Parenting has been called one of the toughest jobs a person can have in his or her life.
Some parents are blessed with children that are a joy to see grow up. Others have children that can cause heartache and pain.
The really tough job is to be a foster parent.
Foster parents are handed children who have been removed from their homes for a variety of reasons, including abuse or neglect. Jefferson County Job and Family Services, Children Services Division, steps in due to the child being in danger because the biological parent or parents are doing a poor job of parenting.
The telephone may ring in the middle of the night at the foster parents' house, with a children services caseworker saying they have a child or children who need a safe place to stay.
The foster parents open their hearts and homes at a moment's notice.
It is what they have volunteered to do and for what they have been trained. Foster parents undergo extensive training and home inspections. They want to be foster parents because they love children.
May is Foster Parent Awareness Month in Jefferson County.
There are 17 foster homes in the county serving about 25 children. Some of the homes have multiple foster children, including a group of siblings.
Many foster parents take on the job because they hope to adopt the children under their care. Many of those stories have a happy ending, with the child or children becoming a permanent part of the family. Other times, children services reunites the foster children with their biological parent or parents or with another family member. Those times hurt foster parents, who gave unconditional love over a period of time to their foster children. It is the reality faced by every foster parent.
But foster parents know that the love they share with the child, no matter how brief, can have a big impact on the child for the rest of his or her life.
Jefferson County is always in need of special parents willing to take in foster children. Consider the calling and contact children services if you are willing to take a shot at being an important aspect in the life of a child that we may not know what it is like to be a part of a loving and caring home.
Most important, thanks to foster families - the unsung heroes of the community - for your dedication to children who most need the help of a good family structure.