May is National Foster Care month; an appropriate time to say thanks to all who take on the incredible challenge of placing children (with some very special needs) into homes of parents (with some special qualities and skills). I am well aware of these challenges because my son, John Schneider, (pictured above) is the Executive Director of Youth and Family Services of El Reno....
Through conversations with my son I am aware of at least three major tasks provided by the El Reno YFS and similar agencies:
1. Shelter in the Storm: When the storms of life rip families apart often times the children find themself "adrift" in a sea of fear, confusion, and pain. Sometimes children are taken out of a home for their own protection and care. YFS emergency shelters provide a safe place for these children to "re-group," heal, and find a new direction in life.
2. Foster Family Placement: These "children in crisis" aren't just dropped into the first available home that comes a long. Before a placement is made potential foster parents are screened and trained; children are stabilized and prepared, and many prayers for discernment are offered. The goal is to place each child with a family that is best suited to provide a healing place for them.
3. Support: It is not the case that children are placed with a "pat on the back" and a few sincere words of "good luck." Rather, counselors are available, for both parents and child, and resources of support are in place to assure that every placement has a reasonable chance of being a positive experience for everyone involved.
Many additional services are also provided by these types of agencies; their contribution to families, communities, and our state is unmeasurable. So I simply want to share how thankful (and proud) I am of people like my son, the El Reno YFS team, and similar agencies across our state for the work they do with foster care families in Oklahoma.
P.S. Click here if you would like to know more about YFS El Reno and the services they provide.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.