We met once again on May 11th via Zoom and there were 16 members present along with two who spoke on Foster Care. First was Joy Scott, a friend of Kathy Wickham, and then Jason Masching with Hope Tree Family Services spoke.
Joy told the story of a family situation in which her granddaughter required emergency foster care when Joy was 67 years old. I am inserting information from our meeting minutes which explains the situation:
The system required that she and her spouse be approved as foster parents, starting by taking courses, before the child could be placed with them. This process took six months, and during this time the child was living in a foster home with non-relatives. Once they had approval, the child moved in with them, but it took them another two years to be allowed to adopt her.
When Joy finally picked up her granddaughter to take her home, all of the child’s belongings were in a tote bag. Since that time Joy has fostered other children, from newborns to seventeen year olds, and all came with their few belongings in a trash bag or other plastic bag. This inspired her to sew bags which she gave to co-trained foster parents to have when it came time for their charges to age out or move to a new home. She also provided a list of items to put in the bags including a blanket or quilt. Some bags, quilts and blankets go directly to Social Services for children to take to their initial placement. Young children tend to prefer bright, colorful fabrics, while older children tend to prefer solids. The goal of Social Services is to reunite children in their care with their birth families, but this rarely happens. Most foster parents hope to adopt, but sometimes these “permanent” placements do not work out, so it is good for the children to have their bag and quilt to take with them as they move on.
Our second speaker, Jason Masching of Hope Tree Family Services (HTFS), expressed his appreciation for quilts donated by our guild. The goal of his organization is to establish a permanent connection with the foster children who are typically under their care for eight to eighteen months. Group homes and residential programs are rare now, with most children instead being placed in “normal” family homes. Foster parents are encouraged to maintain contact with their charges when they age out of the program or move to a new home.
Foster children usually come from homes where the adults are unable to meet their needs. These children may exhibit disruptive behaviors when they really are seeking attention. Some may react inappropriately when hugged by foster parents because they are not accustomed to being hugged. Wrapping up in their quilt gives them a way to hug themselves. Quilts create positive memories for the children and promote their good feelings toward adults.
Jason closed by providing his email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, in case we wish more information or to coordinate donations.
Kathy Wickham showed typical bags she had made for the foster program, as well as two quilts that had been donated by BRQG members.
For Show and Tell, Cathy Henderson showed a Pat Sloan Hope quilt she had made and gave to a friend who had recovered from Covid.
Next month, our meeting will be on June 8th via Zoom and the speaker will be Lee Chapel Monroe who presented a great program at our March, 2018 National Quilting Day celebration. Be sure to attend this meeting!