Youth Villages stories

Youth Villages' Dr. Jacue Cutillo with WCVB News

How foster families build relationships that nurture a youth’s well-being, culture and identity

May 23, 2024 | Blog, Foster Care Stories

No matter the circumstances, every child deserves a chance to grow up in a loving and stable home. In cases where it is not safe for a child to remain with their family, they are placed with temporary caregivers for a few weeks, months or sometimes longer while their families get the help they need for reunification.

“Children in foster care are like all kids; they need love, kindness, support and encouragement,” said Rachel Justice, foster care recruiting supervisor at Youth Villages. “These kids have been removed from everything they know and need a caring adult who can offer them a safe and secure environment, provide consistency and patience, and be understanding during their greatest time of need.”

According to a Harvard study, science shows children who do well despite serious hardship have at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult. These relationships buffer children from developmental disruption and help them develop “resilience,” or the set of skills needed to respond to adversity and thrive.

In many cases, resource parents or foster parents get the opportunity to be that supportive adults to change a child’s future outcomes.

Foster families play a crucial role during this vulnerable transition by:

  • Creating a safe place for a child to express their emotions and concerns and feel secure during times of uncertainty.
  • Being patient and understanding of the emotional and behavioral struggles children in care may experience from their trauma.
  • Committing to developing a relationship with the child and a sense of belonging in your home.
  • Building a healthy and supportive relationship with the biological parents or primary caretaker that encourages a child to maintain cultural and family connections while they receive the help needed to reunify.
  • Adapting to the unique needs of every child and their cultural backgrounds.
  • Establishing daily routines and boundaries to give children a sense of stability in their daily lives.
  • Advocating for the child’s best interest and collaborating with teachers, social workers and others in the support team.
  • Navigating challenges and setbacks while continuing to care for a child.
  • Committing to personal development and ongoing learning about trauma-informed care and effective parenting strategies.
  • Providing unconditional love to help the child develop a positive sense of self-worth.

While each child and situation are unique, most foster parents agree it is incredibly rewarding and life changing. During a foster care journey, parents will experience personal growth by learning healthier coping mechanisms while helping a child in need of a home.

Consider becoming a foster parent

Our Foster Care Support Team and community of foster parents will ensure you are prepared for this journey and will walk with you through every step of this process. You will have professional support with in-depth training, 24-hour on-call support, respite care when you need a break and weekly counseling to support the child’s healing journey. You will also be paired with an experienced foster parent to provide mentorship and guidance.

If your heart is calling you to open your home, you may be curious what that process looks like. The first step is to call 888-MY-YV-KID, or fill out inquiry form to talk to a specialist in your area or sign-up a virtual info session. This will give you a chance to ask questions and learn more about fostering with no expectations to commit.

We understand fostering isn’t for everyone, but there are still so many ways to support foster families and children in your community. You can make a one-time donation or set up a monthly donation to support our LifeSet program that provides support to youth who turn 18 in foster care.

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