Groups: Maine Foster Youths Need More Families Available for Placements
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
PORTLAND, Maine -- About 2,200 children are in foster care in Maine, and agencies say there are not enough families who are actively able to accept placements, and groups working with foster youths are hoping more Mainers will decide to become foster parents.
Candace Rowell, director of foster and child welfare services for Spurwink Services, who oversees a partnership between Spurwink and the Department of Health and Human Services called "A Family for ME," said there is no perfect formula for a parent, and urged anyone who thinks they could play a big role in a child's life, regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation, to look into it.
"Some of the most impactful foster parents are those who are really flexible thinkers, have unconditional positive regard for all and an understanding that kids and teens express complex emotions and experiences through behaviors that might not make sense to us in the moment," Rowell outlined.
Foster parents in Maine must be 21 and able to care for a child, have three non-family references, pass a criminal background check and receive home visits with a social worker. Rowell pointed out being a foster parent often means helping children catch up on appointments, broadening your family's menu interests and sometimes holiday rituals, to be inclusive of every member of your household.
Rowell acknowledged each foster child's family situation differs. She noted placement in a foster family can, for instance, help children who have experienced or witnessed domestic violence learn about healthy relationships, or support kids whose families may be dealing with opioid addiction while their family members work towards recovery.
She explained a community environment is preferred.
"We want that for the child," Rowell emphasized. "Rather than having a child who is able to be successful in a community setting, but is placed in institutional care."
Ten percent of the nation's kids and teens in foster care are in institutional placements, and a recent report from nonprofit Think of Us and the Annie E. Casey Foundation found Black youths are overrepresented, making up 13% of the nation's youth population, but 30% of the group-home population.
get more stories like this via email
In the wake of historic summer floods in the Midwest and Appalachia, there are calls for a new national plan to reduce risks from disasters. The …
Small businesses that suffered damage or destruction from the recent historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky can get one-on-one assistance as they try t…
The Inflation Reduction Act, newly passed by the U.S. Senate, allocates $369 Billion to fight climate change, and appropriates funds specifically for …
Sweeping legislation approved by Congress is designed to address a range of issues, including climate change and deficit reductions. Other components …
By Linda Burstyn for Ms. Magazine Broadcast version by Roz Brown for New Mexico News Connection/Public News Service Bad Business: Anti-abortion …
Opening up Pennsylvania's primary elections to voters who aren't registered either as Democrats or Republicans is the topic of a State House of Repres…
August is National Black Business Month, and this year, for Black-owned companies in Pennsylvania that have managed to survive through the pandemic…
On August 27, members of the public will have a rare opportunity to visit the historic Padlock Ranch first developed for livestock in 1867, now …