Join us for a free no-strings attached information session to learn all the ins and outs of foster care and how YOU can impact the fostering community! Session generally lasts 1 hour.

Can’t make it during this time? No worries! Contact our office at 502-485-0722 and schedule your own orientation that fits your schedule!

Join us for a free no-strings attached information session to learn all the ins and outs of foster care and how YOU can impact the fostering community! Session generally lasts 1 hour.

Can’t make it during this time? No worries! Contact our office at 502-485-0722 and schedule your own orientation that fits your schedule!

When school is out and it is summer time, kids don’t want to think about the next school year. They want to be out playing, inside on games and tablets, sleeping in and so on and so forth. It is really important to keep up skills in the summer that will be used for school. Here are a few tips to do so:

Limit screen time

Limiting screen time will help get your kiddos up and moving! If they are in sports or have to participate in P.E. at school, it is good to help youth stay active so that these activities are not as hard. Staying active also invites more openness for family activities!

Cooking

Encouraging children and youth to cook helps in many ways, but one way is mathematically! Learning measurements and how to convert if needed is a great skill to keep them sharp over the summer.

Grocery Shopping

Providing a list and a budget helps also with life skills but is another way to keep those math skills fresh in their minds! Budgeting is a great skill to teach.

Summer Reading

Encourage reading as much as possible! Maybe choose a book that the whole family will read, and discuss it over dinner. This is both reading skills and family participation!

These are just a few tips to help keep those learning brains smart over the summer! I am sure you can think of many more as well!

 

Ashley Huffman

Recruiter/Trainer – Elizabethtown NBFS

“How do I know I am Ready to be a Foster parent”

This is a question that renders through my mind when I approach the idea of wanting to foster/ adopt. But really how do you know? I have researched and researched on that question and the best answer I got was actually from my own mother and Father, two experienced people who previously fostered.  They broke it down to me so well, that I realized I was actually ready to be a foster parent this whole time.

To be honest there is a lot that goes through your head when you are deciding to join the foster care world. Thousands of questions and unrealistic scenarios play over and over again.  Desperately I came to my parents for the answers. What I got from the conversation was revolutionary to me! And I couldn’t wait to share this knowledge with people who had similar questions like me.  First thing I did was discussed with my family that I am interested in fostering/adopting.  Most people who already have a family with children it’s always best to discuss with one another about it. This will ensure that everyone is comfortable with the new change that may come. Now I’ve learned not everyone will always be supportive of your decision to becoming a foster parent. However, it’s important that your closest supporters understand your decision. When considering to become a foster parent you want to educate yourself through an agency.  A good place to start your information gathering is agency websites, social media pages, open houses, or Schedule a walk through. When agencies do Q&A session or open houses, you want to take full advantage of these type of events. These events will give you the opportunity to potentially see if that is the agency you would like to go through.

Another thing to consider is, understanding the process to becoming a foster parent, and are comfortable with it. When becoming a foster parent it is an intimidating process from fingerprinting, background checks, physicals and home studies. Along with many people will be in an out of your home each month, that’s including counselors, case workers, CASA and many more. This can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. But once you become a foster parent, you will understand that each of these people are here to help support you and the foster child in your care.  Understand that the beginning process to becoming a foster parent is to make sure you can provide that child with a safe home and stability, during their temporary time until which they can return home.

Giving a child a loving, stable home is necessary for a safe return, and is key to helping the child grow and heal. Take note that there will be some moments that are difficult and stressful when understanding the child welfare system. It is often difficult to navigate because things are always changing and may so effect the child. By being that child’s care taker you will be their voice; their advocate, you will be the one who will communicate with Case workers, judges, and bio Parents/ Families. To help ensure that the foster child’s needs are being met, communicating effectively is KEY! Know that every child is different and each situation is unique. the best qualities a foster parent can have is

-Patience

-Understanding

– Effective Communication

-Love and Support

-Perseverance

– Understanding of self-care

These are the Qualities a child needs and are looking for, if you have all of these Qualities then you are definitely ready to become a foster parent.

