in taking part in this outreach, you are welcome to purchase your choice of backpack for donation. Listed below are the items requested to be placed in the backpack.

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Each Hour Counts: A Biological Son’s Perspective as a Foster & Adoptive Brother

Each Hour Counts: A Biological Son’s Perspective as a Foster & Adoptive Brother

This is why my family chose to become a foster, and eventually adoptive family in Polk County, Florida. As a foster and adoptive brother, I have been allowed the opportunity to help shelter ten different children within our home over the past eight years. During this time I have been able to develop patience and empathy for those who have experienced great trauma. Since I was an only child for the first six years of my life, these experiences led me to share my space, toys, time, and even my family. With every child that was taken in, I felt it was my responsibility to make sure they didn't leave without knowing that there was someone who cared. I have helped prepare numerous meals, organize clothes, provide safety and fun at the park, entertainment at home and in the car, reading of books, bedtime prayers, and much more. Although some of my foster brothers and sisters stayed for only a short time, I believe that each day counts.

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My wife, Joy-Lynn and I became Foster Parent Mentors (FPM) through Heartland for Children in 2012. When we were approached with the opportunity to be an added support for incoming Foster Parents, we jumped at the opportunity because we saw the value in having someone who other Foster Parents could relate to as being an invaluable resource; especially, if the individual(s) were completely new to the fostering and/or parenting experience. As FPMs through Heartland, we've had the chance to interact with incoming Foster Parents on many levels including assisting with respite, providing guidance or best practices with difficult behavioral issues, advocating for a child who had to be moved from one home to another, making recommendations on working with case management, providing another vantage point through the process of Termination of Parental Rights (TPR), and many other areas that Foster Parents can encounter during their first and continuing years of child advocates. What we've gained as FPMs is a heightened level of understanding of how important it is to identify the needs of incoming Foster Parents. Being able to make recommendations on how the training component has and can continue to successfully equip incoming parents with the proper training and education; is a value add that Heartland has really welcomed input on.