While the upcoming holidays are a time to celebrate family and give thanks, the holiday season is also about giving back to those in need. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, every child deserves a warm, loving household in which to celebrate. Since it’s easy to forget what truly matters by getting caught up in pumpkin pies and holiday hype, November is also home to National Adoption Month, designed to raise awareness for the millions of children and teens in foster care throughout the country.
Statistics from Alternative Family Statistics show that a staggering six percent of U.S. children will be placed in the foster care system before their 18th birthday. Across the nation, there is a grave need for foster families of all cultures, backgrounds, and strengths to provide children with supportive, loving homes. Crossnore Communities for Children of Winston-Salem knows all too well the dire need for foster families as they work diligently to mindfully place children with foster families based on the specific needs of the child and family.
A solid familial foundation is imperative in the development and future success of children and youth. According to a study from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire, children who have been placed in multiple foster homes are more likely to experience disruptions in brain growth, psychological adjustment, and mental development. Sadly, these children and teens are also more likely to display behavioral and emotional problems in contrast to their peers who have been adopted or have been reunited with their birth families. Other statistics show that less than one in four children in foster care will enroll in college, jeopardizing their long-term financial stability and overall satisfaction with the course of their adult lives. To combat the negative effects of multiple placements in foster care for a prolonged amount of time, it is imperative that organizations such as Crossnore find the perfect fit for children and families until a child is adopted or reunited with his or her birth family.
Children in foster care aren’t the only ones impacted by the presence of a supportive and nurturing foster family. Foster parents can also model empathy, compassion, and a sense of community for their biological children, who will be more likely to continue the cycle as adults. Interested in becoming a foster parent or family? Crossnore’s recruitment team and licensing workers are adept at speaking with prospective foster families and providing monthly information sessions open to the public to provide clarity on what various Crossnore programs entail. Families are thoroughly assessed based on their strengths, income, how much space is available for welcoming children into the household, and whether they have the support and resources necessary for children with special therapeutic or behavioral needs. Because each family is unique, the approval process can last anywhere from three to six months, depending on how eager families are to get started and how quickly each family completes precertification training courses. Courses are designed to teach prospective foster families how to engage with their foster children so that no foster family feels underprepared for their first placement.
Aside from the general need for foster families, Crossnore is seeking families specifically in the Forsyth County area. At Crossnore, the staff strives to place children in their hometown, ideally within their original school district, whenever possible. Due to foster family shortages, however, this is unfortunately not possible for all referrals. In September, only 40 referrals were able to be placed within their home county, with 144 referrals being placed outside of their hometowns and school districts. Additionally, Crossnore is seeking families with resources and skill sets that would accommodate children of special populations as well, including Spanish-speaking families, those with an understanding of the LGBTQ+ community, or households with plenty of time to dedicate to the nurture and care of children in need of a therapeutic home. Thanks to the prolific referrals team at Crossnore, children are thoroughly assessed for their specific needs, preferences, backgrounds, and individual differences, and are carefully placed with a family attuned to meeting those needs. The referrals team uses keen critical thinking skills and intuition to make sure placements are a good fit for everyone involved.
It’s understandable to be apprehensive about potentially becoming a foster family. Parents might worry about how expanding their family will impact existing children in the household or whether they will truly have the time and energy to dedicate to helping children in need. Fortunately, Crossnore is also recruiting families interested in providing respite services to children. Respite families are able to dip their toes into the foster family pool by providing care for as little as one day or for as long as 30 days. Because the team at Crossnore understands that this is a new process for families and children alike, there’s no need to stress about perfection. To become a stable foster family, you don’t need to be a licensed social worker or behavioral therapist to be a safe place to fall.
To help families every step of the way, Crossnore provides each family with 24/7 support, as needed in times of crisis. Caseworkers are assigned to families to serve as guides when navigating the potential rocky waters of first-time foster families. Families are also provided with ongoing training courses focused on preparing for various scenarios and how to help a child make a smooth transition into their home.
Therapeutic families undergo a more thorough evaluation process and training program, fully preparing families for how to respond to the needs of children who have experienced significant trauma or have been in the DSS system for a long period of time. Many times, therapeutic families provide care to fewer children, in order to provide adequate time and attention to each child within their household.
The team at Crossnore thoroughly believes that children belong with their families. The goal of Crossnore’s Bridging Families Program is to successfully reunite children with their birth parents by implementing a structured and gradual reunification process. Bridging Families provides children with medical and mental health services, educational assistance, recreational opportunities, and a crucial support network. With the help of highly trained Bridge Parents, specializing in trauma-informed care, birth parents receive coaching on parenting skills, education on trauma, and skills for nurturing relationships with team members. Additionally, birth parents are provided with resources and are guided by the Bridging Families team throughout the entire reunification process. Bridge Parents also care for children in a Crossnore home while birth parents make strides to complete their reunification plan.
Crossnore isn’t just looking for foster families. To provide optimum care to all referrals and children in foster care, Crossnore is looking for compassionate, dedicated, and hardworking individuals to join their team. If you’re interested in becoming a staff member at Crossnore, you can serve children in a parenting role outside of your home by becoming a cottage parent, residential advisor, or becoming a Bridge Parent for the Bridging Families Program. If you’re ready to join the team, visit www.crossnore.org for all available careers and positions at Crossnore Communities for Children.
If you’re unable to become a foster parent, but would like to help support Crossnore’s mission, visit the organization’s website to make a donation or learn about the various volunteer opportunities available. For any other questions or concerns, call (336) 721-7600 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.