Foster Friday

 

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Introducing the Sharla Family

Sharla has been licensed since August 2019 when she welcomed two brothers into her home for 5 day stay.  However, she cared for the boys until they could be unified in a home with their younger siblings five months later.  This resource parent has been happy to provide respite care on short notice.  Sharla is involved with the birth families, has supervised family time and ensured children in her home have sibling visits as well.  She works as a member of the professional team to support the goal of reunification.  Sharla Loves being a resource parent, and we hope to work with her for many years to come.

Introducing the Willie Family

Aguenante and Walguens Willie have been model foster parents since 2017. They have opened their hearts and home to over 33 children in need of a loving and safe environment. The family advocates for the children in the home and are in constant communication with their licensing agency and case managers regarding the needs of the children in their care.  The family has shown that they are very reliable and their dedication to providing for the needs of our children is admirable.  They always make themselves available regardless of the time of day. There have been many late nights that the family has been called and they are always willing to assist in any way possible to help even if it is for just the night.  The family currently has their hands full in caring for five young females, two of whom are siblings. They understand the importance of maintaining the sibling bond and are always willing to do what they can to keep siblings together.   Aguenante and Walguens ensure that any child placed in their home feels like they are a part of the family.  They have also ensured that the children have opportunities to spend time with their own biological families and have provided transportation so that the children can spend important holidays with their biological families.  Additionally, Aguenante and Walguens have worked with many teens and provided them with a home where they can experience love and stability when reunification is not an option for them. Although these teens are unable to return to their biological family, Ms. Willie and her husband ensure that the children get opportunities to spend meaningful times with their families.  One example was a time when the family took a teen sibling group and they made sure the girls got from their home to their biological families home so that they could spend Thanksgiving and then New Years with them. Mr. and Mrs. Willie are the true definition of a hero!

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Introducing the Stacey Kallenberg

Introducing our next foster parent of the year...Often persons comment that the most significant barrier to fostering is having a child leave their home. Stacey Kallenberg was faced with this barrier and has skillfully demonstrated that though difficult, the rewards of doing this is exponential. For many reasons, but this one in particular, her fostering story is both awe inspiring and worthy of emulation.
Stacey’s very first foster child joined her family with very little information known about him and his family roots. He was physically small for his age which made it near impossible to even guess his age with any degree of accuracy. That his native tongue was also initially unknown- did not make things easier. Despite the multitude of unanswered questions, Stacey opened her home and heart and provided unwavering care to the child for one year and one month.
After 13 months in foster care, the child was reunited with his parents and younger sibling. Despite a significant geographical distance between the foster and birth homes, compounded by a language barrier- Stacey was committed to ensuring the child experienced the continuity of care he needed and deserved. With the help of Google translate, she was able to communicate with the family. Their relationship was not however limited to texts. Stacey and her family invited the parents to experience a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and have since made a tradition of visiting the family on every holiday.
Stacey fully immersed herself in the transition plan and was able to support the birth family by maintaining an advocacy role for the child’s education.
Six months later when the Covid-19 pandemic impacted school closures- Stacey knew the family would need her support even more. To that end, she facilitates virtual learning for the child each evening. Additionally, on two nights each week, she makes the 100 mile roundtrip trip to take the child to her home to assist with projects and assignments and to take him back home the next evening.
Alongside the satisfaction of seeing the child flourish academically, his parents sit in on his virtual learning when they are able. Stacey then also has the pleasure of teaching his birth parents, improving their knowledge of English and they in turn are able to teach her their native language.
Their friendship continues to grow which is especially welcome as the World experiences an unprecedented and often scary new normal. So for example, when a popular staple became scarce in the birth parents’ community, Stacey was able to source the item in her own community and was able to deliver the food item to the family- quite similar to my sister’s delivering rice to my home when my local store shelves were bare. Knowing firsthand the relief and comfort that a fulfilled basic need brings makes it clear that Stacey Kallenberg has proven herself, in gestures large and small, worthy of being Foster Parent of the year!

