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Called to Co-Parenting (and More!)

On Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m. – noon, SaintA will host its 3rd Annual Call to Action Day, a celebration of foster parents and a chance for families to recommit themselves to the calling. The event is held at the SaintA Franciscan Center at 3939 N. 88th Street, Milwaukee. At this annual kick-off to Foster Care Appreciation Month, there … Continue

From Mini-Me to Family Member: Child-Specific Licensing

When Crystal, now age 35, was in her 20s, she signed up to be a Big Sister through her local Big Brothers/Big Sisters (BBBS) chapter. She always knew she may be able to make a difference in a young life, but she had no idea how significant of a role she would play for one young woman in particular. Nine … Continue

A Boy and His Dads

On Friday, December 15, the family and friends of Chad Chilsen and Shawn McCloskey gathered at Children’s Court in Milwaukee. They were there to see the couple adopt Jackson, age 5, who had been their foster son for more than two years. But there was another reason to celebrate that day. Unbeknownst to virtually everyone, except Judge Christopher Foley, Chad … Continue

It Takes a Village: Sisters, Neighbors, Foster Moms

In a neighborhood on the northwest side of Milwaukee, there’s a small village of Edwards’ family members. For starters, there’s grandpa, the patriarch; auntie the mother of four adoptive children; and then there are sisters, Skeeter and Lesa, both licensed foster parents through SaintA. The Edwards’ family came to Milwaukee from Jamaica many years ago, but still have deep cultural … Continue

First Responders Respond to the Need

Vincenzo (Vinny) and Melanie Paolo have made careers out of running toward trauma, rather than away from it. He’s a Milwaukee Police Officer and she’s a former EMS crew member, turned medics trainer. Their inclination to help others is part of what made them so uniquely qualified for another important role in our community – being foster parents. When the … Continue

SaintA Adds Chief Program Officer

SaintA welcomes Cyrus Behroozi as Chief Program Officer for Child Welfare. This newly developed position is responsible for oversight of, and continuity across, all functions of child welfare, including case management, foster care and family services. Behroozi previously served as the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Administrator of Safety and Permanence, where he oversaw statewide child welfare. Most recently, … Continue

21 Years. 300 Kids. 1 Strong Lady.

Vivian Lee, a 21-year veteran of foster parenting retired in April of this year. “It took a lot of work, and lots of prayers and tears,” Vivian says of the experience. “But we knew these kids didn’t have anywhere else to go.” The “we” she refers to is she and her late husband, Melvin. He was her co-parent and a … Continue

Specialized Care for Child Sex Trafficking Victims

It’s a topic that’s starting to get more attention here in Wisconsin – youth sex trafficking is very real in our largest cities, suburbs and rural areas. In fact, sex trafficking cases have been reported in all 72 counties in Wisconsin. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says, “Human trafficking is modern-day slavery.” It’s a forceful, fraudulent and coercive way … Continue

Foster Parent Call to Action: Heard & Accepted

On Saturday, May 6, SaintA hosted its 2nd Annual Call to Action Day, a celebration of foster parents and a chance for families to recommit themselves to the calling. In attendance were foster families and children, along with friends and family interested in becoming foster parents. Guests of honor included Marjorie and Marshall Barlow, who recently retired as foster parents … Continue

Wisconsin Foster Parent Licensing Levels: A Primer

True or false: No two kids are alike. When it comes to children in foster care, there has rarely been a truer statement. That’s because children enter out-of-home care for a variety of reasons and in various stages of their childhood journeys. What all foster children do have in common, however, is that they have experienced maltreatment – and possibly, … Continue

Mom, Dad, Baby and Dad Make a Family

This is a story about unexpected relationships. It’s a newer narrative in child welfare best practices. And, it represents an important perspective shift in the family visitation model. It used to be that when a child entered out-of-home care, they would not see their biological family while they adjusted to being with their foster family. There was concern over how … Continue

Bedtime Stories & Really Big Dreams

By Shai Wise, SaintA Foster ParentPosted on February 8, 2017 My wife Victoria and I are foster parents. Now this means many different things to many different people. However, for us it means that we have a child staying with us; a child who needs a safe, caring and loving place to be while it is decided where he will … Continue