Dashai Thompson

NBFS Recruiter – Richmond and Walton

I am the “newbie” in my line of work. This is my first official job in the human services field, and I have chosen to go head first into a “difficult” branch of human services – foster care. Do I work directly with foster children? No, I don’t. But I do see them, I interact with them occasionally, I hear and know their stories. Do I work directly with them? No, but do they impact me? Yes. I know their stories. I know the things that these small humans have gone through, and its heart wrenching. I have compassion, empathy, sympathy, sadness, anger, you name it. I have many feelings towards foster care. I have many feelings towards trauma. So I have a big job, my first job, in the field of human services and the branch of foster care. I have to teach other people who have these feelings, not to allow these feelings to overcome their ability to provide a home for a child with trauma, who will most likely be returned to the people who caused the trauma to begin with.
Fun, right?

You probably think I am crazy, and these people wanting to be foster parents are crazy, and that the time I spend teaching individuals how to deal with trauma, and be a therapeutic home, to give these children a better life, is a waste of time. Or that these individuals who become foster parents are wasting their time, because why would you spend so much time and effort, to try and change a person, then send them right back into the arms of the people who messed them up?

We aren’t crazy.

And you cannot change a person, or what happened to them to cause trauma.

But you can show them what it is like to be loved. To be in a stable home. To feel worth. And that is something that they will take with them. They will learn what love feels like, and they will learn what they are worth, and they will realize that they should not accept anything less than the love they deserve. And that, that one thing, is life changing.
I am not teaching people to fix people. I am teaching people to change lives.

 

Ashley Huffman

Recruiter/Trainer – NBFS Elizabethtown

Alright, so for years, my friends and colleagues have stated that I have some unconventional parenting techniques. I have been a parent for 26 years and a foster parent for 3.5 years. So today, I want to share a silly little technique I call THE BIGGEST LIE.

First though, we have to discuss why children in foster care may lie. There could be a myriad of reasons. Let’s explore some of them. This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list – it is just a way to hopefully get you to look through a trauma lens when dealing with a potential behavior.

Trust

Ideally our childhood is spent learning to trust our environment and the adults in our lives. We trust that they will care for us, love us and make sure we make it to adulthood with some core values and skills to survive being a grownup. Now for our foster kiddos, this essential foundational component of childhood is severely lacking or nonexistent.  If you grow up in a chaotic and abusive household, why would you ever trust strangers with your darkest stories, thoughts and scary moments? The previous adults set a precedent that they cannot be trusted, why should these kiddos trust a foster parent, social worker, judge, teacher etc? It can be easy to escape into a made up world because exposing our inner truths makes us vulnerable. Being vulnerable is scary to foster children.  Telling THE LIE might be easier than exposing their vulnerability.

Survival

Imagine you are a five year old and your dad is a heavy drinker. The slightest thing can set him off. Say you didn’t clean your room. Dad comes home, drunk as a skunk. Looks at you – asks if your room is clean and your gut reaction, to avoid being physically or emotionally hurt, is to say “yup”. Now imagine if you had to lie to make it through the day to survive. There hasn’t been food in the house for days. One day there is a cupcake just hanging out on the counter. You know you will be beaten if you eat it. But you are starving. So your childhood brain weighs the options of not starving or getting beat. Tough decision for a kiddo. The path of survival is marked with scary things when you are in a bad environment. You give in. Eat the cupcake. When asked, to save your skin, you lie and say you don’t know what happened to it. And the cycle grows and continues. It becomes second nature. The trouble you could face is way worse than the risk of getting caught in THE LIE.

Emotional Warfare and Secrets

Kids who have been abused, especially those who have been sexually abused, are often groomed to keep secrets. They are often threatened with extreme violence or even death if they tell anyone what is happening to them. Oftentimes if they do tell someone, they are not believed. The path of survival for these kiddos is keeping the secret and telling a lie to everyone around them about how they might have received an injury. Again THE LIE becomes a means to an end to survive. This is why we preach to never allow secrets and to always believe victims.

So with the above reasons and the potential for a 100 more, how can we combat THE LIE which has become an ingrained behavioral pattern for our kiddos?

Well one day, probably in a moment of frustration and potentially genius creativity, I came up with the idea of encouraging my children to lie. WHAT?!?!? DOESN’T THAT DEFEAT THE PURPOSE OF STOPPING OR CURBING THE BEHAVIOR?