Introducing Monica & Cliff

Monica and Cliff have been licensed for five months. The agency feels privileged to work together with the family as members of the professional team. Monica and Cliff have provided care for six boys since licensure, four of which are still in the home. Three of these boys were placed in a group home setting before joining their home. The couple understands the immense need for traditional home environments for all children, regardless of their prior traumas or behavioral backgrounds. The family has allowed the boys to flourish into respectful, young men. Whether it’s horseback riding or camping, Monica and Cliff ensure these children have experiences that will create memories to last a lifetime as well as providing them structure, love, and support. While fostering is anything but easy, Monica and Cliff exude an almost effortless and natural calling for being resource parents. Thank you so much for all you’ve done in such a short time. The agency is excited to continue to work alongside a family who has set such a great example from the very beginning.

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Introducing Monica Steed

Monica Steed has been an exemplary foster parent since 2010. Throughout the past 10 years Monica has opened her heart and her home to over 100 children as placement or respite care. Monica has fostered children of all ages and genders in her service to the children of the community.  Monica has all the qualities of what it means to be a GREAT foster parent.  She has a willingness to give every child a chance and opportunity.  Every child that is placed in her home receives the same level of care and kindness. She understands the trauma that these children are coming from and has the patience and gentleness to make them feel welcomed and comfortable in her home. Monica has maintained relationships with many of the children and teens that have lived with her and some have remained after they reached adulthood and she still welcomes them as part of the family.  Monica had a child that was in her care and she worked with the father in getting furnishings for his home so he could be reunified with his son.  Post reunification the father fell on hard times and lost his home.  Due to the strong relationship Ms. Steed had with the family they reached out to her and she did not hesitate in taking the child back in and being a caregiver for him while the father works on his housing situation.  This act of kindness has kept this young man out of the foster system and in a home that he considers to be family.  Monica has had many children age out of foster care and she has welcomed them to remain in her home. While in the home she mentors them and encourages them to complete in completing their education so they can move on to College or Trade School.  She also mentors them and assists them in obtaining employment so they can become self-sufficient adults. Recently Mrs. Steed had a Young Adult child leave her home and when he was not able to make it on his own, he reached back out to her and she welcomed him back.  While he was gone, she stayed in contact with him to ensure he knew he always had a home with her if needed.  Thank you for everything you have done and the continued dedication to help the children in our community.

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Introducing Arian and Aileen

Arian and Aileen were initially licensed in May of 2014 with One More Child and have provided a safe and nurturing home for approximately nineteen children during their fostering journey.  The family has also adopted two children providing them with a permanent and loving home.  The family stays in great communication with all members of the professional team and attends court hearings and staffing's to always be a voice for the children and families and to advocate for what is in their best interest.

They have cared for children until reunification has occurred and if reunification cannot occur, they are willing to provide permanency for a child as they have already done so with the adoption of their two children.  They are strong advocates on the importance of preserving family connections.  They partner alongside biological parents and family members to make them feel supported as well.  The family is willing to provide biological parents with items they need when they are reunified with their children.  In one case they helped with the communication and transportation of their foster child to the biologicals mothers' home at the time of reunification.  They packed all the child's belongings they had acquired during the child's time with them and gave it to the mother to help her get setup.  The family still stays in contact with the child and his mother and is able to be a support to them in whatever they need.  When the child was placed with them they helped with visitations and also had a great relationship with the mother through telephone calls.  This helped the mother to feel like they were all in partnership and working together.  They sent the mother photos of the her child so she would have memories of those precious's moments in her child's life which provide her with long lasting memories.  Since the child has been reunified, the mother has asked them to be the God parents and they see the child as much as they want and are able to continue to support and encourage the mother.  The family often joyfully talks about this and how wonderful the mother and child are doing.

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Introducing Tonia and John Landreville

Tonia and John originally were licensed for two children to be able to help siblings stay together.  After accepting their first placement , the child's older siblings soon came into care after that.  Without hesitation, the family accepted placement of all of the siblings to be able to keep them together.  The family was able to get beds for the children and they worked closely with their community resources to make their transition into foster care as smooth as possible.  Since then, the family has continued their foster care journey also using their professional expertise to care for newborns with additional needs.  Tonia and John have worked closely with non-relatives and are willing to work towards reunification efforts.  They are strong advocates for the best interest of the children in their home and they provide many fun opportunities to learn and grow as a family!

