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Not cut out for foster parenting? You can still help youngsters

Not everyone is cut out to be a foster parent, but Senior Social Worker Tracie James-Mauldin said there are other opportunities to get involved in helping foster care children. You can volunteer in the nonprofit The Forgotten Initiative. TFI is a ministry dedicated to helping those in the foster care community whether it be through providing respite homes, babysitting or cooking meals for foster care parents.

“It is very difficult being a foster care parent because of the lack of a support system that we have,” TFI advocate and foster care parent Jena Turner said. “Most people are just not aware of how they can help. I want to let people know that there are so many ways that people can help.”

TFI also has a mentor program where volunteers over 21 can be tutors or role models for foster care children.

“People often say they can’t adopt because they are afraid of getting attached, but that is the point,” Turner said. “We are supposed to attach ourselves to them to give them some kind of consistency and comfort while they are going through the hardest time of their life. This isn’t about us.”

According to the Alabama DHR website, you could be a foster parent if…

You are at least 19 years of age.

You can provide a safe, comfortable atmosphere for the child.

Your home conforms to Alabama Minimum Standards for Foster Family Homes.

Your home has enough space for the child and his or her belongings.

All members of your family are willing to share their home with a child who needs care.

All members of your family are in good health.

All adults in the home are willing to undergo a thorough background check, including criminal history.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can be a part of TFI, check out their Facebook page www.facebook.com/tfi.esccounty.al/ .