Love for kids spurs classes on foster care
Ever since she was a little girl, Jill Fox was certain of her calling.
In games with her friends, Fox would always play the mother’s role, pretending to take care of small children. She also took care of young relatives and friends as she grew up.
But Fox, a licensed marriage and family therapist now living just north of Nevada City, never could have children of her own.
On two different occasions, Fox mailed 3,000 letters to adoption agencies, lawyers specializing in family practice and Planned Parenthood clinics, inquiring about the availability of children looking for a home.
“It was like I wanted a job, like sending out a resume. I wanted a child, to be a mom so much,” Fox said.
Years after sending the letters out, Fox met an expectant single mother of twins who decided not to keep her babies. After the woman interviewed six prospective clients for her children, Fox was chosen to adopt the woman’s newborn boy and girl.
Neither of them came with an instruction manual.
Which is why Fox is beginning a series of classes for those with foster children. She wants to teach foster parents how to work with social service agencies, how to handle a child’s grief over being taken from his or her natural parents, and how to help raise children and guide them through their lives.
The class are open to parents of adoptive or foster children.
“All parents can learn to be better parents,” said Fox, who has a master’s in family therapy.
Foster parents “know that they are there to provide the best care for their children, at that moment, for however long that may be,” she said.
The classes are taught in partnership with Mary Jane Ryan-Connelly, who coordinates education for relatives of foster children.
Families that take in the children of relatives don’t receive the same kind of training that foster families must.
“They don’t have social workers checking up on them,” Ryan-Connelly said. “They don’t have the same kind of support.”
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Foster Care and Kinship Education workshops
WHEN/WHERE: Beginning Sept. 17 at the Imaginarium, 13061 Nevada City Highway, 9:30 a.m., and Sept. 25 at 9:30 a.m. at 23396 Shadow Drive, Lake of the Pines. Reservations are required.
ADMISSION: Free. Free child care is provided.
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