Well you wouldn’t be wrong if this was your reaction. However, I recognized that my kids didn’t even notice that they were telling a lie. It was part of their makeup from their childhoods of trauma and had become a defense mechanism. I mean they would lie about EVERYTHING! Is your name “——“? Child: “nope” – (insert eye rolling for dramatic effect.)

So my thought was to make them realize it. I had to have this realization before I could tackle to morality of the issue at hand. How did I do that? I set up a rule about telling THE LIE.

If you were going to lie, you had to make it the most outrageous and creative lie on the planet. So if you didn’t do your homework – the story shouldn’t just be “I did it” – or you will get in trouble.

The story had to be amazing and I had to believe it. “I was walking home from school and suddenly, Abraham Lincoln appeared from a portal and asked me to go on adventure to help him with some issues he was having with redecorating his suite in the white house so in traveling with him, I lost the homework that I already did”

Now the consequences for telling a lie that wasn’t creative were age based. Those are a whole different blog as I am equally as creative and educational in my consequences.

So once I instituted this new rule, it was like an avalanche of fictional storytelling. In essence this encouraged creativity, helped develop a sense of humor and INTERRUPTED the second nature behavior. They had to think about it. They had to stop, evaluate if the lie was worth the effort of creating a story I hadn’t heard and then proceed. It also allowed them to trust me. They learned that I was going to be a safe harbor in their stormy life. Once we tackled the defense mechanism, we were able to focus on the values of trust and telling the truth.  I don’t know if this is best technique or one that is even a good one, but I can tell you that the telling of lies in my home greatly diminished and the creativity was nurtured to the point that is blossomed and became something beautiful.

 

Dusty Siravo

Director of Development and Recruitment – New Beginnings Family Services

Foster Parent

Imagine that a child falls and breaks an arm and is taken to the hospital. The nurse gently assures the child that everything will be fine, because the child is now at the safe, clean hospital, where the child won’t break any more bones. The nurses and doctors don’t take an x-ray or do anything to set or heal the arm, but they are very warm and loving and supportive. When the child expresses discomfort, the doctors and nurses remind the child that the hospital is a safe place and the broken arm happened in the past.

How will the broken arm heal?

When we became foster parents, we thought we had a pretty good handle on this parenting thing. We had four biological children who were turning out pretty great. We knew that our hearts and home were big enough to bring in additional children and share the love and safety of our family. We attended the 33 hours of required training, feeling pretty smug about how much of that “basic” level parent training we already knew. Or did we?

Perhaps our confidence got in the way of us really listening to what the trainers were trying to teach us. Parenting children is a learning process for everyone, but parenting children who have experienced trauma, requires training! It requires so much more than relying on the methods of, “the way we were raised” or “parenting 101” articles from magazines in the pediatrician’s waiting room.

Just like taking a child to a hospital for a broken arm requires skilled medical practitioners, children who have experienced trauma require skilled foster care providers and therapists. It is not enough to simply comfort them and explain that they are safe now. They have suffered the deepest broken hearts and broken trust. These don’t just heal on their own, even if the child is in a safe, warm, and loving place.

How will these broken hearts and trust heal?

Doctors and nurses have to study for years to learn to mend broken bodies; foster parents only have to take training for 15-30 hours. That simply isn’t enough training to learn the skills to heal a broken heart and broken trust. That is why there is so much on-going training required for foster families. It can feel burdensome to have to find babysitters and to block out the time for training classes. It can even feel like a waste of time because you already know everything the trainer is teaching, but do you really?

New research and techniques are always being developed. Many professions require annual on-going training to keep practitioners up to date on emerging innovations and best practices. Foster parents need the same thing. When we began foster parenting, Trauma Informed Care was just being researched. If that training had been available years ago, it could have completely changed the way we parented our children in foster care. Unfortunately, we might have just focused on the imposition of more required training hours and not really listened. However, now that we are ready to open our home to children in care, again, we are eager to learn all that we can to help mend these broken hearts. We have questions, our notebooks, and open minds. Bring on the training!