Introducing Lisa and Jessica

Lisa and Jessica have been fostering with the agency for the past two years and have been providing a loving home for a sibling group since becoming licensed.  During their past relicensing the family increased their capacity to open their hearts to be able to provide for additional children in their community.  Lisa and Jessica are strong advocates for the children in their care and provide a nurturing home that creates relationships with the children to last a lifetime.  Lisa and Jessica re dedicated members of the professional team.  Thank you Lisa and Jessica, for all you do for the children of our community.

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Introducing James & Lisa Moorehead

Meet the Moorehead Family!  James and Lisa have been licensed foster parents since 2014.  During that time, they have cared for 22 children and provided respite care for numerus other children as well.  Lisa and James exemplify what it means to works as members of the professional team by their ongoing communication with the case managers, GALs, licensing and placement staff, as well as the mentoring relationships they have formed with the biological families.  The family also recognizes the need for resources for foster children and Lisa is the President of the Donate 4 Kidz Foundation, which provides care packages for children coming into care, birthday presents, Christmas presents, and so much more!  Lisa and James serve as mentors for other foster families in the community and offer support whenever they can.  The agency and our community are so grateful to the Moorehead family for their superb work with our children and families!

Introducing Lacey and Crystal

Lacey and  Crystal have only been licensed with the agency for 6 months.  During these past 6 months the family has assisted with placement of an older child who needed a loving home and someone to believe in him.  The family has also assisted with getting a sibling group of three children back together and they continue to provide stability for those children.  Lacey and Crystal have shown their dedication to keeping our children safe and we are very thankful to have them as members of the professional team.

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Introducing Kalon & Jesus

Kalon and Jesus have been licensed foster parents for almost two years and have focused their foster parent journey to help teens, siblings, and those with troubled pasts.  The family is comfortable taking in children who have had a criminal record in the past and are able to bring out the child's greatest potential through mentorship, consistency and unconditional love.  Kalon and Jesus have also taken in a sibling group of teenagers that had been separated for over a year from each other since they entered foster care.  Kalon and Jesus are also pillars in their own community by working as missionaries in an actions-sports ministry that serves the homeless, teens, young adults, and the vulnerable.  They work closely with Children's Network to comply with all legal standards to best fit the needs of the community as they work on other projects.  Kalon and Jesus are humble in their actions but powerful in the change they bring to the community and the lives that interact with them on a daily basis.

Introducing Dodson Family

Lisa and Timothy have been licensed foster parents since February 2019.  I(n this time, they have gone above beyond to work as members of the professional team and provide permanency for children when reunification is not possible.  The foster parents excel at caring for children with challenging behaviors.  They ensure that foster children and their birth families stay connected and help birth parents build their parenting skills.  Children's Network is lucky to license such amazing parent!

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The Janson Family

Carmin and Scott have a passion for giving life's best opportunities to children in need.  Carmin often travels overseas to bring hope and help to children and realized over a year ago that there was so much she could be doing to help children in her own community, as well.   Carmin and Scott have taken in a foster child  who was born substance exposed and quickly found educational resources to further equip their ability to care for the specialized needs of the child.  Through multiple medical and therapy appointments a week, the child has overcome many obstacles and has since been discharged  from all needed services successfully.  It is with great joy that the family cares for the needs of the child in their home and they are excited to see what the future holds for their foster care journey!

Introducing the Arango and Mejia Family

In the six months Julie and Cesar have been licensed, they have surpassed every expectation set by their licensing agency.  Julie and Cesar have fully embraced the importance of working with birth families and have gone above and beyond to mentor the parent of two kids in their care.  They have created a routine where the mother comes into their home to bathe, feed and put her babies to sleep in preparation for reunification.  The best interest of the children is always at the forefront of their minds and never do they steer from their purpose as foster parents; to protect and nurture traumatized children and create relationships intended to last a lifetime.  Julie and Cesar, the Children's Network of Southwest Florida is honored to have you as a member of our professional team.  Your hard work and dedication never goes unnoticed.

