Foster Parent Twilight Zone

Karen Olson Manners
Executive Director
Child & Family Services of Southwestern Michigan
Joseph, Mich.

I read with interest your article on foster parenting in the July/August issue (“Is This Any Way to Treat Foster Parents?”). Since making the decision in October 2001 to become a foster parent, I have been on a never-ending foster parent licensing journey that has become affectionately known as “my personal trip to the foster care twilight zone.”

I am executive director of a nonprofit human services agency and have a Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology. I have 17 years of experience dealing with very troubled children and families in both residential and outpatient settings. I was not recruited to be a foster parent, but contacted the Family Independence Agency in Michigan on my own to inquire about foster parenting. I requested an adolescent girl, as I have worked a great deal with troubled adolescents – a request that was met with much enthusiasm.

It is now July 2002 and I still do not have a child in my home.

Suffice it to say that I believe I am exactly the type of foster parent that the system needs. I would say that my licensing experience is a good example of the problems within the foster care system.

I will try to persevere, however, because I feel committed to trying to help a child.


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