 

Teresa Pina

Louisville Recruiter/Trainer

Foster Parent

Hey YOU! Yes you. Ever thought about becoming a Foster or Respite parent? Well, let me tell you, it’s no walk in the park, but it will definitely change your life.  Now, I’m not going to pitch you this grand plan to become a foster parent or respite parent like those people who try and get you to buy a time share or like the ones who want you to buy into their company – No, because that’s not what this is about. It’s about something more. Something grander. Something that could potentially make you feel something bigger than yourself.

You remember when you were a kid and you always thought you could be something more? Maybe you pretended you could fly or like you were an astronaut. Or how about that time when you learned to ride a bike or drive a car? What about your first kiss? Combine all of those feelings you had. How do you feel? Do you feel free? Maybe like you could fly? I don’t know about you, but my feeling – that feeling of being infinite is what life is about.

When I was little girl, I always wanted something bigger for myself, something that made me feel alive. Growing up, when I helped someone or volunteered, I always felt a sense of worth, something bigger than anything I could do to help myself feel something for myself. Sometimes, I even felt so free, almost like I was flying. This still reigns true today when I volunteer or help someone out.

With this in mind, I would say that fostering or respite could do this for you. It is just like volunteering. You are doing something for someone else. You are helping society for the greater good. You are doing something so valuable and precious, almost earth-shatteringly, heart-wrenchingly, irrevocably life changing. You can make a difference in the world, even if it is doing something as simple as becoming a respite parent. For more information, please go to https://kentuckyfostercare.com/foster-parenting/

Your children and Sugar

Food for children is a constant battle.  Balancing the nutritional aspects of the US diet is not easy when the kids are being bombarded with images of sugar-coated nothings and fast food restaurant logos all over the place.  They are rewarded at school with candy.  Some areas they are allowed pop!  Most schools feed kids doughnuts, pizza and highly processed/refined foods.  They also give them juice and other drinks that are also high in sugar.  This is all within the food guided prepared by allopathic nutritionists.

Sugar is one of the worst addictive chemicals that we can put into our bodies.
It makes our bodies depend on the sugar.  This makes it cutting it down or out really difficult.  Sugar is everywhere either added or within the food itself.

Sugar is a simple carb that fuels every cell in your brain.  It gives the brain/body a rush because it turns into glucose in your bloodstream.  The problem is that this triggers a release of insulin to move that glucose into your blood stream and cells for energy.  Then you will experience a drop in blood sugar which leaves you tired more so, then you were before.

Unlike fruit or other good for you stuff, you are not receiving any health benefits like protein or fiber.  In order to get the sugar from fruit and veggies, your body has to work to break it down.  That means it takes far longer to get that sugar into the system and also enters more slowly and the body benefits from protein and fiber which also make our system work properly.

So, your body begins to crave more and more sweets to recapture that high.  Sugar activates the same regions in the brain that are “turned on” when someone uses COCAINE!!  As your body adapts to rely on the false sugar high, your addiction gets stronger and stronger.  Do not fool yourself with artificial sweeteners either.   They are a nasty all unto their own as well for a future discussion.

The US eats over twice the amount of sugar per day then they are supposed to.  Women need no more than 6 tsp. per day but most get around 19 tsp. or more.  A can of pop has 9 tsps or sugar or more depending upon size.  So, one can would tip you off the scale.  That does not include all the other sugars that creep into your diet without your knowledge.

Foods like French fries, bagels, breads, and pasta are highly refined starches and send your body far more sugar then a body needs.  So, we have to change our relationship with food.  By doing so, we also set good examples for our children who will start eating better.

Getting sugar out of the hands of our children can be a task.  But it is achievable.

To start, ban refined sugar from sight.  So, no more buying cookies or rice crispy treats and the like.  If it is not there, they will have to figure out something else to eat.

Buy glass jars, or steal some canning jars from your mother and put those on display in your pantry, fridge or on the counter.  Fill them with nuts, some dried fruit (not too much of these), fruit, chopped veggies, honey, and/or maple syrup.  Remove sugary drinks like juice, juice mixes, kool aid type powdered drinks and pop.

Instead put in some no added sugar beverages like herbal teas, carbonated waters with a piece of fruit added to it or pureed fruit.

Pack these items too for road trips so you are not tempted to stop on route and settle for gas station foods that are old and highly processed.

