Foster Parent Classes
It could be the best gift ever for some kids as the holidays approach.
The need for foster families has spiraled in parts of North Central Florida.
"You could be sitting at home, on your comfortable couch, getting ready to eat dinner, with everything that seems normal to you, and all of a sudden, someone comes to your door, and it's time for you to leave," said foster parent Christy Conner.
It may be hard to understand that, but it's a reality for children across North Central Florida everyday.
Removed from what D-C-F workers believe is a dangerous setting.
Christy Conner of Alachua County has been a foster parent since 2010.
"We've had children as little as one day, 5 days, and of course now i have 2 two and half year olds," Conner said.
Conner and her husband Keith are licensed with the Partnership for Strong Families and also took their 10 week foster parenting class, Model Approach to Partnership and Parenting, or MAPP.
"You know what some of our kids might have experienced when they've been abused and been removed from the home, and really prepares them for what they can expect as a foster parent," said Jenn Petion of Partnership for Strong Families.
Petion says they will run the class a little differently this December.
The MAPP class is usually a 10 week course, but will be compressed into a 3-day class next month.
"We've never done this before, and to our knowledge, nobody in the state has done this before, but you know, necessity is the mother of invention," said Petion.
A necessity that is obvious in Alachua County.
The organization has been forced to send nearly 100 children to families outside the county, which is something they don't like doing for several reasons.
"It's a huge deal, you're not just taking them from their families which is a comfort zone, you are taking them from everything they know," said Petion.
A comfort zone that the Conner's felt they needed to provide after attending the MAPP classes.
"Sitting in these classes and hearing the things these children have gone through because of no fault of their own, we realized it was time for us to step up and realize we could love another child as their own," said Conner.
A realization that Petion and Conner hope other potential foster parents will make next month.
For those looking for more information on becoming a foster parent, please call Partnership for Strong Families at (352) 244-1536.
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