 

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Introducing the Alvarez Family

Lisa and Jorge Alvarez have been foster parents for 20 years and served as a medical foster parents for the past 13 years.  They have opened their home and hearts to 117 children through their time as foster parents and became a forever home for three children through adoption.  The Alvarez family work excellent as members of the professional team and are very involved in their community.  We are truly blessed to have them be part of our foster community.  Thank you, Lisa and Jorge, for the love and care you give to the children and everything you do.

 

Introducing the Soyk Family

Sherri and Mark just finished their first year as foster parents, but have been serving their community through a local non-profit that advocates for the well-being of children and helps prevent child abuse.  Sherri and Mark have raised their own family and then felt led to open up their home again to girls in foster care.  The family has taken in teenage girls and even though some people may be intimidated by some extreme  behaviors, the Soyk family has embraced the girls for who they are and have helped guide the teens to make better life choices.  Their ability to advocate for the girls needs while recognizing their strengths has been a major asset to their foster journey.  When a child comes into their home, the child becomes part of their family immediately.  As pillars in the community, the Soyk family leads the way in meeting a child where they are at and helping them through some of the most difficult times of their lives through their unconditional love and support!

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Introducing the Flores Family

Carmen and Luis have been licensed for only six months and when presented with children they are always willing to assist.  They have been able to provide stability for children with challenging behavior by working with the child and the agency on their needs.  They have worked one on one with birth parents and support reunification efforts with birth families and with separated siblings, as they have sibling groups in their home.  They are valuable members of the Professional team and are truly an amazing family.

 

Introducing Yanet Valdes and Edwin Rosario Family

While only licensed for a short time, the Valdes/Rosario family have exceeded their expectations as a licensed foster parents.  They eagerly began their journey by assisting with two long term placements and have devoted themselves fully to ensuring the safety and well being of the children in their care.  They are model members of the professional team and the agency looks forward to watching their growth and development as a foster family in the community.

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The Tineo/Santa Family

Cristina and Pete have been licensed since 08/30/2019.  Because of their past experience they were presented with a child that had challenges that were initially more than the family felt they were capable of handling.  However, during the short time of being licensed, the family has gone above and beyond to identify and secure services for a child with severe special needs.  They are valuable members of the professional team and such as asset to Lutheran Services and to the child in their home.  We thank them for joining the foster care community.

Introducing the Stalnaker Family

Nita and Phil have been licensed foster parents since 2013 and have cared for many children through their foster care journey.  The family has helped children stabilize placement in foster care, reunify with their biological parents, and even adopted when reunification could not occur.  The family had taken a year off of fostering after their adoption, but has since re-opened their home to be able to help more children through foster care.  The Stalnaker Family is deeply motivated to provide a safe environment for children in the child welfare system and work with their biological parents to stay motivated to work their case plans to reunite families.  One More Child and the Children's Network are honored to work with the Stalnaker family as seasoned foster parents.  All of the children that have been cared for in the Stalnaker home have been genuinely loved and cared for through their individual needs by the consistent support that the family has provided them.

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Introducing the Kline Family

In the past 3 years since Kelly and Savannah have been licensed foster parents, they have accepted over 10 children into their home.  Their dedication is only overshadowed by their compassion towards each child that has come into their care.  Currently, they are fostering 4 children, 2 of which are part of a larger sibling group.  Savannah and Kelly say that they foster because they want to make a difference in the children's lives.  They have recently helped in the reunification of another sibling group over the summer and are now serving as mentors to the parents to help with smoothing out the transition process.  The agency would love to recruit more families like you!  Thank you for all that you've done.

Introducing the Mutchler Family

Mr. and Mrs. Mutchler opened their home as a non-relative initially.  The family wanted to help more children in the child welfare system by extending their home and providing a safe place.   The  Mutchler's have been licensed since 2018.  They have opened their heart and home to children in need.  The Mutchler's understand the foster care system and have a deep understanding and respect for preserving the family connections and relationships.  The Mutchler's are an import asset to the child welfare community.

