- Family and Parenting»
- Foster Care
Parents That Give Children A Chance
A Family Unique
I have worked with many families in my position as a private duty nurse for special needs children. Each family is unique in their own way. I have seen parents who have taken care their own children born with disabilities, yet I have seen a difference in parents who make a decision to take care of children who need fostering. Children who need fostering are children that could not be cared for by their own families due to economic, sociological, or legal reasons due to some kinds of abuse. Sometimes the parents may be too young or the parents may have problems coping with the physical needs of the child
Parents who choose to foster a child with special needs can sign up to qualify through the local agency in their region who offers the training and the support. There is a local hospital in my city that will train parents that have been screened and have followed through on the required check list that will allow them to take on such a challenge.
The required application offered in my city asks the interested individual basic information such as: Name, age, Location of home, family status, such as marital status, number of children and ages, their schooling, the condition of the home, location, and support from references of at least three, who can vouch for the applicant's character, a brief original description of why the family wants to foster a child. Then the qualities of a foster parent need to be present: such as, the dedication, the flexibility of time, the willingness to learn of the medical issues of the child, the cooperation to follow a plan of care, and the ability to be trained for these purposes. These things are then considered by the Social Worker who is involved with the screening process. When chosen to foster a child, the family will receive a stipend for covering the cost of room and board of the child in the home.
When the parents pass the evaluation period, and they find out that they qualify for a child with special needs, they are set up with an assigned social worker, and that person will set up the necessary care that the individual needs. It could be with all kinds of therapeutic discipline such as physical therapy, respiratory therapy, psychological therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and nutritional therapy.
WHEN THE CHILD IS RECEIVED
I have seen an expression of joy upon the faces of the Moms and Dads of foster children. I find it is the highest most charitable act for the individual in need. Of course, it takes organization to set up the home for a special needs child. I am always so pleased to be hired in these types of homes. And I am always appreciated when I offer assistance, advice or physical help to the families that need it.
Not all children are the same. Some may need more medical care than others. Some may have more psychological or behavioral issues. The Foster programs are designed to help the needy parents offer the best of care.
GETTING THE FAMILY INVOLVED
Foster children who have special needs may require equipment that challenge day to day activities of a normal day. Wheelchairs, special strollers, oxygen tanks, feeding pumps, respiratory equipment such as suction machines, nebulizers, Bipap or Cpap machines, and Ambu Bags, artificial airway supplies such as tracheotomy,and cardiac monitors such as pulse oximeters and cardio apnea monitors: all these kinds of supplies become a part of the new family member's normal routine. The family vehicle may even change to accommodate these necessary everyday items that take place in the care of a special needs child. The coordination of each adult in the household will make the life of this new family member easier. Communication systems such as memo boards, emergency plan of action preparation, and the use of cell phones or pagers make the adult's life easier. These children are always monitored by the foster care agency to make sure their needs are always met.
EDUCATION IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF FOSTER CARE
Even the education of these special children is important so that "No Child Left Behind" policy is furthered. If the child is too ill to attend school, then special arrangements can be made to have private teachers come to the home. One of my very dear friends that I attended college does this. She specializes in home schooling for Autistic children in her town. Depending on the severity of the child's overall health, that is what determines if a child must learn at home.
Working with deaf children in the classroom with specialized teachers means a learning a new skill for me as a special needs nurse. The training is provided especially for the parents who need to learn sign language, and there are very many ways of training through workshops, at home viewing of training videos, and even textbooks. Communication with the growing child is important even if not hearing impaired. Training the other children in the household to communicate in the specialized way bonds the family together.
CAN FOSTER CHILDREN BE ADOPTED?
Families who have children with special needs adapt a new lifestyle for the child. Their whole world changes because of the child. I have worked with families who have decided to adopt their foster children. This is a beautiful thing, because their desire to have a child who once was unwanted and unloved shows that the love in their hearts are great. The smiles on the faces of the children adopted proves it all. To hear them call for their "Mom" and "Dad" makes the family unit even tighter. Also to see the newly adoptive parents go out of their way to save a life, making sure that the health of their new child is preserved brings a whole new meaning to the job of parenting.
When something special is done for a child and they respond to that action, it causes a determination of commitment to that child. That child is dependant for love, warmth, security, safety, food, clothing, cleanliness, attention, comfort, healthiness, and happiness. There is True Joy in Foster Parenting.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19, verse 14 : "Jesus Said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.' " (New International Version).
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