Through no fault of their own, thousands of Iowa children find their lives turned upside down when their biological parents fail to do the job they are expected to do as parents.
Some parents are simply not willing, or in many cases, unable able to fulfill the enormous responsibilities of being a parent, which is to take care of their kids.
When that happens, the State of Iowa steps in and takes action to help the children in need of assistance.
This week, as National Foster Care month comes to a close, KWWL News features Waterloo foster and adoption parents, Chris and Jordan Dunn.
Chris and Jordan began fostering several years ago to Michael, Paul and Bradley.
Says Jordan, "I think for both of us was just knowing that the need isn't really being met yet; that there are not enough foster homes. That really spoke to us." Chris adds, "All these kids want is a loving home..we chose to foster care to help these kids live a great life." Jordan says, "Foster families can be from really diverse backgrounds. I think foster care is something people think about for a long time before they really commit."
Eight year old Bradley says, "We just need a place for people to live..to stay safe and have a good life...have a good life. Having a nice place to live is amazing."
Bradley adds, "They're kind and they're caring and supportive of me."
Michael, now 14 and a West High student, says,
Michael "I like being here because they provide a nice place for me to live and they very much care about how I'm doing..They care. It's a big difference.We really need foster parents to be able to take care of kids."
11-year old Paul says , "I'd rather be here than anywhere else. I feel really good They're super caring and loving. They always look out for us and always put our needs before theirs."
Five to six thousand Iowa kids are temporarily placed in the Iowa foster care system, under jurisdiction of the Iowa Department of Human Services.
While the children are in foster care, the State works with the biological parents to improve parenting skills and the overall home life. The goal is always to have the children return home at some point.
During this very emotional time in their lives, children need the love and support of someone they can count on. It's a chaotic and confusing time in their lives. That's why foster parents are so critical.
Children are upset at being taken away from their parents and often don't understand why this is happening. They still love their parents, despite what may be happening at home.
They are often too young to even realize they are being neglected and denied what is called 'critical care.' While 'child abuse' is often viewed as the major concern, it's that basic 'denial of critical care' which is the most common problem.
The need for more foster parents in Iowa has always been great. Today, that need is still there, even in a pandemic.
Four Oaks, based in Cedar Rapids, https://iowafosterandadoption.org/ is one area agency which provides foster care training. Another is Lutheran Services in Iowa. https://lsiowa.org/foster-care-adoption/
Here is some valuable contact information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent.
Four Oaks Foster and Adoptive Family Connections—covers the northern, eastern, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines Service areas:
Northern: firstname.lastname@example.org; 844-380-2484
Eastern: email@example.com; 844-380-2533
Cedar Rapids: firstname.lastname@example.org; 844-380-2534
Des Moines: email@example.com; 844-380-2485
Lutheran Services in Iowa—covers the western service area:
Para información en español:
Contacte: Virginia Goodman
Correo electrónico: firstname.lastname@example.org