Here are some ideas:

Ants on a log.
-take a piece of celery, put natural peanut butter in it and put about 3 raisins only per slice.
You may use any nut butters or if you have a little one with allergies, tahini is wonderful and they will not know they are not eating peanut butter or eating peanut butter cookies that are home made.

Muddy Monkey
-take one soft tortilla, a nut butter, and a banana.
Put the butter on the tortilla and roll the banana within it.  If you so desire, there are also healthier options to “Nutella” out there that have far less sugar and you can also put that on to make a peanut butter, chocolate muddy monkey.

Fruit Leather

-take the fruit of your choice, about 1 3/4 cup once pureed

Water, lemon juice (if desired) spices such as cinnamon and/or nutmeg (optional)

Preheat your oven to 170 deg.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Puree any fruit of your choice removing seeds if it applies to the fruit of choice.
Puree until really fine.
Add spices as desired, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon etc.

Place the pureed fruit evenly on the pan.  Spread out really thin and even.

Bake for 4-6 hours turning the pan every hour.  This may be done sooner, mine takes 2 hrs.  Just check to see if the fruit is dry all over and especially in the middle of the pan.  You should be able to touch it.
Once dry.  Let cool in pan.  Do not remove the fruit from the parchment.
Take the parchment completely out of the pan.  Then cut the whole thing into 1-inch strips.  Roll them up.  Now they have a “fruit roll up” so to speak.

Apple Chips (other fruit too)

Preheat oven to 200 deg.
put racks in center.
Line baking sheets with parchment

Apple chips are great and tangy.  They are also super expensive.  If you have an apple tree this will help store some for longer periods of time and it will also be a great exchange for those who like a crunch.  IE like potato chips.

Hard apple of your choice 2-3 (I make far more!!)
¾ tsp cinnamon

Core apples if you want.  I do not.  The seeds fall out for the most part.
Cut very thinly with a mandolin or a sharp knife into 1/8 inch rounds.
Arrange apples (or pears) on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake 1 hour in the upper part of the oven. Then place them in the bottom for the second hour, hour and a half.

At that point, remove 1 chip and let stand for 2-3 mins to see if you like the crispness.  If you want crispier, add more time.  If not, turn the oven off LEAVING them in the oven while it cools for an additional hour.  If you feel you have over cooked them, then by all means remove them outright.
Can be used alone, as a topper for home made yogurt or ice cream.  Can last for a few weeks in a sealed glass container.

Home Made Popsicles

Do your kids waste fruit?  Do they never finish an apple?  Throw it in the freezer for a future treat.

When you have a good amount of fruit that you saved frozen, take it out.
IE: bananas, kiwi, cucumber, oranges, apples, pears, pomegranate, berries and much much more!
Thaw it and puree it with a food processor, blender, ricer or potato masher.
Mix it will a nut milk and if not sweet, add a bit of honey or maple syrup. You want it to be thin enough to spoon into a popsicle holder.
Pour into any type of mold and freeze.  Nothing like using what people once wasted on a nice treat for a hot day.

Claire Laporte

Foster Parent

Going out to dinner is something everyone loves. These outings serve many purposes; celebrations, meetings, dates, family time, you name it. So something that a new foster parent may not have thought about is how your new foster child will react to going out to dinner, and how you as a parent will have to react to SO many questions you may face.

Depending on your foster child’s culture, going out to dinner may not have been something they often got to do, so this can be a very exciting experience for them. On the other hand, they may have gone out to dinner a lot, and have preferences or bad experiences tied to these outings. Either way, ask the child’s input on where they would like to go. Make sure this is a positive and happy experience for the child, so that this can be something they come to enjoy doing with your family.

Now for the questions. The people you know that you may run into. The “Who is this little fella/gal?” or the “Oh, this must be your new foster child.” There it is, the F word. We really try not to call a child in care a “foster child” but simply a child. So you can say “yes, this is our child (name.)”To make your new addition feel normal instead of like such a family outcast.

Remember, these are memories that will stay with the child for a very long time, and these moments have impact. Take a deep breath, and smile about the adventure you are embarking on!

 

-Ashley Huffman

Recruiter/Trainer – Elizabethtown office