TRUNK-OR-TREAT IN FARGO Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate Halloween with us at our Fargo Trunk-or-Treat event. We had more than 300 trick or treaters, and the staff had a great time decorating their trunks for the event! 25 | NOV/DEC 2018 PATH A “Village” of Care Extended Foster Family’s Role in Foster Care Success At PATH, we continually work to learn about what contributes to successful Treatment Foster Care placements and successful outcomes for children. In a collaboration with researchers at North Dakota State University, we worked with Dr. Greg Sanders and research assistant Morgan Jones to learn about how the extended foster family serves as a “village” of care for foster children. From interviews with 31 treatment foster parents, we identified experiences that reflect the engagement of extended foster family and discovered the following key themes: Leading them to water and keeping them drinking. For many foster parents, extended family was a key reason they became foster parents. Many had extended family members who had served as foster parents and this made them aware of the foster parenting role; and the support of these extended family members helped them continue in this role. We are there for you. Involvement and support tended to be social and emotional. Advice was often sought and given. “That’s probably the biggest thing; they’re there for me when I have problems or when I need to talk…,” said one foster parent. Just like family. For most foster parents, it was both the desire and practice that extended family treat foster children the same as they would biological children. It takes a village. There is value in having both a good model of extended family and additional individual role models for foster children. “Having extended family come to prom, and come to a basketball game, it just shows them that they’ve got a bigger group of people that care about them…,” said one foster parent. It’s not all roses. Less-positive extended family interaction can result from not understanding the situation of the foster child or respecting the foster parent’s role. “They try and override me because they just want to be the grandparents and let the kids be spoiled and have fun,” said one frustrated foster parent. POST-ADOPT FEATURED ON FARGO TV North Dakota Today in Fargo, ND, featured PATH when airing a segment on November as National Adoption Month. On-air hosts interviewed Morgan Nerat, PATH’s Post-Adopt Supervisor. Nerat spoke about the process of being a foster/ adoptive parent with PATH. Currently, North Dakota has 16 children waiting for a forever family. Nerat recommends that couples and singles who are interested in or unsure about foster care do some research on adoption as an option. She added that, after adoption, a new family is never left alone; PATH continues to assist with the transition.
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