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April/May Foster Parent Newsletter

Happy Foster Parent Appreciation Month!


This month is all about you! We want to give a big thank you to all of our foster parents for loving and caring for children in need. You all do amazing work, and we can’t thank you enough.

Celebrating You: Foster Parent Appreciation Event

We are so excited to be a step closer to normal. While we can’t have our annual pool party just yet, our Caregiver Coordinators have been hard at work putting together an alternative event.
 
On May 21, from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., we will host a drive-thru event to give away gifts, swag and dinner. Stop by the SaintA Franciscan Center (8901 W. Capitol Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53222) to grab your food and goodies.
 
This will be a safe and socially-distant, in-person event!   
Please RSVP to growhope@sainta.org by May 1, 2021. Please let us know how many box dinners you will be picking up at the drive-thru (one per person).

** If you aren’t in the Milwaukee area, we haven’t forgotten about you. Staff will assist in getting families in the central and western parts of the state appreciation gifts.

Foster Parents Rock

True Warriors! By Dalia McMurtrey

If you want to talk about pure love and hope, then you must talk about Brittany Holterman and Jamie Neumann. During my period of being their Licensing Specialist, I have watched the two of them overcome obstacles and continue to pour their love into their foster children and their family.

Brittany and Jamie opened their home to an infant at the beginning of the pandemic. It was a very trying time for everyone. The couple were facing the uncertainty of being first-time foster parents, while also having to close the doors on their small business for a period due to the pandemic. Brittany and Jamie struggled with deciding on whether to continue to foster during this difficult time.

They decided not to give up.

They worked together and supported one another through the obstacles they faced with their small business and their experiences with their foster child’s family. The child’s parents have not been accepting of the love and support from Brittany and Jamie, but the two continued any way they could to help.

In doing all they could, this past December, Brittany and Jamie welcomed the young child’s infant sibling into their home; they did not want the children to be separated. Because of the children’s parents disaffection, Brittany and Jamie have now decided to spend time with the children’s paternal grandparents and aunt. This is very important to the two of them because they are willing to do anything for the betterment of the children, and making sure they have a relationship with their birth family is a top priority.

“We are motivated daily by seeing the babies thrive with the love, attention and security we have given them,” says Brittany. “We try every day to be a positive influence on them and be a voice for them.”
Brittany is currently competing in American Ninja Warrior for the second year, and this year she is competing to raise money through a t-shirt sale and awareness for foster parents and SaintA. “We were encouraged to fundraise because we have seen the great deal of good that SaintA does for the community. These kids need foster homes and resources, and SaintA continues to step up to provide those. The t-shirt sale not only helped raise funds for SaintA, but also raises awareness of the need for foster parents. We will always be promoting Saint A and doing fundraisers as we can!” says Brittany.
Brittany and Jamie are a shining example of love, support and hope. Brittany and Jamie’s teamwork and commitment has pulled them through this difficult journey.

Brittany and Jamie added, “We have two small babies right now, and are taking everything day by day.”
We thank Brittany Holterman and Jamie Neumann for all they have done and all they will continue to do to advocate and support those in our community that need it most, children!

We’re on Tik Tok

Everyone is on Tik Tok nowadays, and now we are, too. You may think the app is for kids who like to dance, but we ensure you that there are videos for everyone. Follow us @SaintAorg to see what we’ve started to come up with.

We would love to have you all involved as well to share tips, vlogs, storytimes, and maybe even a fun trend or dance. Your authentic voices are important to us. You never know, you could go viral. Talk to your licensing worker to learn how to get involved.


We Need You!

If you missed the Call To Action support session that recently took place, and you have questions about HOW to help recruit more amazing foster parents to join our community, reach out to your Caregiver Coordinators at growhope@sainta.org.

You can request all sorts of recruitment materials, such as yard signs, window clings or links to our Basics of Fostering modules to help spread the word to your friends/family/colleagues about the significant need for foster parents in Milwaukee County.

Questions About Training Hours?

We often receive questions about the 20 hours of ongoing training required at each re-license. What events and activities count toward this goal?

To help you get a better understanding of this process, we’re happy to share this list of Frequently Asked Questions, Your Questions About Ongoing Training Hours Answered on our Grow Hope website.

This information is meant to be a tool to assist foster parents with having a better understanding of the process. For specific questions not covered here, please discuss in detail with your licensing worker.

Introduction to the Court Process Trainings

Child Welfare Court Coach Kate Anderson will provide an overview of the legal process and what to expect if you attend court hearings in this hour-long training. She will share information regarding what typical case progression looks like and who plays what role in court proceedings.

May 24: 12 p.m.- 1 p.m. 
June 23: 6 p.m.- 7 p.m.
July 27: 12 p.m.- 1 p.m.
August 31: 12 p.m.- 1 p.m.
September 29: 6 p.m.-7 p.m. 
 

Upcoming Events

April
Ramadan
Ramadan is the Islamic holy month of fasting. This year, it began on April 12. It ends with Eid al-Fitr, which will be on May 12 this year, and marks the end of the month-long, dawn-to-sunset fasting. We hope all of our Muslim families are having a wonderful celebration and that everyone else can educate themselves on other cultures. Here are some books for children that talk about Ramadan.

May
AAPI Heritage Month
At SaintA, we stand against hate toward the Asian American community. This AAPI month, let’s take the time to educate ourselves on the unique experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, while also celebrating their successes and diverse cultures. Learn about the model minority myth here and the bamboo ceiling here. For your next movie night, watch Lilo and Stitch or Raya and the Last Dragon with the little ones or To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before with teens. Hate, systemic oppression and white supremacy are the true viruses, and we pledge to stand against all forms of hate.

Mother’s Day
We love and celebrate all moms, from foster moms to biological moms,from adoptive moms to every other mom dynamic there is. All moms are important, and we hope you all feel the love you deserve on your special day. If you would like to give a foster mom shoutout, send an email to growhope@sainta.org and let us know what makes her special. Or, feel free to post a message in our Closed Facebook Group.

Closed Group, Always Open

The SaintA Foster Parents Facebook Group is the place to be to ask questions, get advice and discuss ups and downs with your fellow foster parents. This year, we hope to make the group more active than ever.

We’ll be sharing anniversaries, welcoming new foster parents and more. All currently-licensed Level 2 and TFC parents are welcome, so we hope to see you there.

Request to Join >>

Foster Parent Support Sessions

SaintA Foster Parent support sessions are still going strong and helping to supplement those hard-to-find training hours. In March, however, started reducing the frequency of support sessions.

Don’t forget: you can always view the upcoming schedule, register and find previous recorded sessions and materials here.


Refer a Family

DID YOU KNOW? There are incentives for referring qualified family and friends to become foster parents? There are three milestones when you make a referral*, outlined below, with corresponding gifts.

  1. Application received earns you an item of SaintA merchandise 
  2. Approved license results in a $100 gift card of your choice from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
  3. First placement earns you $250 from SaintA

New foster parents are always welcome to the SaintA foster care team and we want to reward you for your hard work identifying good parents for children who come from challenging places.

* The foster parents must list you as their referral source on their completed application.