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Introducing the Johnson Family

Francine Johnson has been a licensed foster parent since 2016 and has provided a loving home to more than 20 children as well as respite care for many others.  Francine loves the children that come into her home and makes them feel safe and welcomed.  Francine works well with all the partner agencies as part of the professional team to ensure the needs of the children are met.  Francine has provided a forever home of a child through fostering.  Thank you Francine for your dedication and love of the children in our community.

Introducing Kelly Curran

Kelly Curran has been a licensed foster parent for five years.  In that time, she has committed herself to caring for multiple children, including a sibling group who has been placed in her home for many years.  Kelly has a tremendous understanding of how trauma can adversely affect children as well as a wealth of knowledge on how to help children cope with their feelings.  Her laid back attitude along with her inability to give up makes her an excellent example of what fostering truly is all about.  Kelly has successfully worked with birth families and always keeps the best interest of the children at the forefront of her mind.

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Introducing the Walker Family

The Walker family has been licensed since 2018 and are in the process of their first year of relicensing.  The Walkers have jumped in feet first and opened their home to several children.  They have been an integral part of assisting with transitioning siblings and supported a family to achieve permanency through reunification.  The Walker's report that they enjoy being foster parents and making a difference.  The Walker's have been a great family to work with and we look forward to working with them in the future.

Introducing the Blauer Family

Cathy and Michael have been foster parents since November 2018 and have taken placement of six children and provided respite care for several other children in the past year.  The family started as being non-relative caregivers to a sibling group which expanded their interest into helping other children that were involved in the system.  Michael and Cathy made the decision to open their home and hearts to the children in need.  The family works with all area service providers to ensure the children in their care are getting all their needs met.  They continually demonstrate their commitment an love to the children and have been a pleasure to work with as part of the professional team.  Thank you Cathy and Michael, for all you do for the children in care.

 

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Introducing the Graham Family

Allison and David have always loved having a big family!  When they have seen a need in their community in the past, they have made it a point to help where they can.  When they found out about the rapid need for foster parents, Allison and David knew that they have to dive right in to help kids in need.  The entire family jumped on board and has been helping stabilize placements of children for the past year. Allison and David work very closely with biological parents and relatives to support reunification efforts.  They make it a priority to have consistent communication and provide updates on the child as they come to all parties of the child welfare system.  As seasoned parents, Allison and David have learned to care for all of their children’s individual needs and balances individual time and attention for all that the children need.  They are strong advocates for the children in their home to grow into successful young adults and they instill high morals and values which help guide the children to be the best they can be.  It is an honor to work with the Graham family and we are excited to see all that they accomplish as foster parents!

Introducing Stacie Germain

Stacie has been a licensed foster parent since June 2018.  She is committed to being children's last placement before reunification.  She has accepted several sibling groups into her home to maintain sibling bonds for foster children.  She ensures that children in her home have opportunities for normalcy.  She is an advocate for the children in her home, and she supports the children as well as their birth families.  Stacie is a valuable member of the child welfare team!

 

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Introducing the Ramos Family

Karen and Jose Ramos have been licensed foster parents for six years.  They provide a safe and loving home to any child that comes into care.  They love children and love making the children that come into their home feel safe and like family.  The are devoted to making a difference in the lives of the children by keeping the siblings connection together as they have provided a safe and loving home to a variety of sibling groups that are between the ages of 0 - 5 years old.  Karen and Jose are both retired and can dedicate their time and attention to any child that is placed in the home.  They work hard with all partnering agencies to provide any services that are needed for the children that come into their home.  Karen has worked in a daycare center and is able to assist when a child has delays and advocates for services to help the child in the future.  Thank you Karen and Jose Ramos for being a loving family for our children in need.

 

Introducing the Caruso Sabio-Membreno Family

Derek and Melissa have been licensed foster parents for under 1 year.  They are currently providing care for a sibling group of two active boys.  The children were separated in two different homes and the family opened their door to get the young men back together.  These children were their second and third placements and the family is working with the boys to address all their needs.  The boys were behind developmentally, and the family is working with them to ensure they catch up and remain on track.  They have made a lifelong impact on these young men in the time they have been there.  Thank you, Derek and Mellissa for all you have done.

 

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