Frequently Asked Questions
Orphans; Clearing the Air and Misconceptions
The term “Orphan” means something different to almost everyone you ask. So we wanted to share with you the problem, some misconceptions and some solutions to Pueblo’s ‘Orphan’ crisis.
Traditionally an orphan is defined as a child with no parents, but we recognize that most children that find themselves in “foster care” or “the child welfare system” do have parents in some sense or another. Some of these children truly are orphans who have lost one or both parents. Typically, our state government does not want to terminate parental rights for children who have not been provided with an alternative parenting situation. Our state doesn’t seek to make orphans or wards of the state. Workers in the child welfare system in the State of Colorado typically agree that within a family is the best environment for raising children. Ideally their biological family, but when that is not possible they seek to place them with a suitable family.
We refer to this as a “crisis” because across the state of Colorado there are many more children in need of a family than there are families willing to care for another’s children. We have more churches in the state of Colorado than we have kids in need of care. If even one family in every church would become certified to do foster care there would be no more “crisis.”
Does Colorado have an ‘orphan’ problem?
Answer: The truth is that we have a ‘parenting’ problem. The Department of Human Services is not out to steal people’s children. When generations of children grow up in challenging economic circumstances with broken families, parents with substance abuse or in the midst of domestic violence it begins a cycle of unhealthy parenting. The government is required to step in when family dysfunction reaches a certain level. At Bridges we seek not only to train incredible foster parents but to equip our healthy families to be powerful influences. Our goal is to improve parenting across the board and ensure these children don’t become true orphans. Although it is not always possible, our goal is always reunification of the children with their parents in hopes of long-term success for the family of origin.
Aren’t Foster kids are all ‘Problem Children?’
Answer: The truth is that most children placed into foster care are there due to circumstances beyond their control. Many children in care have developmental or behavioral challenges but not because of who they are as kids, but because of the neglect, abuse, and disadvantages they’ve suffered. The love of well-trained foster parents can help children in their care overcome the majority of these challenges.
Isn’t ‘the system’ just broken?
Answer: Many people working within the system understand that governments/systems are ineffective at raising children and that children need to be raised in families. We can improve the system when strong and healthy families partner with us. Bridges serves foster parents by being a buffer to ‘the system.’ We can’t always ensure the ‘dream outcome’ for every situation but by forming effective partnerships we can improve outcomes. We work with the Department of Human Services, caseworkers, licensed professionals, foster families, adoptive families, and bio families seeking excellent outcomes.
Foster parents are _____________.
You fill in the blank… calloused, crazy, lazy, in it for the money, perfect, married, young, religious, educated, rich, poor, older, nonreligious, stay-at-home….the perceptions are endless. The most effective foster parents and their families are in a place in life where they can help mitigate the chaos experienced by many of the children coming into their care. The more physically, emotionally, and financially stable the family is, the better prepared they will be to manage the difficulties often associated with caring for children from hard places.
Foster parents, whether you are an individual, a couple, or a family, have to be willing to submit to and follow the training provided to them and the rules that govern the process. If you have questions, come talk to us and we will give you honest and straight-forward answers.
The Problem in Pueblo & Surrounding Areas
- We DO NOT have enough homes to accommodate the placements! Every year we are seeing more foster homes close(due to being full and out of space for more placements or due to personal reasons.) than we are seeing certified and opened. This is a problem.
- Recruiting & Retention are a challenge! Many foster parents really aren’t adequately equipped before they become foster parents. Occasionally, they start the process for the wrong reasons and it takes time and training to become truly effective foster parents. This is why we encourage you to come into our office for a face to face initial meeting. We want to answer your questions, dispel any myths, and determine if this is going to be a healthy and beneficial next step for your family. We invest time, money, training, and care into each of our homes to retain them. We’ve had some homes foster over 100 children over a period of 20 years! If you think you might be in the position to open your home to children in need, call us today.
We Need More Homes!
Please don’t hesitate to call and get your questions answered.
1. Schedule a time to meet with us in our office! (719)583-2200
2. Ask your pastor or church to get involved with one of the useful ‘orphan care’ curriculums.